Friday, November 28, 2008

Peep Show


If life could only be as faded and derelict as a hand tinted photograph…It is hard to create such an ethereal environment amid harsh lighting, building codes and the general rules of physics and logic. This is perhaps the reason we are attracted to early Victorian era photography. The sets were always a bit odd and slightly surreal. Where else could you find rocks, ponds and a waterfall amid a formal parlor? Or ask yourself why are those ornately carved columns growing in the middle of a forest? Looks closely and you are also likely to find some creepy taxidermy, mind altering trompe l’oeil backdrops and various arcane furnishings. Is that an umbrella stand, hat rack or a WICKED TIME MACHINE capable of traveling to another dimension? (The same thing can be said of their hats as well…)

The best thing of all is the delicious clutter of textiles, pillows and draperies that accompany these fantastic settings. Tassels seem to sprout from sprigs of ivy, doves hold swags of fabric delicately in their beaks and a never ending cascade of brocades floods every available surface. It seems the best place to observe these fabric wonderments in their natural habitat is in early erotic photos plates. Maybe we are missing the point but truth be told we wish the models would put their robes back on and go home. Stop standing around getting in the way of the luscious scenery, woman!!! Don’t even get us started on all of those amble Victorian haunches pressed up against otherwise innocent and unsuspecting pillows. (NOTE TO SELF: DRY CLEAN ALL ANTIQUE TEXTILES PRIOR TO USE.)




We can’t decide if we are happy or not that we didn’t find any men featured in the photos from this era (although we are sure they exist.) It would be thrilling to see an uptight Victorian dude with a weird mustache and a monocle draped in taffeta and chasing a butterfly…

I will leave you in the cold.
In the dead of the night,
Black leather and latex queen
A lush of the world


(“Black Shining Leather” by Carpathian Forest)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hell's Shells

If I, Splendor were a mermaid princess you can forget all about the Disney version full of sweetness and light, complete with dancing starfish and singing seahorses (or whatever nonsense it was). And you can forget about the CLAM SHELL BRA as well. If I am deprived of my feet I promise you it’s swimming topless all the way. A living skirt of skin tight, shining scales sounds good on paper, but does not began to make up for a life without boots, shoes or other foot fetish related activities. (I could insert a link to John Fluevog Shoes here, but that would be 1) overselling the point 2) a huge person distraction to actually writing this post.)

Ok, Ok I admit it, I just went online and looked at some boots…damn, it seems apparent that I would make a dreadful mermaid indeed…But I am straying from the point at hand (fin?) Every decent mermaid palace needs a few adornments. Here is an eclectic mix of objects that would decorate the fathomless depth of our undersea domain…

We are quite partial to 16th and 17th century still life paintings. They tend to be quite enigmatic and full of hidden meanings and cryptic compositions. Does a shell placed with a skull become a metaphor for the fragility of life? Or perhaps a cautionary statement against human vanity? We are not sure of the answer but from now on will keep our collection of skulls from mingling with our assortment of shells just to be on the safe side. Last time we caused a cosmic upheaval with one of our vignettes, it took a week to recover and we lost our damage deposit.

On the lighter side, what is not to love about these circa 1950 dishes designed by Christian Dior? They would make any table quite grand, below sea or above.

I want to be as deep
as the ocean
mother ocean
some people tell me
home is in the sky
in the sky lives a spy
I want to be more like the ocean

(“Ocean Size” by Jane’s Addiction)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Book Worship Volume V


Roomscapes: The Decorative Architecture of Renzo Mongiardino

We cannot remember the exact moment we fell in love with Renzo Mongiardino. Was it the first time we experienced his work in a glossy design magazine? Or perhaps it was when we first held Roomscapes in our trembling hands (oh, what a day…) Maybe our love for him was always there, like our love for the rain, the stars and the moon…


Renzo was born in Genoa in 1916 and continued living and working in Italy until his death in 1998 at the age of eighty-one. He is truly one of the greatest designers of the twentieth century. We are sure that the work produced in his lengthy career will continue to have a profound influence on generations to come.




To us Renzo’s work is visceral, organic and awe inspiring. To have the ability to mold such extravagance into reality is an alchemy that few possess. It seems as though his rooms sprang to life out of a baroque daydream or were woven by the fingers of some elegant mage. To think they had their inception in the mind of a mortal man is a humbling thought indeed.



In our very favorite rooms designed by Renzo there is a theatric flair that is slightly brooding and melancholy. We find this utterly enticing. It is as if there is something at the very edge of perception that evades the eye. If we ever had the opportunity to see his work in person we would walk though on our tippy toes and hold our collective breath as not to break the glorious spell holding such finery together…



Hail Renzo, wherever you might be, we know you have made that place a little more beautiful than you found it.

Roomscapes: The Decorative Architecture of Renzo Mongiardino

All these landscapes are timeless,
and this is all just a part of cosmos,
(but) all is mine and past and future is yet to discover...
Much have been discovered, but tomorrow
I will realize I existed before myself

(“Cosmic Keys to my Creations and Times” by Emperor)

Gilding The Willy Part II

After spending the better part of the afternoon on a particularly nasty piece of business (which accomplished nothing more than a mild migraine and a dizzy spell) we were able spend a few moments rummaging around our library (by “library” we mean the big oak bookcase in the corner of the studio. If we actually had a ROOM ENTIRELY FULL OF BOOKS nothing would ever get done around here.)

The result of our search was finding the sofa of our dreams. We aren’t sure where he / it has been all our lives or how we have developed such an attraction to such oddities. I guess that is why we call our blog Chintz of Darkness and not Seraph + Splendor’s Musing on a Well Adjusted Life…
Again enjoy…

No star will shine tonight.
No star, no matter how bright.
Across the firmament goes its flight.
A great darkness devouring the light.
(“Stellarvore” by Watain)
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