Inside Erin Swift's 'French Accents: At Home with Parisian Objects and Details'
For prop stylist Erin Swift, the French notion of "je ne sais quoi" extends to interiors. "I think the French people go with their guts when designing a space and I, too, adhere to the sentiment of 'If it feels right, do it,' " the B&A newcomer explained, "so when Clarkson Potter and the Crown Publishing Group approached me about doing a book on French decor, I was instantly in."
From August to October 2011, Swift and her team photographed still lifes and vignettes in-studio and shot on-location in France, New York, and Massachusetts. "I pick the homes that have good bones," she said. "Styling an interior is more like tweaking a person's style – you become a sort of voyeur and experience new environments … each time, I gain a better understanding of the different aesthetics out there – but you never realize how much it takes." She noted that the eye of a prop stylist or set designer isn't that of an interior designer's: "It's not going to look the same in camera."
The photography for "French Accents: At Home with Parisian Objects and Details" was key. "I first wanted to inspire readers with the images, then back up and relay it can all be achieved," Swift remarked. "The book is extremely service-driven. I included tips and commentary for applying the concepts in real life … the chapters break down color, art and furnishings, objects and accents, structure, and texture."
"So much work and love went into this book," she added, "and so much writing and fact-checking." It can be purchased here.
At an early age, the New York-based Swift was passionate about creation and getting messy. Her process begins with collecting plenty of options; her tagline is, "I'd rather be looking at it, than looking for it." Her clients include Vogue, Vogue Paris, V Magazine, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Lilly Pulitzer, Costume National, Lincoln Motor Company, ASOS.com, Calico, Gilt, AVON, Kohl's, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret.