Kelly Wearstler Introduces Apparel and Jewelry
Los Angeles-based interior designer and tastemaker Kelly Wearstler wears another hat this season, and it’s not the latest Stella McCartney straw or Gucci trilby. Wearstler dons the responsibilities of a fashion designer with a debut collection of ready-to-wear and accessories. According to Wearstler, this new role “is a natural evolution” of her already extensive repertoire of designer roles. She is best known for creating the lifestyle and design experiences for international and domestic resorts and hotels including the Viceroy properties in Santa Monica, Palm Springs, Miami and most recently, Anguilla; the Tides in Miami Beach as well as a re-design of the Avalon and Maison 140, both in Beverly Hills. Wearstler’s modern interiors are renowned for their unstudied sophistication and eclecticism.
Not to mention Wearstler’s enviable product lines – furniture and accessories designed exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman, an extensive collection of handmade carpets with The Rug Company, fabrics and trims with Groundworks at Lee Jofa, soft home goods with Sferra and dinnerware with Pickard China.
Her foray into fashion comes as no surprise, as she was named one of Vogue’s best-dressed, last year, for her distinctive style. Much like her personal style, Wearstler’s collection brings an interesting element of beauty to the contemporary world — one of global intensity, which reflects Wearstler’s signature use of texture and color.
NM: What was the original impulse behind the ready-to-wear and accessories’ collection?
KW: So much of my influence in my interior design work comes from fashion and vice versa. Creating the ready-to-wear and accessories’ collection feels like a natural evolution for me as a designer. I love learning and being challenged…and wow! I am being challenged.
NM: Is there anything fashion can learn from interior design?
KW: The first thing that comes to mind is timelessness and the idea that fashion moves so quickly. Texture, form, color, proportion – never go out of style. The last thing you want is your interior to fall out of style in 6 months. We always end up going back to the classics.
NM: Your passion for design is evident, not only in your interior design but also in what you wear. Where did your love for design first begin?
KW: I’ve been designing since I was a little girl. My mother always encouraged me. I had a little shop called the “bunny shop”. I would make drawings and small sculptures and sell them to my parents and grandparents. I still have many of these artifacts. So the designing and entrepreneurial side was always there. I went to art school and had an amazing internship with Milton Glaser in New York. I’d be so much less confident if it were not for all of those years immersed in learning.
NM: How would you describe your personal style?
KW: Unexpected. As a designer I’m constantly evolving and becoming more confident. In my home, as with my personal style, I am inspired by everything — fashion, travel, antiques, nature, art, my love for my husband and sons, technology…everything.
NM: What is the best advice you’ve received?
KW: My mother always told me to “follow my heart and to stay focused.”
NM: Who are your style icons, past or present?
KW: I’ve always admired Peggy Guggenheim for her witty and fearless style sensibility.
NM: What rules do you think are important in fashion?
KW: Have fun, be confident and fearless – the best ideas are born out of risk.
NM: Who are your favorite fashion designers?
KW: I have so many, but if I had to choose I would say Sonia Rykiel for her color sensibility, Yves Saint Laurent – he was so forward thinking and Cristobal Balenciaga for his incredible tailoring.
NM: What’s next for you?
KW: This fall my flagship boutique is opening in Los Angeles, I’m currently working on several residential projects in the U.S. and abroad, I’m working on my next book and I’m continuing to learn and love.
The Kelly Wearstler collection is available on NeimanMarcus.com and in Neiman Marcus stores.