At times navigating Manhattan’s society gala events can resemble the children’s detective game CLUE. If you remember, the essence of CLUE is a toss-up of colorful, fascinating, and quirky characters mixed together in a big mansion, with everyone playing a game of solve-the-mysteries.
Same in Gotham, where obsessions, clues, and notations are diligently gathered on who’s who, what so-and-so wore, what style “weapons” they sported, and what “rooms” they presided over as clues into the deep mysteries of gossip, style, and social life.
One of my favorite of all annual events is Holiday House, in which all of the above actually takes place, albeit full of good holiday cheer. The CLUE components are all there: the Academy mansion of many rooms, a grand staircase, and stylish colorful characters. The mystery to solve here is breast cancer; the stylish characters are a mix of philanthropists, interior designers, journalists, and notable creatives and brands designing rooms on a holiday theme; the secret weapons are the gorgeous design and style details making everyone swoon all the while raising awareness and funds for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Ready to play who’s who and what’s what?
The star of these rooms is Iris Dankner,
Holiday House founder, survivor, philanthropist and visionary heart creatively bringing light and healing to a dark place. She’s your first clue to why this event is a Grand Success for seven years:
With more style inspiration from classic jewel box rooms to modern staycations to
luxury glamping, let’s play!
Play with me as I find the uncanny resemblance of the design world’s favorite characters, (like Iris and designer Ally Coulter, above and my special guest reveal at the top floor); delve like a detective into the latest style clues of dress and decor; and most of all, celebrate the human spirit towards beauty, charity, and good will. First of all…what on Earth shall I wear?
Shall I be Miss Grey? The days leading up to the event had been grey, grey, grey. Pondering dress in decor, I was inspired by this image of the Paris apartment of Christian Dior designed by his friend, Georges Geffroy. I could see the headline now…
And in true unobtrusive, detective form, I found that I matched many of 70’s style wallpapers. Style CLUES: A bold and bright caftan top in a multi-color print with brass sequins, a turquoise suede belt from Portugal in the 70’s, with gold leather pants and rose suede Charles Jourdan mules from the 80’s.
Turns out this ottoman and room by Julia Buckingham are inspired by the Indian and Nepalese spring holiday Holi, the Festival of Colors, or the Festival of Love, signifying the arrival of spring and the end of winter. It begins with a song and dance and is followed by a free-for-all of colors. A Free-for-All Kiki! That’s so me!
And now one more party mystery before we sail through the rooms.
Who was my companion, the glamorous, blond woman? Here’s a tantalizing, close-up CLUE:
Room CLUE: A grand idea for any entrance is to evoke the idea of light and strength from within. The Holiday House grand entry foyer, in perfect symbolism, was dominated by an 11-ft tall Apollo, the god of healing, light and truth, and tasked with nothing less than to move the Sun across the sky. Entitled “Loving Day” designed by White Webb, Frank Webb and Matthew White, with Apollo by artist Sabin Howard. Social CLUE: t: @whitewebb i: @whitewebbbinteriors
The next room to entice was by my friend and stalwart supporter of Holiday House and the interior design industry, media-star, Rio Hamilton.
Whom I suspect is actually Mr. Green in disguise…
Rio Hamilton, design blogger and the design industry’s man-about-town, described his space as a “recharging station,” since it is a space in which to relax while charging one’s device of choice (or in his case a headquarters from which to play paparazzi!)
Room CLUE: I loved his bold striped wallpaper, the floor!, and the grand portrait of a cafe society by Andrea Selby that dominated the room, definitely a clue to his ID and always-instant-style tip, especially for precious spaces, Go Bold or Go Home! Social CLUE: @riverhamilton
Tori Mellott, the style editor extraordinaire of the event’s Presenting Sponsor, Traditional Home magazine, appeared everywhere in an alluring red silk gown, which cast her absolutely as Miss Scarlett.
Story CLUE: Miss White aka Ally Coulter and The Bear demonstrate how to elegantly step over anything out of place, or a mysterious, including a Bear. A Bear at a society event? Stay tuned, it’s a CLUE.
