Antique and Modern Rugs: Perfectly Persian

Why the Perennial Classic Deserves New Consideration

Antique Persian Rugs

Last summer Sotheby’s auction house sold the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet pictured above for $33.7 million – three times more than they’d ever sold any textile for before.

It’s easy to envy the anonymous bidder who scored this rare vibrant beauty which once belonged to the industrialist and Montana senator William A. Clark (1839-1925). The staggering final bid elicited a collective jaw drop in antique textile circles. There’s been a marked uptick in interest in 17th-century rugs in recent years, but what could inspire someone to spend so much on a single textile?

Rarity certainly has something to do with it: The colors and weaving technique represented in the Clark carpet are unusual. But the auction-house happening is also representative of a growing sentiment that reaches much further than the pockets of ultra-wealthy antique buyers. Increasingly, across almost all segments of the American population, people are searching for authenticity in their consumer choices.

This extends well beyond home design. It relates to food, fashion, music and more. After a century of the industrialized world moving us toward mass marketing and greater homogeneity, people are pushing back, spurring artisan culture and a myriad indie cottage industries to serve consumers who want something that’s not just shiny, new and exactly like what everyone else has. But one of the big ways this desire manifests itself in home design is in renewed interest in spaces that evoke history, because a great story – a time-tested narrative – is the hallmark of authenticity.

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Rug Equivalents to Grammy’s 2014 Best Dressed

This year’s Grammys was a bit of a whirlwind when it came to style. There were more misses than hits, but the best dressed attendees really wowed for the occasion. On music’s biggest night, these stars took the cake.

Beyoncé in Michael Costello
Fashion
Superstar Beyoncé showed off her slim ‘n trim bod in a Michael Costello sheer ivory gown sprinkled floral embellishments. The designer (whom you may remember from Project Runway) was inspired by NYC covered in snow. Michael says he was in shock when Ty Hunter, Beyoncé’s longtime stylist, came into his showroom to pull Grammy looks! And I’m sure glad he did. I love the strategically placed cutouts on this gown. Its fresh, sexy and fun. Exactly what the Grammys should be. I especially love that Beyoncé rocked her blond wavy bob that was a hit from her ‘Beyoncé: The Visual Album’ release last month. Paired with wine hued lips and a subtle smoky eye, this look gets 10s across the board.
Taylor Swift in Gucci
Fashion
Taylor Swift glittered in this silvery Gucci number. The chain mail gown fit her body like a glove and I love the sheer detail at the neckline. The whole look is classy and incredibly beautiful. Taylor’s laid back ponytail and light pink lip were the perfect compliment.
Amber Rose in Naeem Khan
Fashion

Interior Design: Inspired Neutral Statement

Subtle design is not the lesser art

Interior Design

As someone who reads a lot about interior design, I frequently come across interior photos where I think “wow, that’s really intriguing and stunning,” and simultaneously, “I could never do anything like that in my home.”

The conversation about interiors is often dominated by assertive aesthetics. This makes sense: a room that effectively uses a bright color or a space done up in stark monochrome (trending of late) will grab more attention and attract more eyes than a more discreet one.

But there’s a difference between repinning something on Pinterest and choosing to live with it for many years. I’ll never have a space that’s highly stylized because I have too many beloved objects – art, photos, family heirlooms – that I want to highlight. I want those things to speak to my personality, and I don’t want them overshadowed by too many bright colors or ornamental wallpaper.

Neutral gets a bad name because it’s seen as a default, and a middle-brow, highly-commoditized one at that. But a good neutral interior is anything but unrefined. Creating such a space can be broken down into three main components.

Structure

 

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Interior Design and Fashion: Mixing Things Up

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Maki Oh

Designer Maki Osakwe knows how to mix it up and her collection Maki Oh is a testament to women’s fearlessness and complexities. The Nigerian designer grew up in the bustling city of Lagos and witnessed power dressing to the max. After dabbling in design as a child (inspired by her mother) Maki went on to formulate her own line, driven by modernity and cultural influences.

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The liveliness of Lagos is seen in Maki Oh’s eclectic collection. For her latest offering- Spring 2014- there’s a healthy dose of sheer, paint splatter, athleticism and ladylike appeal. And it’s wonderfully cohesive to boot. Maki says there’s a hidden meaning behind each piece, which draws inspiration from decades ago when Nigerian women used their clothing to pass messages to others. This line also cares about the environment. Maki uses fabric that is organically dyed on silks and cottons as opposed to industrial paint dying. There’s a passion for sustainability and every part of the design process is done on Nigerian soil.

