Thursday, April 3, 2008

Orchids, yes or no? Nick Olsen starts the debate.


Nick Olsen (love him) calls them cheesy HERE. Carlos Mota (of Elle Decor) practically withers and dies when he sees them.

So - do we love or hate? And if we hate, is it because you can buy them at Trader Joe's while picking up your 3 Buck Chuck, and now we're as over them as we were over zebra rugs as soon as we saw THIS place?

Discuss.

47 comments:

Maison Luxe said...

I love orchids, I have one on my desk right now! Just like the zebra rug, a little bit goes a looong way. Speaking of, did you see the zebra hide, hooves and all, on ebay recently? tragic and sooo creepy.
By the way, those damn lamps have still not come in...I promise to let you know the minute they arrive. What were we saying about how 1 week = 3 in the furniture business? sigh...

decorno said...

Are you serious about the zebra? That is disgusting. I mean, probably no worse than a cowhide in the grand scheme of things, but still. Ew.

Thanks for letting me know about the lamp... but I think I might have found something not as fat at the base that will work better. We will see. Do let me know, because I would love to come in and take a peek! :)

Anonymous said...

I think it's the word "cheesy" that's getting overused.

marlazz said...

I love orchids, and I love zebra rugs too. Ok, my zebra is printed cowhide, but still, I think it looks great.

I love elle decor and domino, but just because Carlos and Nick suddently don't like something, doesn't mean I'm getting rid of my stuff.

decorno said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

A thing can be great, but the use of it can get tiresome.

You may quote me.

Anonymous said...

Depends on the orchid. The first time I saw those white phalenopsis in 1991 on a gallery desk in NYC, I thought they were beautiful. And last night in Lowes, I hated them. But now I crave those weird ugly orchids with the long dripping fangs. And you've already said you're not a plant person, right? And zebras are an endangered wild animal, killed only for their hide, while cowhide is probably a byproduct of the food industry, no? Not that I'm that into leather chairs myself. NOT Joni's zebra nut...

Anonymous said...

I like orchids, just not people who like orchids.

Decorno said...

Anon 3:19 - I love the self loathing your comment suggests. :)

Anonymous said...

The faux orchids at Restoration Hardware are awesome, and I am not a "faux" type. The mini for $15 is a steal and if you get sick of it...it was $15.

maison21 said...

we know where i stand:

http://maison21.blogspot.com/2007/11/fresh-flowersfeeling-good-looking-luxe.html

Sucker For Marketing said...

I think a fresh bouquet is so much better. Even the grocery stores these days have a great selection, and putting a couple bunches together makes most of us look like we have a gift or something. As for the orchids...I am trying to get rid of mine, anyone need one?

Anonymous said...

I love that people start hating things once they appear in Lowes. That cracks me up.

the quarter rat said...

I only like the ones that get you high, like the the one in "the orchid thief"(movie). Then again, I'm a guy and find anything less masculine than an arrangment of freshly cut 2x4s and power tools a bit "fussy"....

Paris Hotel Boutique said...

YES on orchids, YES on zebra rugs, but the hide has to be real and only one per household, please...well, perhaps two if you have too..

Paris Hotel Boutique said...

Oh and the orchids have to be real too... no artificial, plastic or silk flower anything...

Anonymous said...

orchids are classssssyyyyyyyy

my little apartment said...

anon, you made me realize why i dont really like orchids: i hate the word "classy" and i feel like that's what orchids are trying to be.

that being said, i have one in my kitchen but it's white and only has one flower. i really like the thick leaves of it mostly...i'm a succulent person.

Anonymous said...

"I only grow orchids for the leaves"--That's the decorating version of "I only read Playboy for the articles."


(The leaves are spectacular, I agree.)

Anonymous said...

I guess they are really trendy, but I also think orchids are really pretty, so it's something i'd have even if there wasn't this trend. yeah.

ExpatInNZ said...

Phalaenopsis orchids remind me of everything 1990s: the Christians (Liagre and d'Augustvielle), wenge wood, white slipcovers, the Delano lobby, and decorative boxes of grass.

Decorno said...

Expatinnz - YES!!!

Yes, yes, yes.

It's like they are yesteryear, which everyone hates, which is like 5 years away from a comeback. Yes.

You're a genius and my new fave.

Decorno said...

Not that you were on the side of Liagre, but I'm just saying, yes they are 90s, but in 5, 10, 15 years (whatever) people are going to wet themselves over retro 90s love and think that big blocky wenge dark furniture and orchids et al are the height of vintage chic and orchids will be the new coral.

