Costuming The Lost Horizon

I’m in the midst of madness at my school. Lots to do right now! We’re on the lead-up to the annual play production. Currently I’m haunting the thrift stores and cheap clothing stores to costume the play. It is not going as I had hoped. It’s not so easy to find ’40’s and Chinese dresses secondhand! If I had my druthers, I’d have an unlimited budget, and my costuming would look like this:


40’s Dresses

40’s Suit

…and my leading man, in this dream scenario, would look just like this…

…instead of being a 16-year-old whose voice just changed. Ahhh, well.



Crazy for Chinoiserie

Today was an exciting day.  In addition to everything else I do at work, in the spring I direct and produce a full-length play.  It took me forever to choose which play we were going to do this year, because I really wanted to do a drama.  But I finally picked a play called The Last Horizon.  Set during World War II, three British people evacuating from China get hijacked in a plane that crashes in the Himalayas, where they are rescued and taken to Shangri-la, but they can’t seem to leave.  So, today the scripts arrived!  I spent most of the day on Pinterest making a board for set design ideas.  And it reminded me that I absolutely LOVE Chinoiserie.


Chinoiserie is the adorable baby you get when French style and Chinese style make zee sweet love.  It uses the lacquer and porcelain and little birdies of China, and all the embellishment and color of France.  It can be subtle, or it can be loud.


Of course, I personally think it’s best done LOUD.  The tiny birds and trees can get lost in a room or look twee if used sparingly.  But you cover the entire room in Chinoiserie wallpaper–MAGIC.  I always think it’s like living inside of a jewelry box, and I want it!

The best thing to me is the eye-popping color.  Especially a bright color with a shiny lacquer finish!  Perfect for wood furniture.  Also, it seems like something that would be a good idea for rehabbing an old piece of furniture.  Real lacquer takes some steps, but spray paint or a one-step lacquer can simulate the effect for less effort.


Also, even though bird  motifs are SO OVER, how adorable would a pagoda-style birdcage be?


If you love the Chinoiserie, a great resource is Chinoiserie Chic.  So many great pictures and ideas!