A creative tsunami is the best way to describe the La Cinega Design Quarter’s LEGENDS event. Imagine having your entire design tribe in one spot…all of your favorite designers, vendors, artists and editors combined with the perfect mix of educational, inspirational and social events in sunny Los Angeles. Often referred to as the “Coachella” or “Fashion Week” of design, LEGENDS broke records this year with over 10,000 RSVPS coming from design aficionados representing 6 countries and 24 states in the US. The 3 day affair brings together VIPS and tastemakers from the worlds of interior design, decor, art, fashion, and architecture for receptions, keynote panels, cocktail parties exhibitions, book signings, personal appearances and special events. This year I was honored to be an ambassador covering the events for social media and mixing and mingling with all of the attendees.
Design fans are constantly seeking beauty and Los Angeles is the perfect backdrop to find inspiration with its stunning scenery, gorgeous showrooms and interiors, and insanely attractive Angelenos. I arrived a day early with my “blonde” (using that term loosely!) brigade/ travelling partners in crime: Tami Ramsay of Cloth & Kind, Julia Buckingham of Buckingham Interiors and Holly Phillips of The English Room who found us our amazing, yet dangerous house in the Hollywood Hills for our west coast adventure. While it may seem that it is “all play / no work,” it is quite the opposite. The ongoing conversation is a design think tank…linked to what inspires us, how to manage our respective practices, and how to troubleshoot different aspects of our businesses. I could not be more grateful to have this trusted group of confidantes. From Paris to High Point to LA, these girls provide constant entertainment and creative energy wherever we go.
Of course, we like to hit all of the LA hot spots to absorb everything LA has to offer. The Ivy is always the first stop with its bold colorful setting, amazing food, and hopes of always seeing a celebrity. Sighting #1: Lisa Vanderpump / Fedora Sightings : 2
Our spectacular view from our house nestled up in the Hollywood Hills.
Last year for LEGENDS we stayed in the iconic Sunset Tower Hotel.What amazed me about the setting was how the hotel transformed from day to night. The terrace and views are spectacular during the day, but the atmosphere at night above the twinkling lights of Los Angeles and the dramatic lighting is something to behold.
“Designed in 1929 by architect Leland A. Bryant, the Sunset Tower was a trendsetter from the moment it opened. Its dramatic setting on the Sunset Strip and elegant Art Deco styling, together with its proximity to famous restaurants and nightclubs of the 1930s & ’40s, contributed to its landmark status. West Hollywood has always catered to celebrities wishing to draw attention to their star power. The Sunset Tower embodied these aspirations, counting among its former residents Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Billie Burke, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and even gangster Bugsy Siegel. The Sunset Tower is a Hollywood landmark. Up to the 1950s it was as much a tourist attraction as the Hollywood sign itself. It has appeared in a number of films, including The Italian Job, Get Shorty, The Player and Strange Days. Its first literary mention was in Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely (1940). The film version of that novel, Murder, My Sweet, released four years later, was its first screen reference.” – Sunset Tower Historian
Star Sightings: Supermodel Janice Dickinson and General Hospital’s Jack Wagner and of course Hollywood’s most famous Maître D’ Dimitri Dimitrov. Fedora Sightings: 0 (thank goodness)
Presiding over the Tower Bar six, sometimes seven nights a week, Dimitri makes everyone who walks into the bar feel like they are important. With his signature move of palms in front of his chest and a slight bow, he graciously took care of us during cocktails and dinner and even gave us a fabulous table next to his favorite spot, the curved banquette in the corner with the best view of the Hollywood Hills. Hotel owner Jeff Klein hired Dimitri 11 years ago after Tom Ford slipped him Dimitri’s name on a coaster during dinner. A special treat during LEGENDS was to hear an interview with Jeff Klein by Becky Birdwell for the Design Leadership Network hearing the history and legacy of the hotel.
To offset the late nights and nonstop cocktailing, Runyon Canyon is a necessity on our visits.
Star Sightings: 1…We think this little guy may have made a cameo in Caddyshack. Fedoras: 0
Of course we hat to hit the Chateau Marmont which has been described as “touched with scandal, commemorated in literature.” This was my virgin voyage to the Chateau and it did not disappoint. I cannot wait to see it under nightfall on my next trip.
“Hotels are the stuff of stories, of mini dramas, a world unto themselves – we leave our lives behind and become who we want to be. Arriving at Chateau Marmont you surrender yourself to a grandi-loquent environment, an infamous hideaway and the perfect getaway in the center of one of the world’s most exciting cities.Modeled after an infamous royal residence in France’s Loire Valley, Chateau Marmont is a fantastical folly in the land of make believe. While in residence you become part of a highly discriminating, international clientele desiring an experience at once luxurious and unique.
Chateau is the perfect co-conspirator; as Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures said in 1939, “If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” You can be yourself or, better yet, be whomever you want to be; don’t be surprised if your visit brings out your inner Howard Hughes, your Greta Garbo, your Jim Morrison. As public or private as you wish – there are those in residence who are desperate to be seen and others who choose to remain anonymous.The eccentric and highly personal history of the place, its luscious rich past, its tarnished patina are all part of the charm. This great castle on the hill is the set of a film waiting for someone to call action – this is the place where things happen. Checking in is like turning up in the middle of an ongoing party at a European country estate – there is always someone you know staying here. Mindful of its history – but always in the moment – it is contemporary as tomorrow morning – there is great comfort here. Sit in a wicker chair on the veranda writing post-cards imagining you are in an exotic outpost-far far away.