Decorno said...

Nick responded on the Domino blog, FYI:

"Decorno, is that you? Really?? I've been in seclusion waiting for your "Open Letter to Nick Olsen, that Know-it-all B*#&"!! Kidding. I love your blog. Especially the "Remember when Madonna was awesome?" post. Anyway orchids are beautiful flowers but overly used as styling props, at least in my opinion. Orchids and uplights ... there's something so AD about the look (I know you get it!) Why not snip the blooms and make tight, low arrangements in little vases? A single lady slipper orchid in an old terra cotta pot is also super chic."


http://www.dominomag.com/daily/blogs/dailydose/2008/03/starburst-mirro.html?cid=109309260

Pieter said...

Of all zebra species, the plains (or Burchell's) zebra (Equus burchelli), the mountain zebra (E. zebra), and Grevy's zebra (E. grevyi), only the last two species are endangered.

Anonymous said...

Is our era-hatred speeding up? Pretty soon, are we going to be saying, "Ew, that is so June 2006"? or "That is like a totally ironic take on autumn 2004"?

This is getting dizzying.

Christine in DC said...

I am a little behind the times and was just thinking the other day "I think I'd like to get an orchid." I think my reason for never having one was two-fold a.) I'm horrible at keeping any plant alive b.) They sort of say "chic urban condo staging" I think it depends on the context, the plant itself, etc.

Anonymous said...

Christine: Yes!! Those ads for all the condos built during the housing boom ALWAYS had orchids in arty vases, along with the usual suspects: stainless-steel kitchen appliances, Noguchi coffee table, pair of side-by-side Barcelona chairs, red accent wall, etc.

visualvamp.blogspot.com/ said...

What makes something classic and iconic that stands the test of time, or a trend that becomes "cheesy" for the hungry eye that consumes and discards everything? Orchids were once costly (only if you didn't live where they grow wild), and associated with people with money, and by default money SOMETIMES is equated with taste. The class below always wants what the class above it has. You could splurge $50.+ or so to buy an expensive orchid plant and give your humble abode a little panache and polish. Designers feed the machine, and we all have some degree of ability to imitate what they are selling. Retailers hop on the trends, and presto! 5 to 10 years later, orchids at big box stores! Who cares? If your space is going to be published in a designer mag, then you might have a burning question of the day :-) If you like them, use them. What about roses for $5. a dozen, or the hand tied bouquet for $10. at the market? You all know, it's what you do with it that makes it "good" or "bad" and yours :-) PS An orchid plant in my garden actually burst into glorious bloom today, and I brought it inside & put it on my desk :-) Nick who? Carlos what?

An Aesthete's Lament said...

The only trouble with orchids is this: they look fake even when they are real and vice versa. (I know a decorator who always puts fake orchids in rooms being photographed for that very reason; nobody can tell the difference on film.) On the plus side, I love the airiness of the blooms and how they float in the air. Orchids can be annoying when overused, but frankly, how can you hate a flower whose blooms last for weeks! Also, orchids aren't trying to be "classy"; they are flowers, for heaven's sake; they just ARE. However, if people who stage them here and there think they are being classy by doing so, more power to them. Aren't we all trying to look a little more glamorous? (Excuse me while I dust the cookie crumbs off my sweater.)

Iheartfashion said...

I've always loved orchids, whether they're in or out of style. I'd rather they be "out" so I don't feel so cliché. I've got a big marble table in my living room covered in them. They thrive on neglect!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

One of the most wonderful uses of orchids is something I saw once at Vicente Wolf's apartment: a gilded Louis-the-something console with a shallow tin tray completely covering the marble top; the tray was filled with pebbles; and on top of the pebbles were pots of orchids, all different colors, stems arching into the air. I'd guess a total of 15 or 20 pots were massed together. It was much more glorious an effect that a single pot set on a cocktail table (the kiss of death, I think).

modernemama said...

Hate them, think they are artificial-looking, but I still have one in my dining room because I needed something large, white and sculptural that cost less than $25. And it looks fabulous there, so I'm learning to get over it.

reclaimingmisshavisham said...

I think people are overthinking this. How do you hate a type of flower? weird

Anonymous said...

Flowers are full of artificial influences (with all the genetic tinkering, some species are practically man-made), so yeah, you can hate a flower without being a nature-hater.

Anonymous said...

