Eat your heart out Austin Powers! The dizzying retro room sets sold to Bloomingdales' shoppers in the Sixties and Seventies
21:00 GMT, 27 September 2012
A series of images from the 1973 edition of Bloomingdale's Book of Home Decorating reveal some of the most extraordinary interior trends of the day.
Showing rooms stuffed with inflatable chairs, shag rugs and gaudy lampshades, the shots were compiled by the store's then chief designer Barbara D'Arcy.
While many of the in-store displays focus on a retro theme, others take inspiration from more classical styles with crystal chandeliers and swathes of gold leaf.
Futuristic furnishings; D'Arcy co-designed this room with Pierre Cardin using upholstered gray felt and stainless steel with a suspended TV hanging from the ceiling
Although the book was published in the early Seventies images from the 264-page tome have emerged on the internet via Flickr.
Known for her eclectic sense of style, D'Arcy, who died aged 84 in May this year, was hired to create displays for the Manhattan flagship's furniture department. Over the years she created everything from mock-Tudor lounges to disco-themed bedrooms.
In a bid to shape Americans' tastes in
home furnishings, D'Arcy treated each interior at Bloomingdale's'
like a theatrical set.
Once the walls had been papered and the floors carpeted, each room would be filled with furniture, indoor plants, ornaments and fitted with the appropriate lighting fixtures.
In the Fifties she would pack rooms with dark Danish teak and rosewood, while in the Sixties she would fill spaces with futuristic egg-shaped furniture, inflatables and shag rugs.
Seeing red: D'Arcy used bold prints, fabrics and low lighting to create this psychedelic room
And in the Seventies she fashioned bold interiors with psychedelic prints,
brightly coloured fabrics and molded plastic tables and chairs.
It is said that orange was one of her favorite colours and the kitchen at her East Hampton home reflected her preference.
of her standout designs, her New York Times obituary notes, include the all-cardboard room she co-created
with architect Frank Gehry, and the Cave Room, which was made from a
chicken wire and wood frame sprayed with urethane foam.
was built and carved into the foam, and the finished structure was
painted white, while the floor was covered in square mirror tiles.
also collaborated on a showroom with the designer Pierre Cardin, who
was know for his avant-garde style and Space Age designs.
Trend-setter: D'Arcy helped popularise steel and glass furnishings – in this model room she used metal light fixtures and tables
Oriental touch: During her 42-year career D'Arcy travelled to around 80 countries
Step back in time: The Tudor Revival style was a popular look for new American homes in the 1970s
Interior trends that she helped popularise were steel
and glass furnishings and plaid fabrics, and she is credited with having developed the Country French
look, which is still on trend today.
According to the New York Times D'Arcy would decorate up to eight spaces on the fifth floor at Bloomingdale's 59th St and Lexington location.
And over the years her decorations
became a must-see 'for those who aspired to learn what was stylish,
sophisticated, well-made but not too expensive' in the world of
Well-travelled: This room was inspired by D'Arcy's visit to a Japanese converted country farmhouse
Opulent surrounding: Once the floors had been carpeted, and the walls papered D'Arcy would add furniture, plants and lighting fixtures
A model room made to resemble an Early American keeping room – a mufti-purpose room combining the living and dining room and kitchen
Secret hideaway: D'Arcy said that often looked to historical figures for inspiration
Describing how she came up with her
ideas D'Arcy told the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1986 that she
looked to a number of personalities for inspiration.
'I would go through the rooms we were
doing at the time and dream up personalities, to be able to develop a
room’s personality around a kind of person – say, – “I think this would be
a perfect setting for Ernest Hemingway,” she said.
D’Arcy, who left her post as chief designer in 1975 to become
merchandising executive, travelled to around 80 countries during her career to pick up design ideas.
According to the Peak Of Chic,
her Japan room was inspired by a visit to a Japanese converted country
farmhouse and she covered the wall in a mix of plaster and straw to make
them look rustic.
Fit for a king: D'Arcy used gold and a dark purple to deck out this decadent showroom
Innovative designs: According to her New York Times obituary the Cave Room was one D'Arcy's most famous rooms
Looking to the future: Barbara D'Arcy's book features a range of eclectic styles from the late Fifties through to the early Seventies
She also helped re-introduce the concept of antique reproduction furniture.
Marvin Traub, the former chief executive of
Bloomingdale’s, told the New York Times: 'She and I visited furniture factories in Italy, where she would have to
teach them to make a piece of furniture that looked old instead of new,
how to stress it. It was a new idea to
them, but they caught on.'
'Over time she came to recognize her influence. She had
enormous impact on the entire American home furnishings industry,' he added.