Sunday, November 1, 2009

Graceland, Tacky or Cool?

One of the great things about my job is that sometimes I get to travel, Having moved to the U.S in only 2005, from Sydney, Australia, My fascination for American culture is still strong, I really do want to get to know as much as possible and the only way to do that is to experience all the different states the U.S has to offer, In my job, I am able to travel to places that I would probably ordinarily would not have had the chance to visit, In this blog, I plan to document those travels The amazing thing about the U.S is how each state has its own personality, There are so many things you hear about that are unique to each of the states and while sure there is some crossover, Its plain to me, how different east can be to west, north to south. As I know work largely for American publications, I am thirsty for knowledge, When a magazine wants me to do a story on July 4th, Thanksgiving or even Super bowl, I need to know what those occasions mean to most American’s, Having grown up elsewhere, I never got to experience these customs and holidays back at home.

Last year I got to travel to Memphis to style for a story for Food Network Magazine, Memphis is a place I had never been and of course I could not go past the opportunity to visit Mr. Elvis Presley’s Graceland, What more could I ask for in my quest for experiencing the American dream, Graceland is a hyper real reflection of all my fantasies about a former era wrapped up in a big polyester bow, For me being interested largely in the decorating side of Graceland, I was both delighted and horrified at the same time, In the mish mash of styles, there was something that resonated with my inner stylist’s being, This place was one giant prop for me to observe and watch glisten in front of me, every corner there was something new, I particularly liked the living room when you entered the main entrance on the right, bathed in afternoon light, It was a symphony of whites and hits of aqua, the peacock glass paned doors that lead to the black grand piano, It had a calm, almost angelic white light feel, As you progress through the tour of the house, You get to see the kitchen with its carpeted floor where Elvis liked to snack, The Jungle Room where he recorded one of his last albums, which is littered with animal skulls and orange ceramic lamps, The TV room with lightning bolt motifs and mirrored ceilings in a crazy combination of yellow and navy, with a row of numerous TV monitors so Elvis could watch many programs at once, and with the cutest white porcelain monkey that would look at home in most current Interior mags.

The interesting things I found is the house is stamped all over in motifs and themes that you still see in many current high end interior schemes, It has an almost luxe regency feel that was way over the top but also had a sense of humor, Only on closer inspection and looking at details can you see that even though regarded largely as “tacky”, there is inspiration that can be drawn everywhere, For an Interior stylist wanting to know more about American culture, a lot is explained, And although it is like experiencing sensory overload, you leave Graceland dazed and glazed, but happy you got to see a slice of decorating history from another era, Memphis style.

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