Now, New, Next: Fabulous Fifties!

The Fabulous Fifties: sixth decade of the 20th Century and birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  An era of prominent entertainers like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean, and the beginning of Pop Art.  The summer of 2012 will see a renewed interest in the Fifties that will continue to develop well into the Spring/Summer 2013 season; in today’s posting we look at how all things Fifties flare up once more!

We’ll begin with what’s happening Now, exploring the current Fifties Diner aesthetic: ice cream parlour and soda bar looks – it’s all about the sweetest thing!  Then we’ll take a look at what’s New with a focus on the fashion house Prada’s current ad campaign and its potential influence on upcoming seasons.  Finally, we look at what’s coming Next as we present a Sneak Peek at our Spring/Summer interiors trend, ‘Motel’.

But more on that taster in a bit.  For Now, let’s look at the established trend inspired by Fifties Diners, soda bars, and ice cream parlours.  This look works particularly well in the kitchen and in dining areas, reflecting its inspirations.  Retailer H&M have released a fantastic, sweeter than sweet table runner adorned with ice cream cones and pastel coloured lollipops for their S/S 2012 interiors collection.  The Anna G corkscrew in chrome from Alessi exudes that streamlined yet quirky Fifties look.  John Lewis have also picked up the Diner trend with their ‘Playnation‘ collection full of chalky pastels and bright, poppy colours.  The fuchsia pink bin and mint green mixing bowl will certainly inject a Fifties vibe into your kitchen space.

Antonella Arismendi (below, bottom right corner) has themed her advertising photography work for Intima Cherry on hazy, laid back days spent in soda bars with the Cadillac parked in the lot.  You can check out more of her work on her website and also at Intima Cherry online.

Top to bottom: Table runner from H&M International; Anna G corkscrew from Alessi; Ice cushion from Bonjour Mon Coussin; Fifties Diner booths in Rochester, NY from Jays Furniture Products; Melamine plate and bowl from Kim Seybert at Barneys NY; Retro style jug and tall tumblers in acrylic from Rice, DK; Smeg Fridge in Pastel Green and Freestanding Dishwasher in Pink; KitchenAid Artisan Mixer with veg slicer in Aqua Blue from Wheesh; Brights Matte Pedal Bin in Fuchsia and Playnation Mixing Bowl in Green both from John Lewis; Antonella Arismendi for Intima Cherry S/S 2012 fashion campaign

If you’re really loving the Fifites Diner look then make a bold choice with these fantastic handle back diner chairs from Richardson Seating in the US.  With ‘dual tone’ channeled back, in vinyl and chrome these authentic American diner chairs are brilliant!  Also check out the ‘Soda Fountain’ counter stools with footrest and 360° swivel seat.  So, pull up a chair and have a soda folks!

Kitchen appliances are also sporting shades of Vanilla, Spearmint, and Raspberry Smoothie, like the toaster from Dualit and this new range of Smeg fridges and dishwashers.

Paint company, Crown, have put together a new palette of paints for S/S 2012 with their ‘Ice Cream Parlour’ collection.  Bottom right below shows a selection of their candy colours with the full range available online on Crown’s inspiration pages.

Top to bottom: Soda Fountain counter stool and Handle Back diner chair from Richard Seating, US; Annies Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour, Bathurst, NSW courtesy of A Table For Two; Ice Cream and Cherries vintage print from eBay seller FavouriteFabrics1; Mels Drive-In Diner, CA; Fizz Soda maker from Soda Stream in pink; Libbey 11.5 oz Soda Glass from The Webstaurant Store Online, US; Dualit Dome cordless kettle in cream from Heals; pale blue Apron from Donna Hay; J-99 Fifties Booth seating from Jays Furniture Products; extendable Craft dining table from Ligne Roset; Dualit Vario 2 Slot toaster in Azure Blue from Heals; Selection of paints from Crowns ‘Ice Cream Parlour’ collection


Prada’s recently launched ad campaign (watch the video below) and ‘Real Fantasies’ lookbook for S/S 2012 features Fifties styled girls perched on Cadillacs parked outside typical mid-Century Americana porches.  The drive-in campaign focuses heavily on their Cadillac inspired heels (which The Boss Lady predicts will become an iconic shoe!) and explores the “nostalgia of hot rodding, golfing, picnicking, the space race, and other wholesome past times”.  Do check out the fabulous imagery in the lookbook with cut-out models superimposed on vintage posters collaged together with their incredible automotive heels.



