Dreaming of Spring!

Pink peonies from my spring garden.

Virginia was beautiful today, blanketed in frosty snow and made more lively by the excited laughter of children sledding and playing in the snow. As beautiful as the scene was I could not help yearning for the color explosion of spring. The sweet smell of jasmine, the impossible beauty of peonies, the fragility of my Beverly Sills Iris, and the architectural splendor of acanthus plants unfurling their majestic leaves that inspired the Corinthian order of architecture. I'm sure many of you have had similar daydreams so here are a few visual reminders of the glory of spring!

Lady Banks Roses on my garden wall

Lady Banks Roses are the glory of my garden for a few weeks each spring. Hundreds of lemon yellow puffs entreat one to touch.

Bleeding hearts

Bleeding Hearts always seem too perfect, too beautiful to be real, but each year they remind us of love and the fresh glory of pink!

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Peonies are my favorite large flower. For me no flower has a more intoxicating fragrance nor a more spectacular bloom. That said, I've never met a flower I hated. Flowers are an elegant reminder of the renewal of life, to experience them is to know joy. I wish you all a beautiful Spring!!

Primrose, my favorite small flower.

High Point is "Totally Tufted"

Nail heads are being used with artistry and flair not only in seating, but with lighting and plump, sumptuous case goods. The endless pattern possibilities and fabrications provide an unlimited palette for designers. 

Barbuda Barstool in Gray from Sunpan. 

Barbuda Barstool in Gray from Sunpan. 

Colonial Williamsburg Collection for Robert Abbey 

Colonial Williamsburg Collection for Robert Abbey 

Gorgeous over-scaled peacock Sofa from Luna Bella. Perfect for a loft or a chic bar. 

Gorgeous over-scaled peacock Sofa from Luna Bella. Perfect for a loft or a chic bar. 

Gary Inman Home Couture, "Grantham Chest" inspired by English gardens and named after Lord Grantham, for Moore Councill Fine Furniture 

Gary Inman Home Couture, "Grantham Chest" inspired by English gardens and named after Lord Grantham, for Moore Councill Fine Furniture 

A Passion for Pagodas

Pagoda Passion is a powerful symbol of the historicism dominating recent High Point markets. After all how can a form dating to the 3rd Century B.C. be considered “trendy”? Pagodas entered Western design language in the 17th and 18th centuries and have remained a favorite motif of designers and decorators since. The current resurgence of pagodas in vibrant colors and bold scales assure the whimsical form will again transcend culture and time. 

Pagoda Mirror by Barclay Butera for Mirror Image

Pagoda Mirror by Barclay Butera for Mirror Image

C.R. Laine's Pagoda Daybed in vibrant sping green 

C.R. Laine's Pagoda Daybed in vibrant sping green 

Bunny Williams's Pagoda Mirror for Mirror Image in high-gloss Chinese red. 

Bunny Williams's Pagoda Mirror for Mirror Image in high-gloss Chinese red. 

Pagoda étagère for Bungalow 5 

Pagoda étagère for Bungalow 5 

Trend Meets Tradition in this Gorgeous Lamp from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection for Robert Abbey Lighting. 

Trend Meets Tradition in this Gorgeous Lamp from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection for Robert Abbey Lighting. 

Collette, Portrait of a Table

Design inspiration may come from a myriad of sources. A film, a song, a flower, or an influential fashion creation. Perhaps the most iconic fashion accessory of the last century is the Birkin handbag from Maison Hermes in Paris. Inspired by the great British actress Jane Birkin and named in her honor, the Birkin has been celebrated by fashion editors, as well as television programs like "Sex in the City" and in recent films such as "The Proposal" and "Blue Jasmine". The Collette Table is my nod to this most venerated of style icons. 

An elegant fashion illustration by my fabulously talented friend, Isolde Uecker for my Gary Inman Home Couture debut collection. 

An elegant fashion illustration by my fabulously talented friend, Isolde Uecker for my Gary Inman Home Couture debut collection. 

British Actress, Jane Birkin, the Muse that inspired the iconic Birkin handbag from Hermes 

British Actress, Jane Birkin, the Muse that inspired the iconic Birkin handbag from Hermes 

Birkin handbag in glossy red crocodile leather

Birkin handbag in glossy red crocodile leather

My Birkin inspired Collette Table in cavier leather in cream, sky, and celadon. Gary Inman Home Couture Fall Collection for Moore Councill Fine Furniture. In stock. 

My Birkin inspired Collette Table in cavier leather in cream, sky, and celadon. Gary Inman Home Couture Fall Collection for Moore Councill Fine Furniture. In stock. 

High Point Style Report - "Jazz Age Glamour"

 

The little black dress, beaded evening bags, French cuffs….all conjure jazz age glamour as do the numerous cocktail bars debuting at High Point this spring. Never has nostalgia heralded a greater sense of optimism and celebration.

