You Go Grant!

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Earlier this year, interior designer and blogger Grant K. Gibson was beyond excited to have his apartment shot for the April issue Domino magazine. Then, he was beyond devastated to learn that it would never be published when the magazine closed. So I am happy to announce that you can finally see his wonderful home in the New York Times! The best part that much of it was done on a budget not that you could ever tell! I especially love the bedroom which reminds me of a masculine version of Lanvin's blue bedroom. You go Grant! I'm so happy for you!
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Lanvin: Part Deux

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No trip to Paris would be complete without a trip to Lanvin. We are lucky in New York that Barneys and Kirna Zabete carry some pieces of clothing and jewelry but that's nothing like having entire store full of nothing but Lanvin! It was heaven!

Lanvin is known for their creative window displays and we were treated to the new autumn displays that feature mischievous black cats. They happen to correspond to the new print ads and also harken back to the old advertisements for My Sin perfume that also featured a black cat.

This window with the cat sticking out of the handbag was my favorite!

The September 2009 issue of British Vogue just ran an interview with the designer of Lanvin Elber Albaz. In it he states that "the people I chose to run the store are nice. I cannot work with bitches." I can attest that the salespeople couldn't have been nicer or more welcoming and not just to the celebrities. Photographer Gilles Bensimon and girlfriend Diana Picasso (daughter of Picasso!) in the store when were shopping.

I wish I could have taken photos of the interior but I didn't want to push my luck so you have to settle for just the store windows!

Everyone keeps asking me what I bought in Paris so here you go. Before I even left, I knew that I wanted to treat myself to something special and definitely something that I couldn't get in New York. I saw a pretty bracelet in Roger Vivier but the exchange rate made it much too expensive. Lucky for me, we stopped at Lanvin right after where I did find myself a little something.

This Lanvin Happy Sac couldn't be better named because it makes me happy every time I see it and it was definitely something I would have bought myself in a heartbeat but it too was much too expensive to even consider. Although, I did see it in Barneys and might have to make it mine at some point. It's so me!

Instead, I settled on a set of bracelets. They are in a taupe/blush color that perfectly compliment my Phillip Lim necklace. I wore them out to a few fashion parties when I returned and they were a big hit. Even Stefan fell in love with the men's store across the street as did my friend's husband when they were in Paris this summer so it's not just for the ladies! I wish Lanvin would open a store in New York but until they do, it just gives me one more reason to plan another trip to Paris!
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Jeanne Lanvin's Apartment in Paris

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One of my favorite things from Paris was viewing the reconstructed apartment of fashion designer Jeanne Lanvin at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. It consists of her boudoir, chambre de coucher and salle de bain that were designed for her by Armand Albert Rateau for her apartment at 16, rue Barbet-de-Jouy in Paris in . It's a little hard to see because it's protected by glass walls but it's beauty and wonderful details are worth making the trip. The blue of the bedroom is known as Lanvin Blue and is said to have been inspired by the blue sky in a Fra Angelico fresco seen by Jeanne Lanvin. Just another example of how art, fashion and interior design all converge to great effect!

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Fernando Bengoechea's Photography Lives On

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Last week, I was surprised to receive a message from Marcelo Bengoechea, the brother of the late photographer Fernado Bengoechea who was swept away by the tsunami of 2004. He is reviving his brother's art of weaving his photographs and is now offering them for sale for the first time since Fernando's death. I remember tearing out a page from a magazine many years ago that highlighted this unusual art form and thinking it was the most amazing and beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was a pleasure to hear more about the process from Marcelo and know that Fernando's photography will live on.

HC: Can you tell me how you decided to start this project?

MB: The revival is something totally new. I just could not let Fernando’s art share his tragic fate. He’s dead. I have no choice than to accept that. What I refuse is to accept the death of his beautiful work so I took it as a personal mission to revive it. As a designer myself, laid off a couple of months ago after 10 years as the Creative Director for the surf brand Reef, I realized that it is the perfect time to do something like this. I had been thinking about it for a couple of years and after a good conversation with Nate Berkus I just had to do it. The reception has been so positive that it keeps me motivated to continue the project. It is still too early to say if it is going to succeed or not (financially speaking) , but to tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter, it is a success to family and friends already.

HC: Do you feel that there is a sense of therapy to the work that you are doing?

MB: For sure there is some kind of therapy in the weaving process, but mostly I feel honored, loved and a sense of continuing our friendship and good times after his death. We had the kind of relationship where just by looking at each other we knew what we were thinking and most of the time those instances were during mischief or adventures. I know a lot of the stories behind the images and that brings me closer to them and to him. His death was my first close up experience with loosing somebody important in life and I do not think I’ll ever get over it. Weaving definitely helps.

HC: Do you do all the weaving yourself?

MB: At this point I am doing limited editions, hand weaving each one of them. I watched my brother weave those images and thought he was somehow insane, now I feel his energy pass through my hands as I weave and think this is crazy. Crazy in a good way, a proud way. just started offering them last week and it is the only place to find them for now other than through myself. One of this days I will have a new website and make them available there as well. I am following Fernando’s original concepts, including the framing style of his latest works (the Karma Trees series that was shown at Ralph Pucci Gallery), framing them in rich Peruvian Walnut and “floating” them the same way he did. I am even using a knitting needle as a weaving tool that once belonged to our grandma and he used to weave the smaller pieces. I am also adding my touch (please see Cabeza de Vaca I and II concept) to evolve and add some design as well.

"It is a collaboration between brothers. It just happens that one of them is dead. We were able to work together in several shoots for Reef that he shot and I directed and it is great to continue our team work this way. Since the beginning of our professional careers that was a goal of ours and I am proud to say that it is still going on." - Marcelo Bengoechea

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The Evolution of Design Panel

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There are so many exciting design events coming up at the D&D Building next week for Fall Market including one that involves me! I was very honored to be asked by The Editor at Large to take part in the October 7th 9:00am Keynote panel discussion, Evolution of Design, along with Michael Bruno of 1stdibs, and interior designers and bloggers, Jonathan Adler, James Andrew and Brad Ford. I hope all my friends and readers will come out for what I know will be a fun and lively morning! Definitely check out the schedule for other wonderful showroom events and book signings too! All events are open to the public not just the trade!
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Inspiring London Interior

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Since I returned from Paris, I've been busy and so I just realized that I haven't posted any interiors. I been focusing on a lot of other things that I have going on right now but decided to go back through my files where I found one of my all time favorite inspiring interiors. I was going to say that the London flat was designed by interior designer Alex Papachristidis but after I looked again at the article from the November 2006 issue of Elle Decor where it appeared, I was reminded that it was really a collaborative effort between Papachristidis and the owner, Fruzsina Keehn, a fabulous jewelry designer. The result is that great mix of styles, periods and pieces that is right up my alley. I especially love the modern 1960's Italian round table surrounded by 18th-century Swedish side chairs that sits under a 19th-century Venetian chandelier in the entry. It's full of interesting details that make it look more collected not favorite type of design. Enjoy!

Photos by Simon Upton
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Coco Avant Chanel

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Just a reminder that the film Coco Avant Chanel opens today in New York and Los Angeles. I can't think of a better place to see it than the Paris Theatre too! Bon Weekend!
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J.Crew's Artistic Genius

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I am loving the new J.Crew catalog that features seven New York artists photographed wearing J.Crew clothing in their studios! The online version, Open Studio, has interviews with all the artists and more shots artwork and studios. My favorite question of course is "How do you think art and fashion influence one another?" Their answers are all perfect. I have two questions of my own though, 1. Why didn't they shoot any women artists? and 2. Is artist Chris Dorland (above) single?

Artist Ryan McGinness

Studio of Ryan McGinness

Artist Glenn Ligon

Studio of Glenn Ligon

Artist Billy Sullivan

Studio of Billy Sullivan

Artist Lucien Smith

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Elle Decor's Party of the Year

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Last year, I announced that the Williams-Sonoma Home store opening fete was the party of the year and now I can unequivocally say that Margaret Russell's book signing for Style and Substance: The Best of Elle Decor at Bergdorf Goodman last night was the party of 2009! Many of the designers who were featured in the magazine and are seen in the new book were on hand to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Elle Decor.

The response was so overwhelming that they actually had to move the party down to the third floor to accommodate the crowd! The fashion contingent included the ridiculously handsome design duo Badgley Mischka, Cynthia Rowley and her husband Bill Powers, Zang Toi, Reed Krakoff and his interior designer wife Delphine, and the only American couture designer Ralph Rucci.

