Quintessential grandmillennial: A show with all the right moves – Irish Examiner

Chess Tournament

Have you noticed theres an interior design motif in big and small screen dramas these days, where costumes and dcor match?

Just a year ago, lush interiors in Autumn de Wildes adaptation of Jane Austens Emma had Dolly Mixture-hued frocks and bonnets worn by leading lady Anya Taylor-Joy matching the drapery and upholstery at the heroines 18th-century mansion.

Had it been a retelling of Pride & Prejudice, Mrs Bennet and Aunt Phillips would have been scandalised by the lack of lace.

Time-travel forward to the early 1960s for the same idea in the Netflix series The Queens Gambit, which has had the country prone on the sofa since November.

Coincidentally, Anya Taylor-Joy also stars in this as the heroine child-prodigy chess player Beth Harmon, with Grandmillennial dcor co-starring; where checks abound in pinafores, wallpaper and upholstery.

Who knows, maybe the checks are meant to be a background reference to the chessboard which is Beths focus, or a hint that at a time when were all at home more and partial to a board game that chess boards could become the must-have interior accessory to grace our coffee tables.

Its definitely a distraction, all this in-your-face interior design, or at least for the design buff whose gaze moves to the wallpaper and away from the action, something which became habitual when Danish noir dramas first came onto our screens and names of famous Scandinavian designers seemed to pop off lamps, chairs and accessories. Every character had chic design even if they lived in a squat.

The Queens Gambit is not exactly awash with examples of work from famed designers, though. Rather its about colour and pattern saturation, starting with an intensity of teal in the living room and hall of the house Beth calls home after her adoption.

At first sight, it serves as a vivid backdrop to her orphanage-supplied outfit in brown and teal, a colour combo which gathered speed in interiors through 2020, while her new mother, Mrs Wheatley, is attired to match the wan blue carpet to perfection.

Definitely, the set design and costume departments were working from the same office.

Upstairs, Beths over-the-top bedroom is a homage to pink in floral, gingham and checks.

Call it saccharine femininity gone mad, but its surprisingly familiar as pink is now perfectly acceptable, even coveted, as an interior colour, no longer confined exclusively to the toddlers room.

But pairing it with blue is another matter altogether as the two have never been happy bedfellows, something overlooked by colour authority Pantone when they inexplicably made both their colour of the year in 2016, but roundly endorsed in Mrs Wheatleys floral bedecked bedroom. It has to be said if theres an opportunity to go over the top, this show grabs it by the frilly valance.

Set in Kentucky, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Mexico City, Paris, and Moscow but filmed in Berlin, the hotels where the now chess tournament-winning Beth and Mrs Wheatley stay are tantamount to design porn.

Star-burst mirrors and bar trolleys are like cat-nip to home interiors buffs as theyre among current must-haves.

And thats the thing about good design; the best of whats come before is often borrowed for inspiration, which is why the shriek-inducing sight of an Osborne & Little wallpaper in Beths Mexico City hotel room prompted my putting the telly on pause while I looked it up.

Turns out this lush green and pink number is called Trailing Orchid (see todays Mood Board on page ??? to get the picture).

But its after the sudden demise of Mrs Wheatley, and Beths redecorating of the family home that we see 1960s dcor leaving behind the last of its 1950s influences for good.

New tonally flat paint colours and geometric wallpaper continue the leitmotif of dcor matching dress throughout the series, where simultaneously Beth abandons the flouncy circular skirts of Diors New Look for trim pencil pants and jockey hats.

Even her 1960s wardrobe is unexpectedly familiar, but weve been borrowing those ideas for years too. Outfits from Mad Men were often appealing, and even the 1970s garb from the recent Mrs America, like bell-bottom jeans, came back as boot-leg trouser some years ago with just a slightly different cut.

Its this familiarity and the nostalgia that comes with it which might just give the Grand-millennial look a step up in the trend polls.

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Quintessential grandmillennial: A show with all the right moves - Irish Examiner

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