Room CLUE: Creating a center of a home, an atrium or courtyard is a healing idea for the 21st Century! “Constellation Celebration” by Ally Coulter is a glamorous tented, feminine oasis courtyard at the center of the mansion, dedicated to women of all walks of life who have fought and defeated breast cancer. The space features photographs of survivors by renowned artist Robert Farber and a light show designed by Brandon Epperson. Low, seductive lounge seating, smoked glass coffee tables and fashionable poufs throughout from FENDI Casa and sparkling barware from Baccarat reflected perfectly the happy intention of the event. Social CLUE: t: @ally_coulter i: @allycoulter
More CLUES to Miss White…
Room CLUE: Mr. Bjorn Bjornsson was not in his “Snow Day” sitting room with its many icy elements when I visited, but how smart to take a dark paneled room and fill it with light like this! Mixing sparking crystal, silver and snowy white elements he frosts the room with a glass “ice table” while crystal logs and a custom metal starburst fireplace screen adorn a fireplace. Mirrors abound creating pools of reflected light, and custom furniture by Christopher Guy beckons you to relax on this Snow Day. Social CLUE: @bjornssondesign
Which leads us to the other major room of the mansion and the discovery of Professor Plum!
Room CLUE: An insider told me that the whole room evolved from this moody plum colored painting of the skies of Scotland, as curated by our friend, art advisor Elizabeth Sadoff. Room by the designer, Professor Plum, aka, James Rixner.
“St. Andrews Day” is an inspired room celebrating the particular design and culture of Scotland. We admired the rich fabrics from our friends at Holland & Sherry and Johnstons of Elgin, and noticed that the lush arrangements and surprising details we loved also signaled that this room is a gathering space for social interaction.
The elegant soles of James Rixner with… (Miss Peacock in Vibrant Peacock Blue?) (Peep my rosy Jourdans there.)
Miss Peacock actually is James’ right-hand designer, Catarine Wright, nicknamed “The Duchess” by The Designer himself. Sparkling conversations flowed like the moody Scotland weather in this room, with Nicole Holt of Mansour, the lovely folks at Fork Street Studios and a spotting of Design Chair, Tom Filicia. A mystery that I did not see the other Design Chairs I so admire, Alexa Hampton, Mario Buatta, Christopher Hyland, and Geoffrey Bradfield…anyway, kudos to all! Social CLUES: t: @JamesRixnerInc i: @jamesrixner
Back out in the Grand Hallway, time to ascend to the next level.
On the SECOND FLOOR, the personality of the rooms dominated and I met new-to-me designers I will now keep my detective eye on in the future!
First, the “Birthday” playroom/bedroom by Lonni Paul, designer for Bill and Giuliana Rancic, which perfectly combined utility, playfulness, and inspiration.
Room CLUE: Utility first for kids’ play at ground level and inspired elegance above for young minds. Children and adults can enjoy the freedom that comes with being a kid with upholstered walls via the “weapon” of Crypton Home Fabric, while out of reach, completely engaging, a fairy chandelier by Lladro.
Lonni and I didn’t get to chat, I just snapped her and I loved how her smile reflected her heart and the essence of this happy children’s room! Social CLUE: @lonnipaul
Next we found this CLUE:
Room CLUE: Hands down the “Game Night” game room by Marks & Frantz Design was my favorite! The press release pegged it at a “signature mix of intense color, bold pattern, custom and antique furnishings and unbridled fun.”
Lydia Marks and Lisa Frantz are known for creating set decoration for dramatic fashion + film characters. Their luxury game room sported games from two bars, a custom wood marquetry shuffleboard table, a bespoke hand-painted peacock-themed backgammon set and a shagreen and bone inlay chess table. Animal imagery encouraged the sense of wild play as did a Bagua mirror and the very rich fabrics from Milanese luxury house Dedar. You can actually feel a bit of the drama in my “unlit-not-so-pro” photo here.
This layered collage painting gave me a Charles-Demuth-Figure-5 Precisionism-feel which was so inspired against a 70’s-feeling wallpaper. This era, color, and texture play is an intriguing game in of itself.
Following the Game Room, The Lady’s Lounge, a Game Room of another sort, always!
