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A De Luxe Miss Pettigrew

Posted March 05, 2008

Pettigrew LA Times article

When you're looking for film-related articles in the newspaper, you don't usually start at the Home Section. But that's exactly where Chisty Hobart's recent Los Angeles Times article "The Satin and Silk World of 'Miss Pettigrew'" resides. Hobart speaks with production designer Sarah Greenwood (who was recently nominated for an Oscar for Atonement) as to how such a deco fantasy as the one spun for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is put together.

Greenwood looked to the abodes of actual Hollywood icons (like Jean Harlow and Doris Day) for initial inspiration. But since they didn't design their own homes, the real starting point was their designers, primarily actor-turned-designer William Haines. (Haines' own life was captured in the book and then documentary Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star). They also turned to Haines's contemporary Dorothy Draper for styling and decorating ideas. But with so many objects, furniture, molding, paint colors, swirling about in one room, how do you tie it together? For Greenwood, it was the figures of Dianna and the deer near the fire place: "I quite liked the idea of Diana the Huntress and asked myself if there was an analogy with the mistresses that [Nick] put up there."

Miss Pettigrew still