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The shining stars of this collection are as diverse as the line itself. An off the shoulder knee length dress boasts puffed sleeves and a sheer skirt. It’s equal parts artistic and whimsical. Another look features an athletic-inspired top with peplum sleeves in a graphic print, reminiscent of chipped paint. The rest of the look is comprised of a high waisted silk trouser with a tad bit of colorblocking under the knee. The details are both evident and discreet, loud yet bashful, mysterious but sweet: much like the duality of a woman. At the core, Maki Oh embodies the freedom of defining your own beauty.  Women want to express all sides of themselves and with this line there’s no need to choose. I’d like to see these pieces at the Fall ready-to-wear shows next month, opening night at an exhibit or pretty much any NYC event. They’ll do quite nicely in my closet.

Kara Mann

Interior designer Kara Mann does for spaces what Maki Oh does for the body. Her work is multifaceted: daring, strong, sexy, worldly and edgy. And sweet. The New York City and Chicago based designer creates distinctive interiors by mixing modern and traditional. Here are some standouts from a few spaces she’s worked on.

Table Toppers

Interior Design

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Interior Design: Life Through Rose Colored Glasses

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Red was the standout color at this year’s Golden Globes. New actress turned fashion icon Lupita Nyong’o donned a super chic off-the-shoulder Ralph Lauren cape in bold scarlet.  Her fierce cropped ‘do acted as a great compliment to the elegant look. Aaron Paul’s wife Lauren Parsekian was ravishing in a sexy lipstick red Burberry gown accentuated with a bit of bling and her golden locks. Actress Amy Adams switched it up with a two toned Valentino that showed off her fit arms and perfect porcelain skin. The color red is associated with energy, strength and power so it’s no mistake that it’s been a red carpet fave. Who can forget Nicole Kidman’s iconic Balenciaga gown that she wore to the 2007 Academy Awards? Talk about epic. Not strutting down a red carpet anytime soon? No worries, here are some surefire ways to kick your outfit and home up a notch with red’s bold accent.

Red Accessories

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For everyday style, I love red accessories paired with a neutral outfit like grey or camel. It’s unexpected and never overdone. Try the season’s hottest topper: the fedora. This deep burgundy one from River Island is a hit with a blazer, jeans and boots. Try this Mulberry belt with a denim on denim outfit for a cool pop of color. Over the weekend, these Miu Miu shades are a winner. For night, pump up your little black dress with a colorblocked scarlet and creme quilted leather Miu Miuclutch. When traveling, a vibrant iPad case like this one from Gucci, makes it easy to find in your carryall.

Red Beauty Products

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Minimal Design For The New Year

One thing that always comes to mind during a new year, besides making a list of goals, is starting from a clean slate. Organizing my apartment, throwing out things that are causing clutter and getting in the way of me being my best. There’s a refreshing feeling that comes with things that are minimal. You have no distractions and it’s easy to point out the most beautiful and important aspect.

While searching for the minimal and the beautiful, I came across Brooklyn jewelry designer Fay Andrada. Each piece in Fay’s collection is unique and exquisite. Her inspiration lies in handmade tradition and her goal is to create modern artifacts. With her innovative line, Fay has mastered the art of simplicity. Her work is unbothered and almost zen-like, Here are a few of my favorite things:

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Inspired by Eclecticism

Eclecticism derives from the Greek “eklektikos” which loosely translates to knowing to choose what’s best for the soul. The concept originally related to ancient philosophers, selective in picking out doctrines that fit their reasoning, today embraces art, architecture, religion, music and medicine among others.

The capital of Hungary, Budapest, is a good example for eclecticism in architecture. The city blends in different historical styles and is well known for its eclectic-style buildings and interiors that are a good source of inspiration and fresh ideas for interior design and home decoration.

The capital of Hungary, Budapest, is a good example for eclecticism in architecture

The House of Parliament in Budapest is one of the most remarkable combinations of neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance style.

The House of Parliament in Budapest

An eclectic mix of styles is often reflected in fine and decorative arts. Eclecticism is a preferable approach for everyone who is not afraid of changes, likes to experiment with aesthetics and combine different styles. Mixing antique pieces with modern elements adorns each room and produces harmonious and inspiring interiors.

