According to Pillow Talk, the most intimate and outward expressions of the self are usually illustrated in two ways: personal style of clothing and the interior design of one’s home. One dresses to achieve a desired persona in the same way the decor of a home reflects the character of the owner. For the sake of the length of this assignment, I will focus on interior design.
One of the clearest examples of outward expression of the self is Brad’s apartment. His bachelor pad is decked out with revolutionary and attractive technology that supports his playa endeavors. Before getting to know Jan, Brad was uninterested in commitment—and his apartment is a clear reflection of that. The customization of space reveals one’s personality, and thus indicative of one’s insecurities. Therefore, even if Brad seems like a perfectly content and confident man, the constant and heavy emphasis on his bachelor characteristics begs the investigation of his flaws. This analysis also holds true for Jan’s apartment.
The color scheme of Jan’s apartment contrasts ironically with her personality. While Jan’s apartment is bubbly and bright, she is portrayed as a sexually frustrated, independent woman. Her apartment is incredibly spacious, every window in her apartment faces an impossibly beautiful view of NYC, and nearly all of her linens are monogramed—it is safe to assume Jan is well off. The sharp juxtapositions between her personality and interior design emphasize not only contemporaneous stereotypes, but also her distinctive identity.
The desk in Jan’s study faces the biggest addition to the ornamentation of her apartment: an outstanding view of NYC—a city that is as congested and conflicted as she is. New York City has always struggled to fulfill a standard of excellence and prestige. The realities of the city’s existence contradict common generalizations just like Jan’s apartment’s décor and her daily life. I’m referring to not only the obvious contrast between Jan’s personality and interior design, but also the contrasts between what is expected of her as a woman and how she chooses to live her life.
Societal impositions on Jan are evident in Alma’s commentary on Rex and Brad’s insults. Alma tells Jan she needs to commit to a man in order to be happy, and Brad alludes to her sexual frustration early in the movie. It’s interesting how these contradictions and struggles are reflected in the interior design of her apartment: crowded rooms constantly compete with bright colors.
Jan’s bar is also noteworthy. Unlike Brad’s conveniently placed bars—which are always close enough to entertain guests without losing their interest—Jan’s bar isn’t so accessible. I actually don’t think she has one, and it’s not like she doesn’t drink. This absences highlights the fact that Brad “ends every sentence with a proposition,” while she is expected to play hard to get and stay reserved.