Jason Wu’s Glorious Creations and a Brizo Fiesta to Remember

The last day always come. And so it came.

Day 3 we had one last breakfast meeting with Brizo. We worked hard and all sat still as white envelopes were distributed throughout the room. THE Jason Wu invitations. Braided in sexy black leather straps, they whispered the promise of something extraordinary:

Brizo FW-2013 301We were whisked away in black SUVs as slushy and frigid raindrops (Nemo had arrived) riddled the cityscape with streaks ans spots:

Brizo FW-2013 309Photo: Elza B. Design.

The bleak weather forecast did not dampen our spirits as this shot of  Yvonne Blacker and Jordan Bahler of Brizo can attest:

Brizo FW-2013 306Photo: Elza B. Design.

Thankfully VIP treatment was highly welcome as kind umbrella men opened our doors and helped us out upon arrival:

Brizo FW-2013 311Photo: Elza B. Design.

Excitement is in the air as we wait in line:

Brizo FW-2013 315Designers and bloggers Laura Bielecki, Katrina Stumbos with Kristen Baum and Laura Brooks of Brizo.

Meanwhile, behind the scene preparation of models for the Jayson Wu Fashion Show:

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Photo by Jayme Thornton for Brizo.

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Photo by Jayme Thornton for Brizo.

The show’s venue is dressed up with one glimmering, extravagant and astronomical chandelier which reflects on the glistening black and white cutout of the floor…that will later be touched up by hand a few moments before the show actually starts:

Brizo FW-2013 325Photo Elza B. Design

And the show begins as models belted in snakeskin, lace, fur, leather, silk and wool crepe ensembles sashay across the room at lightning speed :

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 A rapid succession of black and white silhouettes punctuated by a shot of red here and there and one glorious violet gown brings the crowd to applause as we all stand up stunned by the rapidity of the show.

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All Fashion Show Photos by Jayme Thornton for Brizo.

While a Fashion design student in Paris in the late eighties, I had the privilege of attending quite a number of fashion shows, such as Jean-Paul Gauthier and Thierry Mugler. The Jason Wu show is just as professional and clearly the work of a highly gifted fashion architect, capable of teasing fabric and materials into elaborate and perfectly wearable confections.

Brizo FW-2013 346A photo of part of our fabulous group gathered after the show under the spectacular chandelier.

The rest of the evening is spent rushing back to the hotel and donning an evening outfit in preparation of the Jason Wu private cocktail party. We brave the enormous, silent and hurried white snowflakes and gather up in the New York Penthouse for the event.

Brizo FW-2013 362Previous Jason Wu creations keep us company as we enjoy drinks and each other’s company. Elza B. Design photo.

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 Our group posing with the talented celebrity stylist Brandon Cannon, who was the first to introduce Jason Wu to Brizo and is a good friend of the designer. Photo Jayme Thornton.

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Marilyn Russell and I pose for the camera. Jayme Thornton photo.

Jason Wu braves the snow storm and traffic, and arrives quite tired after his show and the numerous interviews he gave immediately after. He is gentle, charming, humble and very very smart. He graciously answers a few questions from Cannon which my old computer refuses to transfer into a video that can be saved without crashing the whole unit…and  I’ve just given up. You’ll have to settle with Jayme Thornton‘s great snapshot:

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Thank you, Brizo, it was a trip to remember! Below, the Brizo group with Jason Wu photgraphed by Jayme Thornton:_H1U8427.JPG

“Ce n’est qu’un au-revoir”, as we say in my mother tongue. Until next time, dear friends. Thank you for the memories!

Exclusive Interview with Julie Rogowski, VP of the Boston Design Center

I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Julie Rogowski, Vice-President and General Manager of the Boston Design Center.

I thought it would be interesting to have a chat with Julie as everyone I encounter is always so intrigued by the Boston Design Center. What is it exactly? Where is it? I wanted to speak with Julie so to get a perspective from the inside. What is it like to work for this gigantic Eight Story Design Hub?

ImageThe Boston Design Center located in south Boston on the Waterfront

A few facts before I proceed with the interview:

-The Boston Design Center is part of the MMPI the world’s leading owner and operator of showroom buildings and trade show facilities.

-The Boston Design Center has been in activity for over 25 years.

-There are 87 wholesale design showrooms in the building including 13 contract and 15 kitchen, bath and building product showrooms..

-The Center is THE design destination for interior designers and architects and their clients. Major industry brands offering fabric, furniture, flooring, tile, accessories, lighting, rugs are represented.

-The Center publishes “Cybele” an official publication mailed out to 7000 design trade professionals 4 times a year.

-The Center offers “Tuesday Seminar Series” 8 times a year.