The President is in town this week and so is his interior designer. Michael Smith was at Bergdorfs to celebrate Elle Decor, as were designers Alexa Hampton and her mother Duane, Steven Gambrel, Antony Todd, Thomas O'Brien, Juan Montoya, Matthew White and Frank Webb, Maureen Footer, the super sweet Celerie Kembel, and Ron Marvin who I hear has redecorated his famous apartment which we will see soon! The stunningly beautiful India Hicks was also there with her husband David Flint Wood. I also got to chat with the talented architects Gil Shaffer and Peter Pennoyer while they were standing in line to have their books signed! No sign of Peter's wife, interior designer Katie Ridder though!

Many of my favorite design friends were also in attendance including Laurie Reynolds, Jessica Gold, Kevin Isbell, Allison Caccoma, Harry Heissmann, David Lawrence, Carolyn Sollis, Pierre Frey, Kim Huebner, Lori Reich, Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar, Chandler Hudson Kenny and her architect husband Anderson Kenny, Lizzie Bailey, and Anne Patterson who works with Amanda Nisbet. Amanda is in London and unfortunately had to miss the party!

We all joked that if something happened to Bergdorf Goodman last night that the entire design world of New York would have been wiped out! It was a great event and it was wonderful to see so many designers come out to support Elle Decor! And most importantly, I can say that the new book is worth checking out! I've already read it cover to cover and I can't wait to see what they do in the next 20 years! Thanks Elle Decor!
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Kelly Wearstler at Home

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Christian May of Maison21 was the first person last week to guess that it is Ms. Wearstler's home that is featured in the new October 2009 issue of Vogue so he gets a gold star. Today I just noticed that has posted a few photos from Francois Halard that never made it into the magazine. Some rooms are a little more brown than I was expecting but I wonder how much of that was original to the home which was designed by architect James Dolena in the 1930's. The house was previously owned by many Hollywood actors as well as Cubby Brocolli, the James Bond producer.

I was just talking to a friend about Kelly Wearstler last night. We both agreed that she seems to take more risks in her own homes than she does for her clients and that not everyone seems to get it. As I always say, there is no right or wrong in decorating and I applaud her for thinking outside the box. If we all had the same style, the world would be a very boring place!

Photos by Francois Halard for Vogue
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100cameras Lower East Side

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100cameras is continuing their quest to give a voice, or in this case a camera, to the voiceless and this time they have chosen children in their own backyard. Students from the Lower East Side community group New Life documented their life in New York for three months this past spring. On Thursday, their photos will be on display and for sale with all the proceeds going back to New Life. I had the opportunity to meet a few of them at the 100cameras Africa event and it was clear that they are clearly benefiting from having participating in this project. I especially love Andrew's cityscapes and think he might have a future in photography! I hope you will continue to help support this wonderful organization.

Thursday, September 24, 2009
6:00 - 8:30pm
Whole Food Market
East Houston and Bowery
2nd Floor Gallery
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A Chat with Peter Som

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A few weeks ago, I saw fashion designer Peter Som entering the D&D Building as I was leaving. Of course my curiosity was piqued. What was he doing there? Was he looking for inspiration for his upcoming fashion show? Was he redecorating his apartment? Luckily, my upholsterer, Matthew Haly, also happens to be Peter's upholsterer as well so he facilitated a little chat before I left for Paris.

Peter Som epitomizes my theory that fashion, art and design are all intertwined. Both of his parents were architects and he earned degrees in art history and art before attending Parsons to study fashion. He agreed that "all design is seamless" and that he has a lot of friends who are architects and interior designers. He actually lives in the same apartment that was featured in the September 2005 issue of Elle Decor but has since spruced up the place and continues to tweak it which was why he was at the D&D Building. Peter said he enjoys the process and has been taking his time so his home "looks more collected" than decorated. He can tell you where every piece cam from and they all make him happy. I hope we get to see the fruits of his apartment labor soon!

We did just get to see the fruits of his fashion labor last week at the presentation for his Spring 2010 collection where he was inspired by the beach and the leisure activities of chic men and women, especially those immortalized by the 1930's French photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue. After researching more about Lartique, I too am now smitten with his photos as well as Peter's resulting designs! I was very excited about the beginning of autumn but now I can't wait for spring! Happy Shopping!

Photos of Peter Som Spring 2010 from
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