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
|Three Quintains (Hello Girls), 1964
Sculpture by Alexander Calder
Installation by Frank Gehry
Sheet metal, paint, motor
|Penetrable in Neon Lime by Jesus Raphael Soto|
Before the official festivities commenced, we had some time to explore the LA art scene…First stop, The Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA) that holds over 120,000 works covering the expanse of art history and the globe. The museum is situated on 20 acres in Hancock Park and is comprised of several buildings devoted to different aspects of the collection which are each unique in architectural style.
|Eli Broad Contemporary Art Museum
designed by Renzo Piano
|The Sheaf by Henri Matisse, 1953|
|The Sheaf at the home of Frances Lasker Brody|
It is always a thrill to see something first hand that you have admired or studied in the past. I was very pleasantly surprised to see so many favorite works of art at LACMA that I was not aware resided there. The Matisse mural above is one example. The Brodys had commissioned the artist to do the mural when he was 83 years old. This prospect cheered the ailing artist. He used his cut out techniques that he had mastered in paper and applied the same skills to the ceramic mural. He created a paper maquette before he began working with the ceramics. He heard no feedback from the Brodys and was so inspired that he created two other murals that now reside at the Musee Matisse in Nice and Moderna Museet in Stockholm. When he finally met with the Brodys to show them the maquette, they rejected it and asked the master of modern art to try again. The result was “The Sheaf”which was made by ceramic artist Partigas from Matisse’s designs. The mural measures 12′ by 11′ and is the largest work that LACMA holds by a classic modernist.
|The Five Sculptures of Jeanette by Matisse, 1910-13|
|The Disks by Fernand Leger|
|Oldenburg cueing up in front of Warhol|
|East 9th Street by Joan Mitchell, 1956
Oil on canvas
|Phoenix by Alexander Lieberman|
|Trace by Nancy Stevenson Graves, 1981
Steel and aluminum
|The Ivy’s Colorful Champagne Bar|
Next stop, The Ivy in West Hollywood for a ladies’ lunch with Holly Phillips and the dynamic duo of Cloth & Kind. We were so proud of Tami Ramsay and Krista Schwartz who had designed their first window for the Legends event, a huge honor for these two talented designers. Each year LCDQ selects a theme and invites designers from around the world to participate in designing one of the store windows in the design quarter. This year was “Novel Interiors” and each window was based on a different book.
The Cloth & Kind crew chose Goldfinger and their window was beyond chic with its modern take on blue and white with a gilded touch. A stunning Sally King Benedict painting provided a vibrant focal point for the window at the Sydney Harbour Paint showroom.
Our home away from home was the legendary Sunset Tower Hotel. Designed in 1922 by Leland Bryant, this Art Deco gem quickly became a hotspot because of its location on the Sunset Strip and proximity to the hottest nightclubs and restaurants of the 1930s and 40s. Its list of residents reads like of “Who’s Who” of Old Hollywood…Howard Hughes, John Wayne (who kept a cow on his patio for fresh milk), Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and gangster Bugsy Siegel. Today, it still remains a celebrity destination due to the discretion of its staff and a no camera policy in the dining rooms and bar.
|A Warm Welcome|
|Art Deco Details|
|Chateau Marmont View|
Finally, a lovely dinner at Bouchon with childhood friend Benton Weinstock of SetSipServe, a fabulous entertaining site and new friend Lizzie Wibbelman of Holland & Sherry sold through Harbinger, my new favorite LA showroom.