And when the dusk of evening settles, put on some smoky jazz and get lost – sink into the aphrodisiac of the deep couches, take your paramour on an elevator ride – at night everyone comes to Chateau Marmont – this is the pageant and parade that evening brings, they come for the martini, for the sex appeal, to make the deal–naughty or nice, everyone is your darling. And after hours – there is the Bar Marmont – an outpost for the foreign correspondent you’ve become – all hotel guests are insiders – there is no velvet rope here. You are on liberty, sabbatical, furlough from your familiar life, you feel the heat, the sweat, the late night lust that is LA. This is the place you can most be yourself and it is the only grand hotel you can call home.”- A.M Homes
Star Sightings: 0 Fedora Sightings: 5
Next stop…a visit to Julia’s fabulous Slim Aarons-inspired window for The Rug Company. Aaron’s iconic “Poolside Gossip” at the Kaufmann House was reinterpreted 45 years after with the original models Helen Dzo Dzo and Nelda Linsk as “Poolside Reunion” by Palm Springs based photographer Fred Moser. Wife Kelly Lee of esteemed Kelly Golightly makes a cameo in the shot
Amanda Reynal. Marisa Marcontonio and Joe Lucas
Chad Graci, Fab photographer Sarah D’Orio, Danielle Rollins, and Bill Ingram
Julia Carr Baylor and John Bossard
Lindsay Fleege and Ellen Toler of Urban Electric
Young Huh, Shaun Smith. Mercedes Desio, Alberto Villalobos
Where is Julia? With Holly Phillips and Tami Ramsay
Final stop….Soho House with gal pal Lizzie Wibbelsman of Holland & Sherry. A perfect end to a perfect day with all of my favorite people!
Star/ Fedora Sightings: Boy George wearing a Fedora!
15 minutes of fame…attaching our mug shot to the photo wall!
*Gala Photographs from JL Photography
Creative fireworks occur when two brilliant talents come together with complementary skill sets. George Sellers and Bradley Clifford partnered in 2014 to create Areté Collection, a line of furnishings, lighting and accessories inspired by nature and interpreted in a unique modern fashion. I visited their Dallas studio last month to get a behind the scenes glimpse of the masters at work.
Areté is a Greek word meaning virtue or moral excellence, but it is also something more than cannot be captured in words. It transcends the mundane and possesses a sense of the Divine. Each piece in the Areté Collection embodies this ideal. The intricate detail and whimsy of each motif is interpreted in either plaster or bronze and elevated to the sublime.
George Sellers is the quintessential Renaissance man…sculptor, artist, illustrator, and pianist. He is a classically trained sculptor who studied at Studio Arts Centers International in Florence after college. His work is influenced by 15th century Italian architecture and the work of Italian sculptor Donatello, who mastered capturing emotion in a sculpted form. In a recent Paper City article, Sellers elaborates on his work, “My eye is drawn to Renaissance decoration and Rococo, and I do love clean and modern, too. I exist between those; it’s all in the middle. I also love silly carving, like acanthus leaves, and am always drawn to figurative embellishment, the crazier the better.” He is celebrated for “infusing high profile spaces (Van Cleef & Arpels, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York) with imagination, wit and a touch of the fantastical.”
With more than 20 years of experience as a retailer, designer, shop owner, tastemaker, and marketing guru, Bradley Clifford is a perfect complement to George’s artistic talent. They met via Instagram when Bradley had taken an image of an architectural fragment he wanted to be reinterpreted into a lamp base. When he threw the request out into cyberspace, George answered and the two creative minds began to discuss their career paths. A few months later, the Areté Collection was born, already receiving much fanfare from Architectural Digest, Paper City, and Luxe Magazine (just to name a few.)
The compass rose is a key motif in the collection. All items are carved in clay, cast in sustainable resin before being cast in plaster or bronze. Plaster works are then finished in either gilt, silver, black or left in their original white.
Mystical creatures such as elephants, beetles, tortoises, and serpents are reimagined as bookends, mirror motifs, lamps bases and wall sculptures.
This sculptural console adorned Beth Webb’s striking dining room for Atlanta Home & Lifestyle’s Holiday House in December. The gilded interior with white exterior was the perfect marriage of form and function.
Faux bois is the artistic imitation of wood or wood grain used in anything from furnishing to fabric and wall coverings. Originally created during the Renaissance with trompe l’oeil, it was first executed with concrete and metal and used for garden ornament. Areté Collection’s interpretation of faux bois is clean, sleek and contemporary made in plaster. Lamps, side tables and consoles are first constructed in hand forged iron and then wrapped in plaster to achieve the faux bois look.
In Paper City, nephew and chief fabricator Ely Sellers explains his uncle’s creativity, “His ideas fly out of his head so fast, you have to be ready to catch them. I never went to college and was working at a restaurant. He said, ‘Hey, you can live with me and work with me.’ I jumped on it. It’s a slow climb, and I’m still growing. But I’ve always believed in him.” The two collaborate on all projects, including an upcoming furniture collection for Neiman Marcus; a zoo-full of plaster animals, available at Grange Hall in Dallas; and a 4-foot-tall spider for Bergdorf’s Christmas window, the fourth that they’ve done. “It will be covered in one-eighth-inch-long quartz crystals,” says Ely, “so it looks hairy.”