-The Boston Design Center has a wonderful website and its own blog. The center is also actively present on social media.

342, the BDC Designer’s Club, is a private, dedicated space for designers to use for quiet work, client meetings, conferences and even small events.

-the Boston Design center offers Designer on call services as well as the Plush membership for non-designers.

-The Boston Design Center will soon have a FARM (yes, a produce farm) on its rooftop. More on this fascinating news in the interview below.

THE INTERVIEW WITH JULIE ROGOWSKI:

Chez Elza: Tell me a little about you, Julie. How long have you been doing this job and what is your background?

Julie Rogowski:

I have been at the BDC for about 7 and 1/2 years now. I initially came as a consultant, then proceeded to Director of leasing and am now Vice President and General Manager.

I have no background in Design, I have a business degree and my background is in Business and Sales. I grew up in Colorado.

Chez Elza: What do your daily activities consist of? What is your favorite aspect of the job?

Julie Rogowski:

I have a different job every day! I am in charge of overseeing the Center’s marketing, leasing, facilities, windows, relationship with the tenants. My favorite part of the job is that it is never the same, each day brings on diverse and various responsibilities.

Julie Rogowski, photo via The Boston Home Show.

 Chez Elza: Tell me a little about the history of the BDC and design centers in general?

Julie Rogowski:

The Boston Design Center has 26 years of a long and rich history of design, offering exclusive and custom products to designers and their clients. The breadth and depth of these products is unique. There are design centers in New York, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, to name just a few. The BDC services Boston’s core design community. 25 of the 50 largest Boston based architectural firms are located within a 2.5 miles distance from the Center. We just opened in October the 342 Designer Club on the 3rd floor which is a great space for professionals, as it allows for cooperative design work.

Chez Elza: Are there design centers abroad? Do they operate in similar ways?

Julie Rogowski:

There are design centers abroad, absolutely. An example is the Chelsea Design Center in London. They operate on slightly different models. Some are open to the public for instance.

Chez Elza: How has the Boston design Center changed and evolved over the course of 10 years?

Julie Rogowski:

Design Centers are a constantly evolving industry. From a marketing standpoint, the Boston Design Center has evolved a lot over the past years. We have become active participants in Social Media, we have our own blog, we are present on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook. 70 % of our showrooms are locally owned. We are working on showing green initiative, such as the implementation of the Roof Top Farm.

Chez Elza: the Roof Top Farm is such exciting news. I read about it on your Facebook page and love the initiative. Can you tell me a bit more about that?

Julie Rogowski:

Higher Ground Farm did a survey of Boston and found we had one of the largest roof tops in the city. We have a 55,000 square foot space, and this will be the  second largest open-air roof farm in the world.The roof top farm is a great opportunity for us, we love that it is a way to give back to the community. Higher Ground Farm will be growing organic fruit and vegetable for the local restaurant community. Construction starts in February 2013.

Chez Elza: Will we be able to access the farm?

Julie Rogowski:

No, for liability reasons we cannot let people on the roof other than the Farm staff! We are hoping to have a Farm Stand in the Boston Design Center.

Founding Farmer, Courtney Hennessey admires the view from the Boston Design Center future farm. Photo via Higher Ground Farm.

Chez Elza: Do you think design centers will disappear? I hope not!

Julie Rogowski:

Some people say design centers are dinosaur models but I disagree. Design Centers offer designers and their clients with quality brands and products as well as custom solutions and personalized design. Interior designers and architects have a a core client base that appreciates investing in quality.

Thank You, Julie, for taking the time to interview with me!

As a designer, I find the Boston Design Center is a vital hub for my work and could not imagine working without. There is nothing like touching, seeing and appreciating fabrics, furniture and materials on site! Being able to bring samples to my clients when it comes time to select unique elements for the design of their space is vital.

Clearly, our local Boston Design Center is in the NOW and I am thrilled with the cutting edge marketing approach our center is embracing under the initiative of Julie Rogowski!

A bientôt, my friends!

 


 

Boston’s Very Own Junior League Show House

I recently had the opportunity to visit  the Junior League of Boston Show House in Newton, MA.

A bit of history: the JLB was created in 1906 by women wanting to make a social difference in the Boston Metro community. They built their structure on the model of New York’s Junior League and went on to create diverse committees of interest (help to the poor and sick, entertainment for children, etc) and raise funding to assist charities and people in need. The Junior League has aligned itself with women’s changing roles over the years. It is composed of modern women who work but also want to volunteer and show initiative in diverse areas: education initiative, wellness, diet, etc.

The Show House runs from October 16th till November 18th at the Potter Estate, an 1867 property located on the grounds of the Jackson-Walnut Park Schools in Newton. The estate grounds and interiors have been updated and completely re-designed by 35 prominent local design firms who have donated their time and materials. The proceeds from the Show House will go towards the mission of the Junior League.

