Monday, September 15, 2014

Rich Hippie

What do you think of when you hear those words together? Rich Hippie? Honestly, if it's conjuring up images anything like mine, I don't blame you if you can't formulate the words. I wasn't sure what to think, and I wasn't even really sure how I came to know that the two words were being used together to identify a particular style, not only in interior design, but in fashion, jewelry, and more.

I had always loved the look of the multi-layered and eclectic "old school" Ralph Lauren Bohemian rooms. You know the ones, where beautiful things mixed symbiotically with the aged and decrepit? One of those collections from Ralph Lauren was called New Bohemian, and had rooms so layered and collected it boarded on hoarding:

I've always called this style Bohemian. That crazy mix of rough and refined, old and new, and a collection of genres and periods, from French and Victorian to antique books and vintage posters. It's an acquired taste, I assure you - but one that I think never quite leaves your palette once you either perfected it, or seen it perfected.

Personally, I love it, and a room like this makes me smile - not cringe. So, when I realized that the style formerly referred to as Bohemian, was now being coined Rich Hippie, I had to do a pinterest search to see what came up.

The first thing to come up was this gorgeous room by Furlow Gatewood. An eclectic mix of fabrics and furniture, ikat with stripes and other ethnic or tribal motifs, Asian porcelain mixed with Victorian birdhouses and steeple studies ... French upholstered furniture and Hollywood regency side tables. If this is rich hippie, count me in!

Here a gorgeous Flemish tapestry hangs above a chintz sofa, which clearly has seen better days. Fortuny throw pillows, mixed with pottery barn feed sack ones ... it's captivating. Wrong and right all at the same time, and certainly a room you either love or hate. There are some, I being one of them, who would say, switch out the sofa and the ottoman for something new (or at least in good shape) and it'd be magazine ready. But, the ideology behind the Rich Hippie look is about comfort, artistic expression, and creative composition. The ability to afford is not a question here. It's the ability to define a personality. One that says "screw convention!"; one that embraces the things we love - whether they be new, old, worn, or pristine.
Color is also not something the Rich Hippie is shy to use as a method of expression. The rooms are bold and vividly patterned. Prints on prints on prints, with seemingly no worry of their pairing are used without abandon. It's gypsy meets Marrakesh meets Pottery Barn meets flea market, and yet it all seems to work.
If I had to pick a decorator who I thought embodied the Rich Hippie look, I'd point you immediately to the work of Tony Duquette. I did a review of his book, More is More here. His home in Beverly Hills is exactly what you'd expect of the Rich Hippie:

and his partner and protégé, Hutton Wilkinson is carrying on his legacy in his own rooms ...

The style is enigmatic, isn't it? Fresh and classic all at the same time. It's the wild use of color, the crazy display of bold and uninhibited style that I find so alluring about all of these spaces, but namely Wilkinson's. He's not copying anyone, he's not looking at a magazine - any magazine - and saying, I want to recreate that look. He's not found a blog to emulate, or a blogger or designer to shadow. He's bought the things that he loves, and he's used them - together, unsparingly.

Another designer that comes to mind, is the great Sid Bergamin, who also has a love for color and an eye for pattern pairing:


His approach, like most of the other designers and rooms above, is about mixing without fear. A 1970's mesh chair pairs up with a French daybed, and vintage folding iron garden chair. A roman statue towers atop a 70's table and boldly colored Kilim rug plays off the other handblocked and ikat fabrics used on the chair and daybed. It's clever and magnificent, and totally unique.

Other designers have pulled off similarly unique rooms, like this parlor in Jonathan Berger's home:

And this living room in John Robshaw's Manhattan apartment:

This glorious living room by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the penultimate of his work for me:


The mirrored living room of Lindsey Coral Harper:
And last, but not least, the beautiful prior Ojai home of designer, Kathryn M. Ireland:
So while there is no Webster's definition for Rich Hippie, this look book is as close as you'll come to a Vanderpool definition. So what do you think? Are you bold enough to make a statement in your home, and let a little of that hippie out? Make you sure you give them access to your checkbook - you'll need it! As I finish up this post - I have ebay open to a gallery of global and ethnic fabrics. Just you wait - Artie's got a few ideas! 


  1. Some of them worked, BUT some did border on hoarding in a BAD way.....

  2. I think we all have a little "rich hippie" in us. I absolutely LOVE the first pic......for some reason the stacks of disheveled books on top of the bookcase made me suddenly wish I actually had a bookcase to throw some books on top of. Oh and those exposed brick walls....divine!!!!! Can't wait to see what you come up with :o)

  3. Can't wait to see your fabrics - know they will be gorgeous. I love the second image and the outdoor space is amazing. Happy Monday!

  4. A tad overdone in accessories for my personal liking as I think house cleaning would be a nightmare but with that said, I do love the variety of fabrics and their mix of colours 'n patterns. ☺ -Brenda-

  5. Rich Hippy - I love it. This style is definitely my favorite, although I do prefer the non-decorator versions. Seems like a style that should be "collected over time".

  6. MMM,. this really is not me. It is way too cluttered looking for me, I am kind of a neat freak:):)

  7. That is hilarious...bohemian is now Rich Hippie...wonder what bohemian is now?

  8. I love a collected over time look when a room doesn't look so "perfectly" put together...LOVE that last photo!!

  9. Your article and photos both are amazing , thanks .