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John Leighton Chase was a fantastic character and dear friend to many. He also worked below the radar to make a profound impact on West Hollywood, where he was urban designer. John died suddenly last week at the age of 57. Frances Anderton remembers him with Ann McIntosh of the City of West Hollywood; Richard Loring, developer; Alan Hess, architecture historian; Margaret Crawford, professor of architecture. Also, we get under the surface of Mad Men's costumes with Emmy-nominated costume designer Janie Bryant.

Banner image: The late John Leighton Chase

Guest Interview In Memoriam: John Chase 12 MIN, 58 SEC

Last Friday, the local design community was shocked to hear of the passing of John Chase. As West Hollywood's urban designer for 14 years, Chase made a profound impact on the city and its residents. Ann McIntosh, director of community development for the City of West Hollywood points out some places in the city where you can find his mark (we've compiled a list with addresses and a map). One of them is Formosa 1140, an apartment building designed by Lorcan O'Herlihy, which carved out part of its property into a public pocket park. Richard Loring, the developer responsible for the project, speaks about Chase's influence in making the park a reality. In addition to his work in West Hollywood, Chase was also an accomplished critic and writer on the urban experience. Margaret Crawford, co-authored Everyday Urbanism with Chase and John Kaliski, and architectural historian Alan Hess explain his legacy. The Chase family will hold a public memorial on Tuesday, August 24 from 4pm to 7pm at Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood.


Chase's impact was widespread and the internet is awash in tributes. Curbed LA posted a note which has garnered many lovely comments and remembrances, as well as a eulogy by former Curbed editors Marissa Gluck and Josh Williams. Friend and ollaborator John Kaliski writes about Chase as "A Substantive Design Man." Writers who Chase mentored remembered his enthusiastic guidance:  Mimi Zeiger focused on all that glitters; Alissa Walker crowned him king of public space. The LA Forum posted a tribute which includes a link to Reyner Banham's review of Chase's Exterior Decoration: Hollywood’s Inside Out Houses. Tibby Rothman says LA will not be the same. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports on John's impact on the city where he lived and attended school. Christopher Hawthorne writes the obituary for the Los Angeles Times. There are additional stories at LA Observed and the LA Weekly. Chase's Facebook page has also become a memorial filled with tributes. We invite you to add your memories and stories of John Chase in the comments below.


Sierra Bonita Apartments for people with low-incomes and special needs, designed by Patrick Tighe


1200 N. Sweetzer Condos designed by Aleks Istanbullu for Urban Moment, Inc.

Ann McIntosh, Director of Community Development, City of West Hollywood
Richard Loring, COO, Tsuchiya Construction Company
Margaret Crawford, Professor of Architecture, UC Berkeley
Alan Hess, architect and historian (@shotlivephoto)

L.A. 2000+

John Leighton Chase

Guest Interview 'Mad Men,' Talented Woman 7 MIN, 36 SEC

From the corset-hugging cocktail dresses to those smoke-swirled suits, Emmy-winning costume designer Janie Bryant is responsible for the fashion on the hit AMC show Mad Men. Now she's designing a series of retro-style "statement" garments for QVC and has a new role as a spokesperson for women's underwear company Maidenform. Janie talks about the origins of the voluminous Mad Men wardrobe—some pieces are vintage, some are recreations and some hand-me-downs from her grandmother--and how she chooses a particular outfit for each character. Her book The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men will be published this fall.


The women of Mad Men, outfitted by costume designer Janie Bryant

Janie Bryant, Costume Designer, Mad Men

The Fashion File

Janie Bryant


Frances Anderton

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