Room CLUES: From a dressing table to a room in your mansion called “A Lady’s Lounge,” making a place to surround oneself with beloved objects, to meditate, to dream, and to be inspired is key. In the lounge, we discovered both interiors and jewelry of the designer, Katie Scott, and her exquisite PR agent, Amy Rosi, whom I have admired since our first meeting many years ago. The warm, dark woods, metallic finishes, and luxurious textures definitely had us lingering with the ladies. Social CLUES: @katiebydesign
Astonishing…one my most favorite beautiful profiles in the industry…could she be…?
Room CLUE: The “Darkness Delight” therapist’s office is inspired by Nardoqan, the Turkish Winter Solstice, when darkness is defeated by the emergence of the new sun. We love a room inspired by myths, the interpretation creates a timeless place, such as Campion Platt’s room.
“Here, one embarks on a journey of personal transformation, from darkness to light.” The shadowy palette of the design begs a deeper look with its layered, magically-intricate Turkish rugs by Çinar grounding the warmth of the Chesney fireplace and lanterns by glass artist Moshe Bursuker, all evoking the mystical meaning of Nardoqa. The therapist’s couch by Bright invites the unfolding of woes, delights, and clues. Social CLUE: @CampionPlattHom
And who else did we see? The ever-smart Barbara Viteri was in every room before we arrived there, designer and blogger, Tamara Stephenson and yet another Mrs. Peacock, yes we saw her too.
You see it too, right? Designer Kathleen Walsh is a ringer for Mrs. Peacock especially in this gorgeous, deep violet lace dress she wore the night of the preview. Peep this dress here in one of Rio Hamilton’s snaps below:
Room CLUE: Functional luxuries of detail in an all-in-one space will feel like a well-appointed home for the well-traveled.
The glamorous “Staycation” by designer, Kathleen Walsh envisions a little slice of home for the globetrotting woman. To indulge in a staycation in New York City is a rare luxury, but Kathleen re-imagined the standard small living space into a luxurious oasis complete with a state-of-the-art Gaggenau kitchenette. Social CLUE: t: @kathleenwalshin i: @kathleendwalsh
Mesmerizing texture mixes like this smooth milky glass loop sculpture on top of this jeweled coffee table book slowed me down to investigate.
Give me a color and texture mix any day to slow me down vs. a beach view! I know, I am such a prime candidate for this Glam Staycation!
In a whole other realm, my mystery guest found her thrill on the FOURTH FLOOR…
What was last year, an Art Basel gallery and bar by Justin Shaulis, this year is transformed into something quite at the opposite spectrum: “Glamping Paradise” a bedroom suite by Vicente Wolf for Ford Explorer. With earth news like climate change and GMO’s occupying more of our minds, perhaps the time to get closer to Nature is here.
Room CLUE: If you do or re-do a room or a home, perhaps it’s time to go green.
Vicente’s custom-made 16-foot geodesic dome “tent” is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling murals of wooded forest at sunrise with the sounds of nature piping through a state-of-the-art Savant sound system. A Calvin Klein canopy bed is topped with luxury linens. The whole space is lushly layered with a mix of vintage and antique furniture pieces, cowhides on top of carpets and fur draped over a chair. Outside the dome, the birds chirp and the “outdoor” bath showcases a stunning DXV tub with wooden feet and a stone bowl washstand. Social CLUES: t: @vicentewolf i: @vicentewolfdesigns
And my mystery guest? Interior designer and founder of the Gypchic Guides and Tracy Stern Teas, Tracy Stern, here with me, Rio Hamilton and Tyra Bombetto.
And that bear from downstairs? Here’s where he ended up!
How to Get a CLUE about style, decor, and even the future? The 2015 Holiday House NYC is open from November 11 – December 2nd. Can’t make it this year? Go next year for a design first that warms our heart. Key to interior design industry innovation, the New York School of Interior Design will host a student room as part of the 2016 mansion!
