Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Burnishing Baubles

Although I’m not much of a jewelry man, I can still appreciate a good diamond. So when asked to design a party for the launch of Harry Winston’s New York Collection, I must admit feeling honored and slightly buoyant having the opportunity to be around all that bling.

I had the chance to speak to the beautiful Sandrine de Laage (Creative Director of Harry Winston) about the collection. She said New York constantly inspires her designs, and in this collection she wanted to capture the city's energy, movement, and architecture. I think she did a fantastic job.

I must be honest, walking into the Harry Winston store on Fifth Avenue can be intimidating: the army of guards, the sparkling baubles, the elegant and yet quite formal interior designed by Maison Jansen. After performing my initial walk through, I knew that I wanted to enhance the space by making it younger and sexier. While many details went into transforming the environment for the Harry Winston launch, I’d like to speak about three fixes made to improve the space while preserving the Jansen aesthetic.

Immediately I felt the carpet took too much attention away from the vitrines used to showcase the collection, so I covered the floor with 3-foot square lucite tiles, and a twelve inch border of gold lucite. The shimmering floor made the entire room float and the main area for the party fresher and more focused on the jewelry.

Second, by wrapping the chandeliers with black tulling, the atmosphere became less formal and much more fun.

And finally, to create a more salon-like environment, I custom designed a four-sided banquette and plopped it in the middle of the room with a large water pool in the center, fitting well with the Louis 16th style of the store. This way, the room was transformed into a salon, creating more of a sexier lounge atmosphere, for people and jewelry watching.

The party was a great success, and the jewelry, amazing to be around, especially with the company of breathtaking Freida Pinto, adorned with Harry Winston Jewels. The New York Collection is sexy and fresh, especially layered as Sandrine de Laage wore it the night of the party, pared perfectly with her exquisite Miu Miu dress.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lost and Found

I love losing myself in a city and finding new treasures. During a recent trip to Paris, I found an amazing map, which you can see in person at my store on East 11th Street.

This is the early 20th Century edition of Michel-Etienne Turgot's monumental 1739 map of Paris. This map of Paris is one of the most ambitious urban mapping ever undertaken. Turgot, who held the mayor-like office of Prévôt des Marchands de Paris, commissioned Louis Bretez and Claude Lucas to produce this map in 1734.

The map, printed on canvas, is oriented to the east, and shows every building, window, tree, shadow and park. It took nearly five years of sketching and surveying to assemble this masterpiece. In order to accomplish this feat, Bretez was issued a permit to enter every building in Paris. Oh the wonders of government.

click on images to view details

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Heaven Scent

I don’t like flowers as big statements. I prefer them to be downplayed. The trumpet lily is one of my favorites. They’re kind of old school, which I like, and at the same time, quite modern. They’re the most heaven-scented kind of lily. Having one or two heads per stem makes for a distinct form, so they look great in a bud vase but also thrown together in a bigger glass vase can be super nice as well.