Saturday, March 7, 2009

Are you ready for Phyllis Morris?

So begins the Phyllis Morris website.

I certainly wasn't ready. Two years ago, when I first walked into the Robertson Avenue showroom of the late queen of high-end kitsch, I admit I was transfixed, as surely as if I were staring into the face of Medusa.

Phyllis Morris (1925-1988) was the inventor of the pink poodle lamp, but we also have her to thank for the over-the-top Hollywood baroque style that was eagerly adopted by Liberace (a close friend), Elvis Presley, and other celebrities from the 1950s through the 1980s. One of her favorite lines: "Minimalism is for those without much to say."

The showroom is now run by Phyllis's daughter Jamie Adler, a talented designer in her own right, who has introduced additional lines to the company's portfolio.

Morris was a Chicago-born L.A. original who defined the term "go large." Ugliness has never been more glamorous. And vice versa.


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