I love the line a single orchid makes. It's like a single brushstroke, or a dance gesture.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Frankly, I'm waiting for a Boston-fern comeback. I've started buying them and sticking them around the house, and they are unfashionable enough for visitors to raise their eyebrows. I am glad, however, that that bane of the 1970s/80s is gone: ficus trees with braided trunks. Dear God, those were awful. And still are. I only like ficuses the way they are in Palm Beach: planted trunk to trunk and trained into huge hedges. The sound of the leaves in the breeze is amazing, somewhere between a whisper and a clank.

magnaverde said...

I've got a lot of friends. For some of them, orchids--any orchids--are hallmarks of upper-class life, like chauffers or drinking wine at dinner, or going to the symphony, something beautiful to aspire to, but unattainable. To display an orchid in one's own home--even if it comes from Home Depot--would be to put on airs.

Then there are the friends who think of orchids the way they think of Starbucks, or a cleaning woman or tin-lined copper pots: as an absolute necessity. How can one prepare risitto without a proper pot? How could one have a Jonathan Adler console in the vestibule without an orchid?

Then there those who look at orchids the same way they look at Hummers or gold Rolexes or 'Tuscan' kitchens with wrought-iron curlicue things on the wall: as unmistakable markers of middle-class taste. There's a pricey new apartment in my neighborhod emblazoned in elegant metal script "The Parvenue." Somebody needs a dictionary. At the Parvenue, orchids are sine qua non.

Me, I don't care one way or the other about orchids. Much more interesting than actual orchids themselves are the mutable places that "orchids" occupy in the firmament of mass taste.
---------------------------------

No, I don't care about orchids. I do, however, care about design blogs. Mostly, though, I look at them--although I love them, and this one in particular--as I do poor King Midas, doomed to destroy the very things he loved, simply by his fatal touch. Not, of course, that he could help it.

But the fact that he didn't mean to kill didn't change the final, unfortunate outcome of being on the receiving end of his attentions. No, no matter what it is, all it takes is a post in a popular blog to transfrom something--almost overnight--from wonderful new discovery to hottest thing on the market to overdone cliche to object of scorn & derision.

I said on another blog a while back that while Tony Duquette's first career lasted for decades, this time around, he only lasted a few weeks. Those Holiday windows in Midtown set off a huge wave of Tonyphilia that caused ripples on every design blog around, but by mid-January, ennui had already set in: "If I see one more reference to Tony Duquette, I'm gonna scream!!!"

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI
Same thing with orchids.

Magnaverde.

Anonymous said...

Next topic: "Artisinal cheeses."

Anonymous said...

omg I love a good magnaverde post.

I missed you so much when I stopped reading GardenWeb, but I couldn't stand those ladies anymore.

xoxox

Anonymous said...

Digression. The thing about Ficus is that they were never watered enough. There is/was? a huge amazing beautiful one in the Denver Botanical Gardens tropical house that made me realize they've always been unhappy when I've seen them. I've never thought about "90's style" before that way. How funny!

Anonymous said...

Hey Decorno,
About these orchids........
They're gauche.
They've become pedestrian.
They're vulgar.

Wanna join in & pluck their petals one by one (sort of like you do with butterfly wings) while letting out heinous cackles?!?!?!
Haaaaaaaaaaa, ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaaa, ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Are my heels on fire yet?

Anonymous said...

Magnaverde is Magnaverde's number-one fan.

Reggie said...

Can't stand anything that's been over-hybridized, whether its an unfortunate magenta dendrobium or most any of the annuals available at garden centers. Key is to seek out unusual and out-of-the-ordinary specimens, but that means hunting for them (NY Orchid Show an eye-stopper!).

A message to all you "anonymous" posters -- if you're going to scratch with your claws, you should at least do so with an acknowledged identity. Get with it!

Anonymous said...

I love artificial looking flowers, the more synthetic the better. Hybridize away, boys.

what's in a name? said...

Maybe too late to join this discussion, I know. But l do love this blog and its followers.
1. Orchids are classic, not a fad.
2. The ones at Lowes and T. Joe's are not bad, but do not last like a more expensive higher quality orchid (as with anything else) - dah.
(hanging with the kids too much)
3. I do agree they are "overly used as a styling prop."
4. My husband gets me two a year, one on Valentine's, and one on our anniversary in the summer. They are always different, and I love them.
5. Not gonna comment on the zebra rug...
I was trying to kick the habit (the decorno habit) but not going to happen.

franki durbin said...

oh God If they are passe, I am wildly out of date. I've got white orchids at home... at our office... in my bathrooms. Busted!

I think white orchids are like Chanel bags. Always in style. And frankly, I don't care if they are considered cheesy. I personally love them and find them elegant.

Having said that... I think cheap fake versions left in that awful generic pot they come in are very tacky.