Potter Estate in Newton, home of the Junior League Show House 2012

Getting through Newton is always tricky for me: all that meandering, u-turning to get on the right direction of traffic, I just can’t seem to orient myself! I have to tell you, this Show House was well worth the detour! I was simply amazed at the hard work and creative genius and variety on display. I am proud of my Boston design peers!

Let me share a few photos I took of designs from local designer friends:

Elizabeth Benedict of Elizabeth Home created The Green Room, “a behind -the -scenes space for a mother to decompress…and recharge between tasks”. Creating a very organic feminine decor with soothing harmonies of greens and mauve, Elizabeth nailed the space, making it inviting and cozy.

Elizabeth Benedict‘s Green Room with framed Manuel Canovas fabric (doubles as a headboard if needed!), Stray Dog fixtures, custom paneled walls and ottoman.

More detail from the Green Room with beautiful rug by Landry and Arcari and chair upholstered in one of my personal favorite fabrics by Brunschwig & Fils.

Designer Kristen Rivoli, owner of Kristen Rivoli Interior Design smartly decided to create a romantic bedroom for an imaginary client: a well traveled couple that wishes to bring into their home design aspects from their travels to Paris and Morocco. A sumptuous canopy was created over the bed with a Moroccan lantern hanging from its heart.

Master bedroom by Kristen Rivoli with Poliform Arca Bed.

Facing the bed, was an inviting daybed with an array of pillows covered in Mally Skok textiles, and gorgeous side tables from Montage:

 Note the wallpaper with “hammered nails” effect by Phillip Jeffries, the soft grey purple velvet covering on the French bed by Charles Spada and the fabulous blue hide rug by Kyle Bunting.

Speaking of Mally Skok, she created a spunky and lively Young Woman’s Bedroom using a plethora of her very own gorgeous line of fabrics Mally Skok Design:

Mally shows her sense of humor with this warm and colorful interior. Love that window treatment! Wallpaper and all fabric on the bed are by Mally Skok.

Laurie Gorelick of Laurie Gorelick Interiors created a little jewel box she called “Inner Sanctum”. A “restorative space” for busy women, where one can meditate, refresh and enjoy. A earthy palette of greens and oranges grounds this small room and makes it extremely inviting:

I loved the Raoul Textiles lambrequin adorning the window as well as the built-ins and the desk area. Indirect lighting from a dropped ceiling creates softness throughout the space.

Another angle of the room with a custom daybed and lovely Schumacher and Seema Krish fabrics. The grasscloth wallpaper is by Schumacher. The rug is by Landry and Arcari.

Cecilia Walker of Cecilia Walker Design dressed up a very challenging back entrance and hallway with lovely little vignettes, bold wallpaper and light fixtures:

On site, I had the pleasure of meeting a few designers I did not know and who gracefully allowed me to photograph their work:

Janet S. Gaffey of Santini & Co created with the help of muralist Natalie Gardener a lovely tree-lined wall with accents of gold, copper and silver to showcase the very high second floor stairway. Note the incredible marbled like design she installed in the diamond shaped window:

Here is Janet in her space:

Frank D. Hodge of F.D. Hodge Interiors created a calming room he called Frank’s Study. I enjoyed the layering process he used, mixing both antique and modern furnishings:

Venetian plaster walls contribute to the taupe color scheme derived from the damask fabric.

Finally, Gerald Pomeroy of the Gerald Pomeroy Design Group designed a Conservatory in collaboration with Dessin Fournir, which gave him access to furniture pieces and fabrics from the same showroom:

I enjoyed the classic composition of this console table skirted by Gerarld in a Rose Cummings fabric:

This Show House opportunity should make Newton and Boston very proud!

Congratulations to my Boston Designer Colleagues!

 

 

 

Thank you, #InStyleTour for a fabulous event!!!

Yesterday I attended the well awaited #InStyleTour event I was telling you about in my last post. I had a lovely time, enjoyed great conversation and food at Villa Francesca, where the cuisine is truly divine.

Villa Francesca private dining room offers the perfect cave atmosphere. Low ceiling with exposed beams, brick walls, dim lights. Notice the wine cellar gates are LOCKED. Mmm, wonder why?

Fellow designers take the pose! From left to right Elizabeth Benedict, standing, Andie Day, and Michele Cortizo.

Three happy designers enjoying dinner to come at Villa Francesca. Linda Merrill, Laurie Gorelick and myself. Photo courtesy Linda Merrill.

After dinner, we all walked through Little Italy cobbled streets to Giovanni DeCunto‘s studio.