Holiday House 2015
11am – 5pm,
Thursdays until 8pm
The Academy Mansion
2 East 63rd Street
New York City
Thank you to Elle and Tyler, Holiday House PR Stars! Photography Thank You’s: Alan Barry @alanbarryphotography, Sketch42 blog, Rio Hamilton, Marco Ricca, Tria Giovan and the other “moody” images, extensive ramblings, and Iris Dankner illustration
by Jade Dressler
Filed under: FABRIC, HOME, INTERIOR DESIGN, NEW YORK, NEW YORK Style, SCOTLAND, STYLE, TRENDS | Leave a Comment
Tags: 2015, Holiday House NYC, Iris Dankner
Here is Maya Jane Coles, house music DJ and producer from UK. I adore her music and often draw to it. One of my series of portraits of magical people, she floats between an anime warrior princess and a classic “caricature” which essentially means a “loaded portrait.”
My starting point for this “loaded mix” was Maya’s chest tattoo of two owls. A DJ is a “night owl” able to hear the magic of Nocturnal Sunshine, title of one of her releases. Thus her owl ears and wings.
Then this powerful portrait spoke to me, the gaze like an owl sitting in a tree.
This idea of Maya’s knob-twisting hands holding puppet strings naturally evolved and I realized it came from one of my favorite Al Hirschfeld drawings from the album cover of My Fair Lady. I grew up with this album cover, uncanny the UK reference, the LP and DJ connection, not to mention the blossoming effect Maya’s music has on me…
Her squat comes from my sketch Smile, I love this kind of landing, as if one just jumped from on high, landing solid on the ground. Maya joining the Dr. Martens #standforsomething campaign gives her city leaping boots.
My illustration of Maya Jane Coles will be available on my shop, along with many other illustrations already happily here, The Jade Dress Shop.
Filed under: ILLUSTRATION, ILLUSTRATIONS, MAGICAL BEINGS, MUSIC, UK, WOMEN | Leave a Comment
Tags: DJ, female, illustration, Magical Being, Maya Jane Coles, portrait, UK house
Alber Elbaz is a fashion designer who transformed the designs of Lanvin, the legendary and oldest Paris couture maison, into a modern signature of playfulness, bravery, and a new, bold expression of women.
The story of this drawing is just as magical.
Exactly the day BEFORE his departure from the maison, after fourteen years, was announced in the media, I had a distinct vision to portray him as the classic Lanvin perfume bottle. His silhouette is so engaging, round and black, just like the bottle. The shocking fashion news just added a layer and immediacy to doing the portrait. I illustrated this in three hours the next morning!
The Arpege perfume was my Grandmother’s scent and combined with the famous logo of a mother and child, I have a very personal connection to this house, perfume, and logo. This vintage bottle of talc, a present from my mother, sits on a shelf in my bathroom and was the model for the bottle in the illustration.
The speculation that Elbaz was headed to Dior, after the recent departure of head designer Raf Simons, immediately gave me the vision of the golden revolving door. Elbaz’s potential new shape, that of the famous “D” of Dior became obvious!
This “D’Or” is an image over the door of my office. Translation: Door of Gold. These ideas underscored the gold revolving door of fashion, as these upturnings and farewell waves of creative leaders are often a decision based on money vs. vision.
Here is Elbaz in his signature bowtie. His signature turn of legs, almost clown-like childlike walk and little shoes captivate me at the end of his shows. I also added his shoes as being empty as he is portrayed as a tossed designer. How to fill these shoes?
His possible step into Dior came from my collage experiment here:
This visual idea of a volume of a person is also my favorite image from the Lanvin show in Paris I was so fortunate to see live. I will never forget these long, fluid washes of fabric. So regal, ceremonial, and intriguing. (And in their own way, doors of gold.)
The tiny runway model in gold at the bottom of the revolving door in the illustration just emerged while I drew.
Movement and change within a volume of circumstance.
The story behind Lanvin’s mother and child logo goes way back to 1907. Founder Jeanne Lanvin was one of the first to design children’s clothing to match the designs of their mothers. (My own family’s legacy of owning children’s wear stores…another connection!)
For a costume party, Jeanne dressed herself and daughter in matching outfits “and the moment was immortalised in a photograph.” When it came time to design a logo for the house in 1927, Jeanne commissioned Paul Iribe, who captured this mother-daughter moment.
