She’s brilliant, stylish, cinema-savvy, and shares my affinity for Diet Coke. Author, magazine writer, and designer Cathy Whitlock offers her expertise on all things Hollywood via her fabulous and informative blog Cinema Style. If you’re a film junkie like me, you’ll get your fix there.
But that’s not her only medium. She’s authored two design books, re-de-sign: New Directions for Your Interior Design Career (Fairchild Books, 2009), and Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction (Harper Collins, 2010). She’s also published stories in Veranda and Traditional Home magazines, among others.
She graciously agreed to share more about herself on Gypsy Mind and I am thrilled to feature her here! Thanks, Cathy.
S: How did you decide to embark upon a career in design?
CW: I became an interior designer out of a lifelong interest in design and people kept asking me to help with their homes. I left corporate America and got a degree at Parsons in NYC and never looked back.
S: Do you have a favorite design project?
CW: I love projects where the client has great taste and makes quick decisions based on the fact they know what they want. That is a dream job!
S: How did your passion for cinema develop?
CW: I have loved movies since a child and remember my parents taking me to Doris Day and James Bond films. I was hooked from that moment on!
S: You obviously have many favorite movies. Do you have a top three?
CW: So many to choose from! If I were on a desert island and could only take six films, it would be Out of Africa, Gone with the Wind, Chinatown, The Graduate, and The Godfather, one and two.
S: What is the concept behind your new book, Designs on Film?
CW: I wanted to chronicle and celebrate a century of the best in art direction, namely designs on film. The book covers the history and how to of production design, art direction and set decoration through behind the scene stories and images.
S: Was it difficult to decide which set designs to feature?
CW: Yes, as there were so many. Also difficult to locate images that portrayed the sets, particularly in the mid part of the century.
S: Can you name a favorite set design trend that’s come to the fore lately?
CW: From a technical standpoint, all the fantasy films that utilize CGI (computer generated imagery) are quite popular now–Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and Avatar come to mind. The relaxed yet elegant sets from all the Nancy Meyers films certainly caught both the design community and public’s attention (Somethings Gotta Give, It’s Complicated and The Holiday).
S: What was your most memorable movie watching experience?
CW: Sitting on the Peabody campus lawn of Vanderbilt University during the summer as a child and watching an outdoor movie—Pillow Talk—which was ironically about a Manhattan decorator!
Pillow Talk photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
S: What are your other hobbies and interests?
CW: Animals, film, writing, travel and design and I am a huge college basketball junkie! And I love observing pop culture.
S: Name three things that inspire you.
CW: I would have to say people that think and work outside of the box and a day at the theater or museum.
S: Ok, you’re trapped on a desert island. Which five things can’t you live without?
CW: The internet, television, my computer, my Ipod, and Diet Coke! And I guess a sixth thing would be electricity so all of the others are possible!