12 December 2012

Maureen Footer: about books


photograph by Mary Hilliard
 Maureen wearing a signature gold charm bracelet "collected from my travels--Vietnam, Morocco, an elephant custom made in Jaipur, gold zori from Japan, an English seal, a pyramid and a scarab from the bazaar in Cairo, the Parthenon from Athens, bluefooted booby from the Galapagos, etc. I am so attached to it. It could not be replaced without retracing my footsteps."

Last month when I was in New York for several days-I got to catch up with Maureen Footer. I met Maureen along with Emily Eerdmans two years ago and we've stayed in touch. Maureen had a luncheon at her apartment on Saturday-with guests-Emily,Christopher Petkanas and Tim Sheridan.

Maureen has mastered the art of the Luncheon with aplomb-(sorry I did not get a photograph of the beautiful setting-as usual). What was prettiest were the table linens-her napkins were family heirlooms. There was lively conversation-talk of design,books,blogs and design-and books, etc etc.

a wonderful Library designed by Maureen

Maureen is a noted interior designer with a number of published projects. Her newest project though is her book to be published by Rizzoli in 2014. I can not wait to read it. Entitled George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic-it seems a great fit-as she is quite Chic-always looks smart & at ease whether dressed in an evening gown or something casual. On Saturday, Maureen was wearing a leopard print skirt -vintage YSL, a white Lacoste polo & Roger Vivier's Belle du Jour pumps called so because Deneuve wore them in the movie of that title-voilà -classic chic.

The subject of her book,George Stacey is perhaps best known as mid century society's crème de la crème decorator-specifically Babe Paley. Babe was famously photographed by John Rawling for Vogue in her Kiluna Farm Stacey decorated living room wearing Charles James in 1950. The Paley art collection is arresting-as is Mrs. Paley-but Stacey's decoration is equally so. The crimson gown must have been selected as complement to Stacey's seductive study in emerald-canary and cerulean. Stacey worshiped at the altar of high WASP-with women like Babe as his acolytes-his rooms gave off a decidedly French soignee.

“The look of being too deliberately dressed, with everything cautiously matching, always bores me. I like the sudden shock of non-sequitur color. Color, in fact, is my weakness.” Babe Paley. Stacey must have agreed. I asked Maureen for a tease about the book-and not wanting to reveal too much-(as any seasoned designer will tell you is A Don't) she sent me a portrait of Stacey with this description.

This Hans Van Nes Stacey portrait mirrors Stacey’s design sensibility in the 1930s, it’s an interesting portrait  and their work together was significant for both of them. I also love the over scaled baluster (so Stacey!) and how its echoing shadow and negative space is filled in by Stacey in profile. The sophistication of the work is the very same sophistication we see in Stacey’s work in the 1930s. Do you not just adore his suit?

 George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic

George Stacey photographed by Hans Van Nes
(photograph provided by Maureen Footer)
Van Nes was Stacey's charming partner in their antique business & went on to become an established photographer in the 1930s & shot some of the early projects that brought Stacey recognition and publication in Town and Country, House and Garden, and Vogue. One can imagine the symbiotic artistic relationship the two probably shared:  Van Nes knew Stacey’s aesthetic well and how to capture it to full advantage on his lens.  Perhaps even more important, George learned how the camera reads space and how to work intuitively with volume, light, contrast to design  incredibly photogenic rooms.  Not only did editors gravitate to his rooms like catnip, but great  fashion editors and  photographers used Stacey rooms for fabulously seductive fashion photographs.

Can't Wait for Maureen's book! I've longed to know more about Stacey ever since I saw the Babe Paley Rawlings photograph.

Now-In keeping with my promise to bring the best books-new and old to you this December, I asked Maureen what was in her stacks to be read.
Here's her list:

 Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr (that's for my perfume OBSESSION)

Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull (for my Rolling Stones fix)

 The Age of Comfort by Joan Dejean about the evolution of 18th c French interior architecture

Charlotte Moss's book Charlotte Moss: A Visual Life -just picked up at her book signing. 

American Lady (in French) about Susan Marie Alsop, a post War picture of Paris. just translated into English.

I've read the Alsop biography, and the Dejean book and Charlotte's book too. I am getting ready to read Emperor of Scent-after exploring Maureen's recommendation. Maureen and I are of like minds on a number of things-definitely books-along with good design-and great friends.

I've written about Maureen before-HERE are several post links.
Maureen Footer Design HERE.


  1. Wonderful post!! Thank you!

    I want the beautiful dress for Christmas, and it is good to hear that an elegant woman has a weakness for colour. I battle mine every day not to look like patchwork, feeling like I'm not really succeeding, but most certainly trying :D

  2. Not sure how I missed this - great list!!



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