I’m a huge fan of old Hollywood, so retro movie nights are a pretty regular happening in our household. One of my favorite Golden Age movie scenes is the “Think Pink” musical number from Funny Face. In it, the magazine editor is complaining about sales dropping as a bolt of bright pink fabric comes into the frame. Just like that, she decides to make pink the next big trend to delight the masses, but more importantly, sell more magazines. This scene playfully draws the pink curtain back on the ugly truth behind fashion and interior design trends. After all, no self-respecting magazine editor (or interior designer) would be caught dead following the latest trend, and you shouldn’t either.
What’s the Latest Interior Design Trend, You Ask?
In and out of my Austin interior design firm, I’m always being asked, “What’s the latest interior design trend?” Trends, by their manufactured nature, are topical. So, it’s an easy access point into a discussion on design. When folks ask this, they really mean something more akin to “What’s popular in interior design right now?” The question is nuanced (and slightly dreaded by me) because remodeling shows, the internet, and Instagram have created a fickle and mercurial trend cycle that takes decor, colors, and patterns in and out of fashion by the week.
Big-picture trends come into focus over time and are easier to pinpoint once we’re out of the cycle. For example, people moving out of the cities during the height of the COVID pandemic led to a resurgence of comfort-forward trends, like Cottagecore and Maximalism. The Mid-century Modern trend lasted for what feels like forever. It is only now fully understood as it positions itself apart from Maximalism and the attraction to Axel Vervoordt inspired design.
If you’ve read along for a while now, you know that I abhor interior design trends and the mistakes that come with them. Don’t even get me started on the open-concept kitchen trend that puts your dirty dishes front and center of your living room. I prefer my dirty ice cream bowl tucked away behind closed doors. When engaged in trend discussions, I have the urge to belittle the celebrity-endorsed brands, make the top trend lists disappear, and tell those trying to copy the latest fad to run for the hills. At the end of the day, interior-design trends are marketing tools designed to sell magazines or merchandise, which takes us back to Funny Face, or my rendition, Funny Trends.
Funny Trends: Take 1, Roll Camera, Action!
Funny Face opened in 1957 to mixed reviews, but it’s endured and actually grown in popularity. For those of you who need a quick refresher, Maggie Prescott (played by Kay Thompson) is a fashion magazine editor looking for the next big trend.
A quick off-screen aside, the character is based on Diana Vreeland, who worked for Harper’s Bazaar and later was the editor of Vogue. Vreeland’s take on magazines is that they provided a point of view audiences craved to follow because they couldn’t produce their own. (This is the psychology behind how trends work.) One imagines Vreeland wouldn’t deign to be influenced by the trends she made.
Prescott enlists the help of photographer Dick Avery (played by Fred Astaire), who discovers the “funny face” of Jo Stockton (played by Audrey Hepburn). Stockton thinks the fashion and modeling industries are absurd. However, she goes along with Prescott and Avery to score a free ticket to Paris, albeit not for the fashion. She wants to meet her favorite philosopher. Musical numbers and comedic setups ensue, and we’re met with a romantic conclusion I won’t spoil, but you can probably guess.
While problematic to the modern eye in many ways — from the anti-intellectualism and confusing age gap in romantic partners to the antiquated beauty standards — Funny Face is stylish and fun with many contemporary moments that keep it relatable and relevant.
Funny Face Trailer
“Think Pink”: Trends are Made for Marketing
The “Think Pink” musical number is a self-referential and hysterical take on the design industries and how we market ourselves. The scene opens in the lovely offices of Quality magazine with stylists and writers bustling about. We zoom in on Prescott holding a creative meeting, complaining that magazine sales are down due to their “dull and depressing” spreads. At a key point, an assistant runs through the frame with a bolt of pink satin fabric, hurrying off to a production office. However, Prescott stops her in her tracks. The pink fabric caught her eye, and she’s off!
“Think Pink” from Funny Face
A musical number ensues, transforming the set. One by one, the office decor, models, team, and magazine spreads all become pink. With a splash, pink has become the new trend that will save the magazine and consequently adorn every American woman with a pink wardrobe for the season. However, at the end of the number, there is one prominent character still dressed in gray — Prescott, who started it all. When asked why she’s not wearing pink, she says, “I wouldn’t be caught dead.” After all, the trend maker would never be so gullible as to fall for the trend herself.
Trends are Selected for You By the People in This Room
…from a pile of stuff.
Cerulean Monologue, The Devil Wears Prada
Almost 50 years later, we get another look at how trends are made in The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep as the hard-hitting editor Miranda Priestly, except this time it’s blue instead of pink. As Priestly says in her famous cerulean monologue, no one is excused from the world of design because the colors, fabrics, and accessories you buy are hand-picked for you by those in charge “from a pile of stuff.” I’ll point out that Priestly isn’t wearing a single shade of trendy blue as she schools Andy on how trends are made behind the tightly closed doors of the fashion world.
Off Trend is On Trend
Trends aren’t made with you or your home in mind. Trends are made to sell magazines, clothes, and decor. As you’ve guessed, changing the trends keeps you coming back for more. Rather than spending time keeping up with trend forecasts, I focus my designs around the period architecture of homes and the lifestyles of those who reside inside. Wouldn’t you rather invest in yourself than in the latest pink? If you feel pressured to jump on the latest trend, just remember, your interior designer, “Wouldn’t be caught dead in it.”
Join me to see just how “s’wonderful” and “s’marvelous” the off-trend world can be.
Amity Worrel is an award-winning interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked on high-end interior design projects for celebrities and tastemakers in NYC, LA, and the Bahamas. In 2008, Amity decided to bring her passion for diverse design back to her hometown of Austin. Her spaces pull from timeless design concepts ranging from coastal contemporary to cozy cottage to Austin eclectic. Emotional connections, functional flow, and a touch of humor remain central to every interior design scheme. Her work has been published in national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Austin Home. In her free time, she loves perusing estate sales and diving into design history. Learn more about Amity.