Delicious spreads of Italian desserts expected us. I don’t think anyone could beat the scrumptious locally made tiramisu .

Amazing portrait of artist and rapper TUPAK by Giovanni De Cunto. Painstakingly executed dot by dot -à la Seurat, this black and white painting actually changes to color when the lights are turned off. Special effect glow in the dark paints allow this process to occur.

Painting by De Cunto.

One of my favorite paintings along with TUPAK was this one:

Transmission 21 by Giovanni De Cunto.

A business card drawing for prizes occurred and Laurie Gorelick won a small abstract painting by De Cunto! Laurie wins at every of these events, I swear!!! As she says, she needs to play the lottery now! Michele Cortizo won a BLANCO faucet:

Christy Emens of BLANCO presents Michele Cortizo with her prize, a faucet by generous event sponsor BLANCO AMERICA.

As for myself, I won a …um, yes, embarrassing but true, hickey kiss on my right cheek (yes, a hickey!) from the artist himself, Giovanni De Cunto! Giovanni, I know I am irresistible, but please, no more unsolicited hickeys! Next time, paint me a kiss on a canvas and I will gladly accept it :-) !!!!

I cannot part without thanking dear Andie Day and Todd Vendituoli! They put in a lot effort behind the #InStyleTour event creation and implementation!

They’re gonna kill me cause it’s a poor shot (why is there no WHITE EYE correction on my Photoshop??) but I believe it will give you an idea of how happy and friendly this bunch is:

Lovely Andie Day stands in red top, Michele Cortizo-laughing as always-shows her back, seated center is Christy Emens from Blanco (voted best haircut of the evening), Todd Vendituoli is seated in front of his partner in crime, Sidney, shown taking photos. These folks were laughing so hard and moving so much, I just could not take a good shot!!!

A bientôt!

First #INSTYLETOUR Celebrates Sinks, Art and Tweeps: Press Release

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/?ui=2&ik=a4a3ac9d13&view=att&th=13a11fbf99820684&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=f_h7oozw8l1&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P-DJdQq3IBP534J7BAeuamt&sadet=1348960934998&sads=i7XxXTUS4zPerh63fQqQrHXZ1Ns

Twitter-inspired social media gathering attracts national sponsorship, interior
design bloggers and original artwork!

Boston, MA: What began as a desire to bring regional design bloggers together in
real life has morphed into a celebration of inspiration and excellence in art and design
for over twenty-five interior designers from the Boston area and beyond. The two-
part event on Tuesday, October 2nd, sponsored by Blanco America and internationally-
acclaimed artist Giovanni DeCunto, is being held at north-end restaurant Villa Franceso
then moving to DeCunto’s studio for a special viewing. Highlights of the event will be an
interactive presentation from Blanco representatives and a draw for an original piece of
Giovanni DeCunto’s art.

Art by Giovanni De CuntoCourtesy artist’s website.

Blanco Purus 1 Faucet in Truffle

The Blanco Purus faucet with Side Spray in Anthracite mix is elegant and brings a bit of additional color to the counter top.I love that it comes in all sorts of colors to coordinate with the kitchen materials.

The idea for this event, labeled with hashtag #instyletour on twitter, was born at a July
2012 tweetup hosted by local interior designer Andie Day and Vermont-based builder-
turned-social-media-specialist Todd Vendituoli. “Art, interior design and fashion continue
to overlap as today’s technology-infused lifestyle evolves,” explains, Andie Day. “We
know that bloggers play an important role in communicating trends to consumers. We
wanted to continue to push that envelope by exposing designers to manufacturers with
beautiful, functional pieces for the home and unique styles of fine art. We’re excited
about our first #instyletour evening.”

“Blanco America embraced the concept right away,” adds Vendituoli. “They see the
value in harnessing the power of design blogs and talking about their beautifully-crafted
sinks and faucets to such a targeted audience. Exposing their product to an audience so
heavily immersed in communicating good design is invaluable.”

Day and Vendituoli hope to roll out the #instyletour concept to other design-centric
markets such as Miami and San Francisco. The goal is to provide venues for those
who have met via twitter to meet face to face and interact with brands that provide
products to the design industry. “Face to face connections are still incredibly important,”
says Vendituoil. “We all ‘talk’ virtually all the time, but now we’ll be in the same location
learning more about design and art, and making our connections even stronger.”

Members of the media who wish to attend the first #instyletour night, contact organizer
Andie Day at 978-500-8172 or aday@andieday.com.

I personally cannot wait to attend this private event and am so thankful to Andie and Todd for coming up with these opportunities to meet fellow designers, bloggers and vendors. It is so enriching to exchange ideas and meet in real life: we really all learn from each other AND have a lot of fun! I love being part of such a vibrant community!