I love that my own, next evolution of Lanvin via this illustration emerged right around Halloween and Samhain, a very ancient feminine time of costumes, between seasons, between worlds. A kind of golden, revolving door.
I also loved this modern interpretation in the Paris Lanvin shop window during the time I saw the live show. Cycles. Revolving.
Wherever Alber Elbaz lands I am quite sure new doors of gold will open for him and for all of us who thrill to his work. As a master of playing upon the rich, mythic history of a brand, he remains a golden boy!
Filed under: ART, FASHION, ILLUSTRATIONS, STYLE | Leave a Comment
Tags: alber elbaz, Dior, illustration, lanvin, Mother and child
Connecting to Magical Beings makes the uncanny appear and miracles happen. Many times drawing Pharrell Williams, my pen drew specific lines for me. My computer window would suddenly open up a window or a book page would open with exactly what I needed to see. The song playing spoke exactly on cue.
The beautiful face of Pharrell Williams, already hangs in my home, one of them is this W magazine cover. I suddenly realized he must be added to my Magical Beings collection of illustrations! A long-time fan, I’ve followed Pharrell from his Neptunes and N*E*R*D days to the rise of Get Lucky and get Happy to his Grammy awards, famous Vivian Westwood hat, and grateful tears with Oprah.
Pharrell calls himself a Universalist. The process of drawing Pharrell underscored for me that true creativity belongs to us all. Here’s the journey, I hope it inspires you to create and play.
“By 2013, I had accepted my role as the… camouflage,” Pharrell told W Magazine, my favorite quote of his. “I was the guy next to the guy, rather than the guy himself.”
“All my formative years, I spent standing next to Jay [Z] or Justin [Timberlake] or all those kings. I’ve always learned from the masters, whether it’s in music or art or fashion. But in 2013, it was different: suddenly, it was not about being the camo anymore.”
Happy, the song that propelled Pharrell into global fame, was not necessarily an instant hit. It was, in fact, the tenth song Pharrell presented to a film’s producer!
I took this screen shot of Pharrell from the video on the bridge as his dance move seemed to encapsulate his way of moving and…
The white tiger is not a native species and is a whole animal rights issue, which I might rail on about, but not here. (Go here.)
Talk about camouflage removal!
In Tibetan Buddhism, the Tiger “abides in the South, symbolizing unconditional confidence, disciplined awareness, kindness and modesty. It is relaxed yet energized; resting in a gentle state of being that has a natural sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, referring to the state of enlightenment. Associations: main quality is confidence, dominance over forest, and the air element.”
My well-worn copy of Shambala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa fell open to this page. Pharrell is like a warrior, a shaman, he had to be the tiger energy!
The brilliant signature Vivian Westwood hat of the man helped him be seen as the tower, the mountain. Its height and grooves are like a sacred mountain.
To The Sole of His Shoes.
While I was drawing his shoes, a song lyric was on repeat: the “depth of my soul” …and I found my pen drawing his soulful eyes. What Pharrell sees is his foundation, his soul and his sole.
Long-form, blow your mind alert!
While sketching Pharrell, this site called “Sacred Sites” literally popped up on my computer. Another soulful eye!
I was drawn to read about Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, here in its long form, esoterically describes the power of a hit song like Happy:
“Radiating out from the Chaco complex are an enigmatic series of straight lines that extend ten to twenty miles into the desert. Conventional archaeological theories explain these lines as roads leading to outlying settlements, but this seems highly unlikely, as the lines are arrow straight regardless of terrain. They go over mesas (table-top mountains), up and down vertical cliff faces, and along ways that make them utterly impractical for use by the casual or commercial traveler. Perhaps they had another purpose. Paul Devereux, a British scholar and writer in the so called “Earth Mysteries” field has suggested that these lines (and others he has studied around the world) are better understood as markings that represent the out-of-body spirit travels of ancient shamans. Archaeological research does indeed indicate that the lines often lead to small shrine-like structures where evidence of religious and shamanistic activity is common. These mysterious lines, sometimes apparently between no particular places, are found in many parts of the Anasazi region. More than five hundred miles of the lines have so far been charted. Nowadays they are mostly visible only from the air in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun casts deep shadows. Inspecting these lines at ground level, it is evident that they have been acted upon by many hundreds of years of natural erosion, which has obscured all but scarce remains. It therefore seems reasonable to suggest that these lines, prior to their erosion, could have been followed across great expanses of land, thereby delineating an enormous grid or map of sacred and shamanistic geography.”