This is an image of the room that incorporates techniques from a diverse range of styles. Irregular black and white stripes reminiscent of a barcode create impression of the lack of precision. Adornments and touches of gold along with 1930’s chair, modern-style mirror, white fireplace and plastic rocking chair designed by Henrik Pedersen make it a truly unique interior.

Room designed by Henrik Pedersen

Eclecticism likes to experiment with colors and shades juxtaposed in original and fresh combinations.

A Moroccan rug BB3689

Eclecticism does not hold rigidly to a single style. It represents a combination of a variety of influences and its only peculiarity lies in the ability to draw on different techniques that can yield aesthetic and unique arrangements.

Eclecticism

Its attractiveness resides in its very personal style that can be spiritual, sensual, dramatic, eccentric or colorful.

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Essential Architecture

Rectangles and Squares: Corners, Lines and Design

At an art fair last week, I saw a portrait of Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. I didn’t notice at first, but a second look revealed that Dorothy’s hair and features were entirely composed of squares and rectangles – she was a girl made of cubes, but an unmistakable one nonetheless. I didn’t buy it, but it struck me as an interesting statement on the post-modern, pop culture-focused, digitized reality we live in.  On a related note, tattoos inked in pixilated-style  are increasingly cropping up on my Pinterest feed.

As citizens of the industrialized, computerized world, the rectangle is the basic structure of our lives – it’s the shape of the homes and offices we inhabit, and it’s the shape of the smallest components (pixels) of the images that travel across the screens we stare into.

Pixels

Our saturated exposure to this four-sided shape affects our perception in ways we aren’t even aware of. Take for instance this optical illusion:

which line

Which line is longer? Researchers discovered that typically Americans perceive the line with the ends pointed out as longer than the one with two arrowheads. This is because we live in spaces with linear construction, and that influences the way we perceive angles, i.e. this is how we usually perceive those lines:

house lines

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Interior Design: Looking Ahead

More 2014 Trends: Fabulous Floral

Nowadays, trends come and go at the speed of a good broadband connection. Thanks to our ever-expanding Internet connectedness – especially with the explosion of meme culture and aggregators like Pinterest – it keeps getting harder to predict which trends will carry through the coming year. Twelve whole months?! Try twelve minutes.

There are plenty of forecasting pieces floating around right now (a good round up of interior predictions can be found here. But one trend I believe will continue to have real impact in the new year is a giant crop of flowers – I’m talking big ones – on furniture, walls and textiles.

Comme Des Garcons

 

There was no shortage of pretty petals this fall at the spring 2014 runway shows. And where interiors are concerned, don’t expect your grandma’s boring floral armchair: Giant flowers can be very, very cool.

Interior Junkie                                             Via: Interior Junkie

A huge bloom on a dark background would seem like a loud statement, but I love the muted beauty of this and the sense of quiet it evokes – perfect for a bedroom.

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Fashion and Interiors: Easy Elegance

For those who enjoy a sophisticated, minimal style, you will surely fall in love with Valentina Kova. Valentina started off as a jewelry designer in 2011 and for the Fall 2013/2014 season, she expanded her brand to include a womenswear collection, made entirely of Italian leather and silk. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valentina studied classical art before moving to the states to attend Parsons. She then went on to study at La Cambre in Brussels before moving to Paris, where she worked closely with jewelry designer Natalia Brilli. After a three year stint teaching at Parsons in New York, Valentina decided to put her innovative ideas to work and start her own line. Her designs are for the woman who is confident and classy, with a bit of spunk. Valentina’s clean aesthetic is a breath of fresh air: classic silhouettes mixed with new-age flair. I had the chance to both view and try on the new Spring 2014 collection, housed at premier pr agency, The Collective (founded by Alex Dickerson and Erin Kelly). I was immediately struck by the line’s craftsmanship and luxurious feel.  Pieces on my must-have list include a long silk trench in cobalt blue, a sleek black leather skirt with sheer cutouts and the Spring/Summer staple: an fiery cutout silk maxi dress. The collection is pure luxury and the world has taken notice. Valentina’s work has been featured in Nylon, Harper’s Bazar Russia and Glamour Mexico, among others. Lady Gaga was spotted in a silk lipstick red jumpsuit, looking more sophisticated than I’ve ever seen her.

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