‘See & Be Seen’ January 2013

Hearst's 'Designer Visions' Showhouse Grand Opening

250_west_street_entrance250 West Street  Tribeca  New York City

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Last October 30th the 2012 Hearst ‘Designer Visions’ Showhouse event was scheduled to open.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy had other plans for Manhattan, and it’s West side waterfront.  I’d been invited to the press preview a week earlier, and wrote a post about the sensational apartments David Rockwell, Matthew Patrick Smyth, and Antony Todd had decorated for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and Veranda respectively.  You can review that post here.

The rescheduled opening Gala happened on Tuesday night.  Instead of sharing more visuals and vignettes of the stunning spaces, I’ve decided to share candid pics… the ‘who’s who’ of design luminaries that our Design Editor Carl Lana and I had the pleasure of spending the evening with.

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You Oughta Be In Pictures

the commissioned portrait, the ultimate luxury

Sargent-Lady-Agnew-of-Lochnaw-1893 ‘Lady Agnew of Locknaw’ by John Singer Sargent

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I was invited to the press events at the D&D Building’s Fall Market last year, to see the new products each showroom had to offer, and to hear lectures from members of our community.  Michael Boodro, the Editor of Elle Decor, gave a presentation about what the interior designers, polled by his magazine, considered to be the best and most sought after luxury products and services this year.

A month later, I was invited to the press preview of Holiday House, Iris Danker’s annual Breast Cancer Research fundraiser.  Just inside the vestibule of the house was a grand scale portrait of Evelyn Lauder, that together with Mr. Boodro’s discussion, sparked the idea for this post.  What, for this Blog Editor, is the ULTIMATE luxury an interior designer can help his or her client acquire?  A commissioned portrait.

Several weeks ago I was introduced to world-renowned portrait painter Sacha Newley (son of actors Joan Collins and Anthony Newley) by our Design Editor Carl Lana.   Last week Mr. Newley graciously agreed to meet me for lunch, to talk about the process of capturing a person on canvas.  What follows is an excerpt of our spirited conversation, as well as a GREAT list of resources for locating artists.

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Milan versus Paris

the fall/winter 2013 European menswear collections review

Gucci AngoraGucci

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 “Style is the answer to everything.  A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing.  To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it.  To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art.”


– Charles Bukowski

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For the fall/winter 2013 collections, the Milanese and Parisian men’s fashion houses did not disappoint.   Both countries showed bold, strong collections.   I am loving the newer silhouettes; a softer, easier way of dressing with distinct tailoring and seam-work detailing that was second to none.   From Gucci’s stunning coats and jackets, to Bottega Veneta’s mustard car coat, to the slimmer styles from Saint Laurent, it was all pleasant surprises.

I start my journey with a trip to Milan, where I chose to review 4 collections, three hits, and one ill-fated miss.

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Purchasing An Antique Persian Tabriz

a conversation with Nader Bolour of Doris Leslie Blau

Inventory1…………………………

“Searching for an antique rug is where the design process begins for most.   They are the soul of a room, all the other elements of a well-appointed space are there to celebrate it.”

-Nader Bolour

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Doris Leslie Blau married into the antique rug business and opened her eponymous gallery in 1965.  While many in the industry chose rugs based on provenance, she selected the rugs for her collection based on their rarity, uniqueness and beauty – and her firm’s clientele knew it.  In 1998, she went into semi-retirement, selling the gallery to Nader Bolour, but only after spending years teaching him the fine art of vetting acquisitions equal to her standards.   Our Design Editor Carl Lana and I stopped in to learn about some of the characteristics attributed to a fine Persian Tabriz.

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LEPERE’s Latest Austere Offering

Piet Boon's 'Concrete Wallpaper' Collection

Piet Hein Eek, Piet Boon, Merci, Rick Vintage, NLXL, Scrapwood WPiet Boon ‘Concrete Wallpaper’ #3

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Throughout the history of the decorative arts, the technique of creating faux finishes has always held a level of popularity and preference.  In fact, regardless of the cost of the real material, the painterly approach to depicting boissiere, stone blocks or applied textural building materials has been just as popular as the actual bulky or laborious methods.  It has simply been considered highly decorative and more sophisticated in certain circles over the years.

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McMillen Inc. 2013

Master Class with Ann Pyne, the firm's current President

House BeautifulHouse Beautiful February 2013    Decoration by Ann Pyne of McMillen, for her mother, Betty Sherill

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McMillen, Inc. was founded in 1924 by Mrs. Drury McMillen, a young married woman from St. Louis who’d moved to New York City.   She operated out of her townhouse at 148 East 55th Street, selling 18th century furniture sent to her from Europe by William Odom, who was then the head of the Paris Atelier of the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts.

In 1972, Betty Sherrill assumed the President’s chair for the firm from Mrs. McMillen, and held that position until 2000.   In that year, Luis A. Rey (who had joined the firm in 1972) took the helm.  Ann Pyne (Mrs. Sherrill’s daughter) succeeded Mr. Rey in assuming the role.

Last week I had the incredible opportunity to chat with Ms. Pyne.  We discussed the home she recently decorated for her mother (featured in this months House Beautiful), interior decoration in the age of the internet, and her fondness for Clarence House fabrics.  She also shared a few of her favorite resources. (That’s a cue to open Evernote!)

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A Celebrity and Her Wardrobe Master

My chat with Christie Brinkley and Wayne Scot Lukas

Christie Brinkley BeautyPhoto Courtesy William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC

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“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman”

-Coco Chanel

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Christie Brinkley is a supermodel, spokeswoman, actress, Broadway star and entrepreneur.  Her skincare line, Christie Brinkley Skincare has proven to be wildly popular.  As one of the most recognizable faces in the world, we have all grown to love her beauty, and her iconic style.  I can personally say that I’m a very big fan.

Her working relationship and friendship with famed stylist Wayne Scot Lukas is one for the record books.  In this day and age of the ‘celebrity stylist’ we see them come and go.  Stars seem to work with their stylists for no more than a few years, and then it’s on to the next.  But Brinkley and Lukas have been working together for over 20 yrs.

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A Boy And His Dog

Zak Profera and 'Shinji' of Zak+Fox

Zak-and-Shinji Final…………………………

You know the phenomenon – someone’s name comes up in conversation so often that you finally decide you need to learn more about them.  Zak Profera was that guy on my radar as 2012 came to a close.  Friends were talking about how incredible stylish his printed linens were.  I’d also been told that his beloved Shiba Inu ‘Shinji’ represents the ‘Fox’ in his company’s name.

So last week I asked him to meet me at Studio Four, where he is represented in New York, to show me his collection.  We had a lengthy conversation about his career trajectory, and the fascinating intellectual design process behind each of his prints.

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