In a posting earlier this year we looked at the influence of fashion on interiors, discussing fashion houses moving into new realms with interior products and services.  The influence of this campaign will certainly be felt!

Top to bottom: Prada ‘Real Fantasies’ lookbook; ‘Target Practice’ print Sammy Slabbink; Prada’s S/S 2012 Americana campaign and the Cadillac inspired heels and clutch bag

Prada have recently collaborated with Hyundai on the Genesis Prada, with Prada creating a sophisticated unique version of Hyundai’s award-winning 2012 Genesis sedan.  The fashion house also has a well established line of bathroom products, including male and female fragrances, and since 2001 have been creating wallcoverings for their stores, each year expanding on the theme of the previous.  With their recent forays out of the fashion world I wonder if they will soon be joining other major fashion houses – Fendi, Hermes, and my personal favourite, Armani – who have already transitioned into interiors.

To go back to the brand’s fashion influence, and particularly the ‘Real Fantasies’ lookbook, we already begin to see this aesthetic in other areas, for example in the work of Sammy Slabbink and his outrageous use of proportions and mixes of colour with black and white vintage photography.  Bright, inventive prints with a lacing of grown-up seductiveness epitomise this – in Miss V’s words – “retro-revival road trip”.

The aqua pleated dresses from Prada are mirrored in design classics such as the Eames RAR plastic rocker, now also available in tones of Spearmint and Rose for the new season.  Vitra’s classic Sunburst clock incorporates these mid-Century shades as does the Grid Lock print from Etsy seller PoolPonyDesign, reflecting the key colours Prada have used.  This Fifties pastel look will continue to develop and evolve into a more punchy, vivid trend fit for relaxed summer days.

Top to bottom: Prada ‘Real Fantasies’ lookbook; Sunburst wall clock from the Aram Store; Grid Lock print from Etsy seller PoolPonyDesign; Prada catwalk shot; Tulip Chair from Knoll; Pradas S/S 2012 Americana campaign; Eames RAR rocker in Ocean from Vitra; 1963 Geneva steel kitchen from Design Clique; Cassina table in yellow from Yoox; Manuel throw from Missoni Home available at ArenasCollection, DK


This leads us nicely into our final and most exciting part, what’s Next!  ‘Motel’ for Spring/Summer 2013, that’s what.  A trend that sees a definite move on from the current Diner look and one that pushes us towards summer fun, out of the dark winters of austerity, into vintage Rock ‘n’ Roll sexiness and laidback, hazy poolside gatherings.

It’s a Fifties Motel vacation, inspired by the palm tree lined, Art Deco adorned boulevards of Miami and a laidback LA vibe – we see graduated colours and ombres; matte, opaque surface finishes; kitsch styling and products with a humorous twist.

Colour blocking is predominant and creativity is passed from designer to consumer via furniture Hacking – “user-initiated product intervention; taking an object and optimizing its function through an alteration that was not intended by the manufacture”.

Top to bottom: Motel colour palette including Design Barks printed veneers; Wooden stool from Cappellini; Antonella Arismendi for Intima Cherry SS12 fashion campaign; Steel and pastel Dot Bowl by Paul Smith for Stelton, DK; vintage photograph copyright Aladdin Color Inc. at; Bolle vases/glasses from Venini

Shapes are either (I love this, Miss V!) “flirtatiously curvaceous, lozenge shaped” or are more angular and geometric providing two alternatives at either end of the spectrum.  Pattern goes all Tropicana and we also see conversational prints featuring cars, fruit, and girls.  Materials like blonde wood veneers are overprinted with geometrics, take Design Bark por exemplo, with Lipstick Red and Mint as key colours for the season.

Top to bottom: vintage photograph copyright Aladdin Color Inc. at; House of Holland for S/S 2012/13; ‘eu/phoria’ chair by Paola Navone for Eumenes, It; vintage record player image courtesy of PeskyMonkey on iStock; Printed veneer light shade from Design Bark

The trend has moved on from all things sweet in S/S 2012 to a more sophisticated, tongue in cheek aesthetic that’s bolder in colour and form, and cooler and more radical in attitude.





As usual huge thanks to Anthony for today’s posting.  If his Motel trend teaser has captured your attention then check out the Services page for all the details on our reports and trend boards or email us direct at to order our full S/S 2013 trend report.

Stop back next Monday when Victoria will be sharing her ideas for the future 100 years from now!

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