I’ve seen these lines from in an airplane flying across America. No doubt you have too. The power of the seen and the unseen. So glad Pharrell is no longer camouflage and the world feels his gifts. Here representing his gifts, the lines are the paths of Pharrell as shaman, ending in Tibetan clouds of peace and power.
My illustration of Pharrell Williams will be available on my shop, along with many other illustrations, here, The Jade Dress Shop.
Filed under: ART, ILLUSTRATION, MAGICAL BEINGS, MAGICAL BEINGS, MEN, MUSIC, STYLE | Leave a Comment
Tags: #artdesignbrazil, illustration, Pharrell Williams, Tibetan tiger, Vivian Westwood hat
“J’adore ma Choupette, mais when she turns tail…it tears me apart! Everytime.”
(note the tiny man in black above!)
This is the story of how this portrait of Karl and Choupette was inspired by the annoying pony tail of my friend “Coco” (her real nickname.) At a bar one night, Coco’s pony tail was whipping me in my face every time she turned around.
First, an interlude. I am writing this post just as Karl’s Chanel’s airport-themed show in Paris is happening. Strap yourself in, this is the invite to the Chanel show and now… my little story of how a kitty tail whipping revealed the heart of The Kaiser, Karl Lagerfeld.
I came home from the bar-tail-whipping and drew this sketch of a little ponytail and wrote, “Love ‘Coco’ but when she turns her ‘tail,’ it knocks me out every time!” intending to draw the little humorous scenario the next day.
On next day, when I began to think about how to draw Karl Lagerfeld for Paris Fashion Week coming up, I had a few sketches drawn and then my eye caught this little pony tail drawing on my desk.
I filled it in…it looked just like a sad Karl, vulnerable in a dramatic cape or dressing gown at home.
Karl is one of the most confident humans on the planet…with all the sartorial symbols and attitude worthy of a distinctive, warrior-like portrait.
However, drawing that would be too easy. I find that when I follow the trail of subconscious symbols winking at me, the real portrait appears.
The tail switching in my drawing made me think of Karl’s famous princess cat, Choupette, (owner of two maids and an Instagram account.) When she’s upset…or ‘turns tail’…this may be the only thing in the whole Universe that saddens The Kaiser!
I like seeing the vulnerability in powerful people. Certainly Karl is a very thoughtful, sensitive man with a knowledge and interest in many subjects, although he bellows and issues proclamations, leading one to philosophical questions, beyond fashion. Having stood in his presence several times, as he clipped out “missives” I can vouch for this!
Chanel’s signature quilting conveys status by way of comfort, a cross-hatch inspired by the tweeds and plaids of Scottish hunters as camouflage. This play of opposites is the dynamic of our world. The windows, the portes, the gates through which we frame and see the world.
Anything soft and fluffy is our emotions floating, through.
I didn’t have to do a lot of visual research for this one, I live with a cat. In googling, I did come across this sappy white kitten, very Princess. Her fur got me tearing up white paper for the fur in the drawing. The white lightening soon followed.
Choupette’s fluff and kitty fur frenzy called for the seat-belt-securely-fastened-in of Karl’s Chanel show invitation. The ‘kitty-korner’ borders, much like the Chanel interlocking ‘C’s’ came next.
Coincidence that the tail of a French girl named “Coco” inspired this image?
I must have been “Chanel-ing” the real Coco Chanel.
I will offer a print of Choupette and Karl soon on my site, have a look here in the meanwhile!
Filed under: FASHION, MAGICAL BEINGS, PARIS | Leave a Comment
Tags: #PFW, chanel, Choupette, coco chanel, illustration, karl lagerfeld, Paris Fashion Week, portrait, sketch