06 April, 2009

Affinity and Inspiration

A recent profile of Alber Elbaz,  the designer of the Paris fashion house Lanvin, appeared in The New Yorker. My husband called it to my attention and said, "This guy talks about fashion the way you talk about interiors."  I run a small interior design studio in Minneapolis and he designs for a world famous Parisian fashion house, it's almost the same thing, right? The profile was so rich in quotes and thoughts that I felt an affinity for and that I found inspirational!
Elbaz is said to talk a lot about creating value. Not a bargain, but value. This is an idea I think about and try to bring to my design. Often the interiors we create have custom details and well woven fabrics, but only when the design solution adds value to the environment and enriches the experience of the people in the space. A well built furniture frame brings longevity to the environment, a good value. Every selection should be made in a way that balances the demands of aesthetics, budget and value.
He is also quoted as saying that he is interested in designing the dress that a woman wears when she falls in love with herself, rather than a dress that will cause a man to fall in love with her. I have always enjoyed working with clients who care enough about themselves, their families and close friends to want an environment that will enrich their time together. If this is their primary concern they understand that their home is an important investment beyond the actual value of their property. That by having a home which supports their hobbies, their passion for family life, their passion for caring for the earth it becomes a haven.
He says in the article "The highest compliment a woman can receive is 'My God, she looks smart!'. I would like guests in my client's home to think the same...."This home is smart." Smart looking, because it is chic not trendy. Sophisticated and long lasting yet comfortable and inviting.  That gets the response I aim for.
Years ago, before I decided to become an interior designer, I was lucky to go on a trip that involved viewing several private runway shows at the fashion houses in Paris. One of them was Lanvin. My most striking memory of Lanvin was how witty the show was. There was a mix of haute couture and ethnic influence. I found fashion inspirational then. I find it inspirational now. The color, texture, and drape of fabric is a significant element in any interior. Here is some Lanvin eye candy to inspire you.

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