living in: auntie mame


When Design*Sponge managing editor Amy Azzarito uses exclamation points to suggest you watch a movie, you watch it. There is no saying no to Ms. Azzarito — she has fantastic taste, she shares your first and middle name and hello, she’s the pal who got you this job in the first place. Her Auntie Mame recommendation couldn’t have been more spot-on. Rosalind Russell’s 1958 title role is about as chic as they come. Spanning several decades, you get to watch her apartment and hairstyles shift at a rapid pace while maintaining a glammed-up, New York eccentricity at the center of her style. — Amy Merrick

1. Red Carnations, $1 a stem; 2. Petrossian Caviar, $49+; 3. Pearl Caviar Spoon, $8; 4. Martini Glass, $20/6; 5. Glass Buddha, $15; 6. Roksanda Ilincic Dress, $1400; 7. LSA Ono Decanter, $75; 8. Vintage Bar Cart, $750; 9. Chinoiserie Bowl, $48; 10. Gold Coin Bracelet, $98

The full post and second roundup & set of stills continue after the jump…

While the film starts in the 1920s, there is a pervasive mid-century bent to Mame’s look. I’m not complaining — her fancy-free spirit is a perfect match for the bright, graphic pieces that decorate each decade’s incarnation of her uptown apartment. My favorite, of course, is her chinoiserie-inspired caviar and cocktail party. Bring out the bangles and martini shakers, and let’s toast to a legend.

1. Valentino Bolero, $430; 2. Valentino Cuff, $875; 3. Vintage Lame Flats, $18; 4. Vintage Lamp, $750; 5. Dunbar Sofa, $6800; 6. Alex Bittar Clip-on Earrings, $295; 7. Ice Bucket, $29; 8. York Tray, $235; 9. Arda Bowl, $42; 10. Round Velvet Pillow, $36

  1. Great choice. I love Auntie Mame! Who wouldn’t want to live in her world?

  2. Ginger says:

    One of my absolute favorite movies…EVER!

    I want to be Mame when I grow up.

  3. Sing says:

    I loved this movie, it was so fun and the interiors changing were great.

  4. Bridget says:

    That is one sexy sofa.

  5. Andrea says:

    So excited to see this Auntie Mame post! One of my favorite childhood movies – I used to watched it over and over again with my grandmother and laugh so hard. I love how Auntie Mame constantly reinvents herself. “Top drawer!”

  6. Kate Roebuck says:

    You have no idea how long i have been waiting for you to do auntie mame! Its my FAVE movie…the best part is when she takes the christmas decor from the tree and wears it! Thanks for this! xx kate

  7. Erin R says:

    Fun post! I grew up with this movie, and love it still! Rosalind Russell did an amazing job playing the part of Mame………a lot of great one liners.

  8. JK says:

    Best Line Ever: Yes! Live! Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

    More gems–

  9. Another Amy says:

    I didn’t appreciate the wonderful style in this movie until I was older and now I love it. I’m going to watch it again on Netflix tonight! Ok, now for a respectful request…Enchanted April. I know you’ll love it. Italian villas in the springtime with quirky Brits. If I had to describe a “lazy Sunday” in movie form, this is it. Plus, it’s April and Spring! As one Amy to another, trust me.

  10. Chrissy says:

    My first design movie – love every stitch of everything here. Pillow Talk is a good second, but mame makes this the winner.

  11. BT says:

    This is one of my favorite classic movies. The constant redecorating is my dream.

  12. Babs says:

    And I STEPPED on the Ping Pong ball!

  13. Nancy D says:

    this movie has the best set designs ever……so glad it is getting some renewed attention. wonderful settings, wonderful storyline, wonderful, wonderful

  14. Nancy D says:

    so glad to see a renewal in this fine film. the set decoration and design are the most, TOP DRAWER, STRICTLY TOP DRAWER, renditions of various styles and whimsy which change with Auntie Mame’s moods, oh we should be so lucky to change our environment when the mood strikes. thanks for the memories

  15. Colleen says:

    Thank you! My children now love this movie (as they have been subjected to it since very young ages!). I HAVE to second the recommendation for Enchanted April… Also one of our ALL TIME favorites. Lovely scenery, beautiful clothes, sweet souls.

  16. Sonya says:

    One of my favorites! I watched this one again recently and marveled at the decor.

  17. Susan says:

    One of my very favorite movies for years. I saw it as a teenager. Enchanted April is also a favorite. It’s time to haul it out again.

  18. Rebecca says:

    LOVE this movie since childhood. I highly recommend you read the books, so satisfying!

  19. Mimi says:

    One of my all time favorite movies- stylistically the best and all those one liners. Who wouldn’t want to change your interior design as much as she did?
    Just remember…Books are awfully decorative…

  20. Tori says:

    The Art Direction in this film is absolute “Top Drawer!” I cannot describe how much I love this movie…

  21. Sonia says:

    Wonderful film, I love the retro styling products you have included too. Brings back so many memories of my grandmother. I love that era, and so pleased to see the styling and designs coming back.

  22. Sarah Reiss says:

    My ABSOLUTE favorite movie of all time. So many favorite lines! Such amazing Technicolor. Now that you mention it. This movie may have been the beginning of my obsession with living a “colorful” life. I watched it so many times in the 80s and 90s that I actually wore out the VHS tape. Now, when I need a good-old pick-me-up, I head for the DVD.
    Thanks for this super fun tribute!

  23. Jovana says:

    Thank you for this!!! One of my favorite movies to watch as a child :)

  24. Sunny says:

    I have been hoping and praying that you’d do an Auntie Mame article. This is my all-time favorite movie and is definitely my style and design inspiration.

  25. Ohhhh, I DO love this film! It’s got marvelous energy & style.

    And now I must echo ‘Another Amy’ & ‘Susan’s requests for another amazing film: The Enchanted April. Polly Walker’s character will make you swoon with her style, and the whole film has a magical, gentle unfurling energy to it. It truly makes one’s Heart swell with the beauty of Love & Spring. :o)


  26. Gigi says:

    THIS IS A FAVORITE OF MINE! Thank you for featuring Auntie Mame… definitely read the book if you get the chance, it is actually a true story!

  27. elisabeth says:

    My favorite movie! Thank you for featuring it in Living in

  28. peaches says:

    My favorite movie. Gorgeous post.

  29. Wonderful post. I loved the art direction is this film. Love!

  30. I watched the movie after reading this post and I must say thank you :) Very enjoyable!

  31. M. says:

    YES! i’ve been hoping this one would come up for awhile! life is a banquet. :)

  32. This is one of my favorite movies of all time – it’s impossible to assess how much influence Mame’s style has had on my own. Love this one.

  33. Sara says:

    I love love Auntie Mame. I like the Lucille Ball version better as she has always been my hero. Great decor choices as always. Send my regards to the cook. :)

  34. Suzy8track says:

    Oh wow! Wonderful post! So glad to see Auntie Mame up here!

  35. Madame Muse says:

    I LOVE Mame Dennis!!! This post makes my day – so fabulous!

  36. Caitlin Rose says:

    This is my favourite movie ever! it was the only movie at my grandpa’s house that I was allowed to watch so I saw it like 500 times. I’m so excited that you did this post!

  37. Pistachio says:

    This has to be my all time favorite move of all time. I always wanted to be her and I am pretty sure I am leading a life that Auntie Mame would approve of!


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