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High Meets Low in Monaco


by Louis Postel in Showboats International, September 2016 

george stacey

Princess Grace Designer George Stacey

Who invented who took two seemingly irreconcilable ideas — casual and chic — and put them together to revolutionize the interior décor and furnishings?

Arguably, it was George Alford Stacey (1901-1993) who decorated five homes over 28 years for Monaco’s patron saint, Princess Grace, including the Palais Princier nearby. Born to an unemployed lumberman, Stacey returned to the US in 1933 after a ten-year sojourn in Paris.  His life-long defiance of convention, his fearless juxtapositions of high and low, treasure and trash, (think priceless chandeliers in combination with bare walls), made him irresistible to A-List Americans seeking a style apart from the European one that so dominated at the times.

Ava Gardner, Babe Paley, Hay Whitney, Vincent Astor, and, famously, Diana Vreeland (1903-1989), an editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, and the Empress of Fashion were all Stacey clients, but his work for Princess Grace stands out. The quintessence of which is beautifully Bohemian Palace conservatory, the defining moment for much of the casual chic that continues to this day in creative proliferation, as MYS Exhibitors make clear:

LA Mod Above
LA Mod Above

So laid back! George Spacey’s casual chic did much to inspire California’s legendary style-setter of the ‘60’s Michael Taylor. With the laid-back sexiness of a white bikini, the new L.A. MOD furniture system takes the Taylor legacy a step further. Credit the talented L.A.-based designer Alwy Visschedyk, who created the system in plantation teak exclusively for Summit.  $1,870 to $3,870 per piece http://www.summitfurniture.com/

Ok, so there’s some ironing involved. Since 1860, over five hundred European royal dynasties have slept between Frette sheets. If there’s one time in their often public and formal lives when they were allowed to relax their guards and indulge in some casual chic it was, no doubt, in bed. Newly launched in the US and UK, Frette’s Bespoke Service cuts across all product categories from bed and bath linens, to table linens, throws, dressing gowns and pajamas. Clients will be able to select from over 200,000 combinations of fabrics and colors that they can personalize with embroideries, monograms, coat of arms and trims. Bed linens start at $1,200. http://www.frette.com/featured-shop/bespoke.html 1-frette drawing yacht


You could just have this and leave the rest bare. “The yacht furniture is spectacular. Everyone loved the pieces … all of them. I could not be happier,” said yachtsman Larry Ellison joining a chorus of praise for the custom work of Frank Pollaro and his twenty-five-year-old company Pollaro Yacht Furniture. To ensure each piece like this new sofa possesses artistic integrity and a soul of its own, Pollaro eschews the use of computer-controlled routers and lasers, which runs against the grain of modern industry. Though everything’s by hand, his operation is by no means small, housing over 1 million square feet (93,000 square meters) of hand-selected veneer and 100,000 board-feet of exotic lumber. Price on request. http://pollaroyacht.com/

1-Interior Sofa - side detail
Pollaro sofa side view
3-Contour clubchair white_linen_b_s
Tribu club chairs

Steel this. Casual Chic a la Spacey can be pitilessly difficult to pull off. Take the new collection by the world-renowned Piergiorgio Cazzaniga for Belgian-based outdoor furniture maker Tribu. While Cazzaniga may remind some of the bearded prophets of the Old Testament, it was the designer’s technical savvy that helped him figure out how to curve the powder-coated stainless steel frames in one unbroken tubular line, ending up with uniformly soft angles and exercise in elegance. 1,780 euros. Seat and back from 450.00. http://www.tribu.com/en

Stacey is as Stacey Does. The saucy monkeys and friends adorning the latest dinner plate collection from Hermes express all that’s high and low and wonderful about life. http://www.sabrinamontecarlo.com/

Casual chic - Carnet d’Equateurs designed by the animal illustrator and painter Robert Dallet.
Casual chic – Carnet d’Equateurs designed by the animal illustrator and painter Robert Dallet.