The vanity table has traditionally found its place in the dressing rooms of aristocracy, Hollywood stars and for the glamourous who desired a private place for their beauty routines. Known for the bizarre and intriguing décor images she curates for Instagram account @decorhardcore, Ksenia Shestakovskaia collaborated with @guccibeauty to find a line-up of vanity tables; some chintzy, others ineffable, all of them eclectic. In an interview, Ksenia explains how vanity table research made her realise that nothing is more revealing of a woman's character than her dressing table.
What was your inspiration for this project, where did you start? By nature, I’m like a hunting dog, that truly lives only when it hunts! The challenge of search itself thrills me and gives me a great deal of drive and I obsessed over this new theme, the vanity table. I started from very personal, trying to gather my thoughts around this magical area. I own a dressing table, and spend tons of time there, and quite often for no reason at all. I just love being there, I feel safe, relaxed, it’s ‘me time’.
What sort of treasures did you turn up working on this project? Which pieces delighted you the most and why? Every find was special, as I could not help trying to imagine the ‘woman behind’ each piece. How different they all are, yet they gather daily at this specific spot to perform similar rituals, to beautify themselves for the world to see. One of the most intriguing, very different and special finds was a vanity of the dressing room of a French actress from 70s. Despite its atypical and even a bit rough appeal, lacking the common beauty attributes such as perfumes, brushes or jewellery box, it remains feminine. A chaotic pile of portraits, empty bottles of champagne, notes and postcards, resembles a more theatrical mood board. Scanning this photo with my eyes I felt I nearly got to know her persona.
Are there any interesting stories or history to any of the pieces you selected and can you tell us about it? It was a world to discover… here are a few facts that thrilled me the most. 1. The history of the vanity begins not with a table but a box. 2. In the 1770s a vanity table was largely used by men as well. 3. A vanity table is probably the only type of furniture item that does not have a fixed place in the house, it shifts from bathroom to bedroom, at times even corridor, somewhere between living room and the kitchen. 4. The actual meaning of a word boudoir is in fact caprice, the sudden and unaccountable change of mood Why don’t millennials and Gen Z have a vanity table in their bedrooms today? A vanity table is rather state of mind than a piece of functional furniture, and I believe it will always remain present in this or other form, as long as self-love is around. Millennials have their phones as vanity screens to reflect, confess, answer their love letters and to self-pamper. In the future who knows, the dressing table might just shrink back to a box size like the original Egyptian version but with sleek modern finishing, or holographic pop up bubble with mirror and good light for touch ups, or simply for a moment to yourself.