Expertly top-stitched white and black leather bar from Serge De Troyer

Expertly top-stitched white and black leather bar from Serge De Troyer

Mariette Himes Gomez's stunning new "Brighton Bar" for Hickory Chair

Mariette Himes Gomez's stunning new "Brighton Bar" for Hickory Chair

Kindel Furniture introduced a suave new bar from architect Robert A.M. Stern

Kindel Furniture introduced a suave new bar from architect Robert A.M. Stern

High Point Goes Lacquerlicious!

Bold, Glossy, and Chic, the market has embraced lacquered furniture, mirrors, lighting, and accessories for the past few seasons, but the lacquerlicious craze is now omnipresent. The appreciation of stronger colors and bold patterns is a reflection of post-recession optimism and joy and represents a mega-trend driven as much by the zeitgeist, or “spirit of our times” as by any industry trend. It is likely to be with us long-term creating a new generation of elegant lifestyle inspired heirlooms. 

Jackie Chest from Bungalow 5 in Rich Navy Lacquer.

Jackie Chest from Bungalow 5 in Rich Navy Lacquer.

Newport Mirror in Tangerine from Oomph

Newport Mirror in Tangerine from Oomph

Palm Beach sconce in robin's egg blue from Dune & Duchess

Palm Beach sconce in robin's egg blue from Dune & Duchess

Lipstick lacquered sconce from Dune & Duchess 

Lipstick lacquered sconce from Dune & Duchess 

Campaign Chest from Bungalow 5 

Campaign Chest from Bungalow 5 

Kindel's iconic Espana Bunchin Double Dresser 

Kindel's iconic Espana Bunchin Double Dresser 

Black and White, The Timeless Color Combo

Fashion in films - The Devil Wears Prada 2006

Power red, shocking pink, spa blue, Hermes orange…..the world of design is always looking for the new color that will animate their editorial content and add graphic punch to their covers. Countless articles extol the virtues of the newest “it” color. Manufacturers wager on the next big color trends anticipating the new and the exciting. As intoxicating as these powerful colors are they can not surpass the bold clarity and timeless elegance of black and white. Chanel, more than any other designer, understood the power of this most balanced yet striking of combinations, adopting it has her signature colors. Here are a few of my favorite black and white designs. 

The clarity and refined taste of this black and white office is a perfect outward reflection of the Miranda character from The Devil Wears Prada.

French garden under the glass ceiling of the Grand Palais - Chanel fashion show 2011

Prada's pristine black and white luggage

Jaguar elegance in black and white.

A Brilliant London Style Door in high gloss black in stark contrast to the white classical edifice.

Chanel suite at the Ritz, Paris

Chanel gift box

Henry Dreyfuss - Telephone

COCO CHANEL, THE CREATION OF A STYLE ICON

Coco with her incredible sense of fashion and her unstoppable confidence.

Gabrielle “Coco” Bonheur Chanel (1883 – 1971)

It seems poetic that my first blog is on the great French couturier, Coco Chanel. No other designer has inspired me more than Chanel. Her extraordinary vision and taste, her lifelong commitment to her art and career, and her absolute confidence in her innate gift, continues to inspire me, and many other designers, more four decades after her death. Chanel was the first designer name I learned, and it was her style that defined elegance in the upper south society of my youth. In 1989 I had the rare privilege of studying at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Included in their stellar collection were numerous examples of Chanel’s artistry and I was able to study these creations, wearing white archival gloves of course, over the course of a year, ultimately writing my major research project on Chanel. In the years since I have continued to study her life and career and have had the opportunity to lecture on her many times. This blog entry is but a tiny nod to the rich and complex topic and I look forward to sharing more on Chanel in future blogs. 

Coco Chanel was the most influential designer of the 20th Century. A verbose statement? Perhaps, but how many designers can claim to have fundamentally shifted not only fashion, but the lifestyle of generations of women. Chanel’s radical departure from the conventional fashions of the early decades of the 20th century allowed women to embrace modernity. Sportswear, menswear inspired jersey suits, the “Little Black Dress”, the now iconic Chanel box suit, the 2.55 quilted leather cross body handbag, Chanel No.5, gripoix jewelry, camellias, her design vocabulary is refined, instantly recognizable, and is still coveted globally.

A thoroughly modern woman wearing an iconic Chanel tweed suit.

Coco Chanel's Little Black Dress ca.1927, the most iconic fashion of the 20th century.

Chanel's apartment at 31 Rue Cambon, Paris.

Chanel Maltese Cross cuff bracelets from Verdura.

Chanel’s coveted 2.55 quilted leather handbag.

Broadway play based on Coco Chanel.

Chanel with Duke Fulco di Verdura who began his career as Chanel’s head jewelry designer.

Gripoix also known as Pate de Verre (poured glass) was popularized by Chanel.

Developed by Ernest Beaux in 1921, Chanel No. 5 is still the world’s most familiar fragrance. The great French actress, Catherine Deneuve was the spokesperson for the fragrance in the 70s.