Do not buy this book if you want a book of full-color photos of Miles Redd's rooms. This is not that kind of book. However, if you have been delighted by his design vision, you may enjoy seeing what inspires him. This is a collection of images and quotes--and yes, some photos of his rooms, but many in black and white--which nourish his creative sensibility. If you are a devotee of designer Miles Redd, you may enjoy this huge, heavy and wonderful book full of images which speak to him. It allows you to get into the mind of Miles, see the world through his eyes, and view it with his creative vision. It is an artful collection.
How to describe Miles Redd's rooms?
Exuberant, effervescent, colorful, inventive, irrepressibly spirited, buoyant, elegant, glamourous with a bit of quirk. You sense the designer has a boyish glee, isn't life grand? approach, and is having great fun throughout the creative process. What feeds that fertile creativity, inspires his 'point of view' as Billy Baldwin would call it?
This book answers that question. Princess Margaret, as it turns out.
"When I was a boy growing up in Atlanta, Georgia," Redd explains, "my mother had a copy of Cecil Beaton's book THE ROYAL PORTRAITS that I used to flip through for hours on end. The photographs are heady stuff: Princess Elizabeth in ermine coronation robes...Princess Margaret in an immense tulle ball gown splayed across a red damask banquette... my five-year-old eyes had seen what appeared to be the height of chic, and there was no turning back, at least not until I had my own tufted red madness."
Redd's own tufted red madness is included in this book as well as images (the pivotal Princess-Margaret-on-red-banquette-portrait) and words which inspire Redd's design.
"I like interiors that are animated and lively--and party-ready--because isn't that what life should be?" asks Redd.
Ah, what we suspected about his design philosophy. Life=party, life=design, therefore design=party. Design represents a party to him. Who can resist that? That joie-de-vivre emanates from his interiors.
"This is a book about dreams coming true; the curiosities in the rooms I have decorated; and the people, artists and places that have inspired me," says Redd. The book is about 3/4th photos of Redd's rooms, sometimes in close detail, unusual artistic angles or black and white photos. The remaining 1/4th is images and words of others. If you are looking for a rather complete collection of Miles Redd's greatest hits, you will have to wait for the next book. While this volume features a number of his rooms including a few new ones, this book's purpose is to offer a glimpse of what Redd finds chic and stylish to inspire us. It may propel you to start collecting images for your own big book of chic.
What Redd finds stylish are what he describes as his "top hat fantasies" peopled by Henry James, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Nancy Mitford, Flaubert, John Singer Sargent, Chanel, Flaubert, Diana Vreeland, Proust and Cecil Beaton among others. "We all owe a great debt to Cecil for keeping the idea of style alive," is a quote by David Bailey in this book. So style from the 1800's through the 1940's, alive and well and integrated, seems to mesh happily in his work. You sense a 'particular joy' when he works with architect-designer Gil Schafer and photographer Paul Costello in sweet alchemy.
This is a happy book. Redd's opening dedication "for my mother and father, who gave me this wonderful life" to the final quote from WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, "but Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted....He lived happily ever after," emphasize wide-eyed, gee-whiz wonder and delight in design.
If you want an infusion of Miles Redd "happily-ever-after chic" always at the ready, you may want to own this book. I'm glad I do.