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Designers

Perhaps I’m naive but I believe good design incorporates a space that functions well.

This is why I completely disagree with the finale (SPOILERS ahead) of the NBC show “American Dream Builders”.  Looking at their Facebook page, I’m not the only one.

Earlier, I wrote about why I enjoyed the show.

They should change the name of the show because there was nothing about Lukas’s beach house that worked for the clients.

The job of a decorator/interior designer is to address the needs of the client.  He did not do that.   All Lukas talked about was his vision. He is talented but Jay should have won.

On what planet is it a good idea to paint a beach house in SOUTHERN California black?  It’s not edgy.  A black shingled house in Maine, or Martha’s Vineyard, that could be cool.  Does Lukas know that that the light is different in New England compared to the Southern Californian  Coast? One of the judges said the house looked like it had been in a fire.

Also, Lukas did not deal with any of the design flaws of his house.  That kitchen was awkward.

This a beach house for a multigenerational family.  Their reaction at the reveal was priceless.  I adore mid-century design and would use it in a beach house but would mix it up.

Nate kept saying Lukas was forward-thinking.  Has Nate ever been to IKEA? I know he has traveled to Europe.  This beach house would work for a single person with no kids who never entertains.

Nate raved about Lukas’s $30 chandelier.   Again, this is in a beach house.  I go to a beach house to relax.   Who’s going to clean it and replace the light bulbs?  It’s not functional.

This room.  Where are the young children going to hang out?

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Nice to look at.  Wouldn’t want to sit there for a long meal.   What is that statue about in the corner?

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Not relaxing.  These chairs would be fab in a loft apartment, not at the beach.

View More: http://americandreambuilders.pass.us/adbif the Neighborhood Council voted for the finale winner, Jay would’ve won hands down.    Elaine was eliminated for her red family room because it didn’t fit the décor of the rest of the house, but Lukas can win the whole competition for this house?  Please.

If they didn’t want a home builder to win, don’t put them in the competition.

I don’t know if the series has been renewed for a second season.  It’s a shame that the finale was such a disappointment but I enjoyed the earlier episodes.

 

 

 

There has been great deal of press about the new Design Director of Tiffany & Co., Francesca Amfitheatrof.  She is the first woman to have this position at the storied American jewelry company.  The job had been vacant for five years. Ms. Amfitheatrof had some big shoes to fill.

Ms. Amfitheatrof, who trained with a master silversmith in Padua after college, has created pieces for Chanel, Alessi, and Fendi.  She was born in Japan to an Italian mother and a Russian-American father, who was a TIME bureau chief, and grew up in New York, Rome, London, and Moscow.

I love her new collection for Tiffany.  This bracelet is so simple and so chic.

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18 karat rose gold bracelet

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Narrow Wire 18 karat white gold bracelet

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18 Karat gold braclet

I have read some comments claiming that this collection is not all that.  It’s TOO simple, “Hello it’s just a T. My kid could do that.”   I cringe when I hear people make those kind of statements about any kind of creative endeavor.

The simpler something is, the easier it is to mess it up.  Look at Cacio e Pepe, not many ingredients but a difficult dish to execute well.  There are no bells and whistles to hide imperfections.  Every single ingredient has to be of excellent quality.

It’s is the same thing with these bracelets (yes, I just compared high-end jewelry to a simple Roman pasta dish).

You can wear these bracelet with many different styles of clothing.  I think they are destined to become classics like some of Elsa Peretti’s pieces.   The Tiffany T bracelet is the very definition of Stylish Simplicity.

Photos: Tiffany

The American series AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS started airing this week in Italy on the channel LEI.

Hosted by Nate Berkus, it’s a mash up between EXTREME MAKEOVERS and TOP DESIGN.  I have always wondered about the reality of the former.  They do a lot of structural changes.  How well was the construction, plumbing, and electrical work executed when they have only a week to demolish and rebuild?  Could the owners afford the increase in property taxes?  So many questions.

One thing I really like about this show is that two teams work on two houses from a similar era and/or style.  It’s compelling to see how the teams agree (or not) on an overall aesthetic for their house and then how the individual designers design their rooms.

There is a mix of designers, contractors, and landscape architects.  Of course, there are some strong personalities.  Reality TV would be boring without them.

We are three episodes in and so far it’s fantastic.  The show is entertaining and educational.  Décor is very subjective but it’s interesting to hear the judges explain why they believe a room doesn’t work.  Sometimes it’s a design issue.  For example, the team did not address the layout issues.  Other times, it’s about the décor.  Those debates get heated.

I cannot wait to see who wins.  There are some very talented designers on this show.

I woke up today to the news that one of the most important fashion designers of our time had passed away.

Despite his five decades in the industry, de la Renta was not one to live in the past.  He made classic, yet contemporary clothes.  It is rare to see a designer dress society ladies, Fortune 500 ladies, movie stars of all ages, and women who are not famous nor rich but love beautiful things.

Born in the Dominican Republic, he apprenticed at Balenciaga, under Cristóbal himself (unreal), and at Lanvin under Antonio Castillo.  I know a lot of people dismiss fashion as silly.  Perhaps some people in fashion are over the top but to me fashion is very interesting because it’s a combination of art, craft, and commerce.

There are so many celebrities out here on these streets calling themselves designers.  Please.

De la Renta was truly a designer.  He made clothes.  Beautifully.

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Mr. de la Renta will be missed.

Dolce & Gabbana have been knocking it out of the park.

I did read one review from a UK fashion critic who complained that D&G were tapping the Sicilian well too often.  She was RELIEVED to see that their S/S 2015 was influenced by Spain.

Hello, Spain ruled Sicily from 1516-1713.  This is still a Sicilian inspired collection.

There were a lot of bold red dresses and fitted black ones, but this black and white dress is one of my favorites.  Of course, I could never wear it as I’m too short and my breasts are too big.  But I love it.

The trim is beautiful.  I could see using something like it in home décor as well.

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Photo: Dolce & Gabbana

Buon weekend a tutti!

As always, one of my favorite shows from this week’s NYFW Spring 2015 was Carolina Herrera’s.

She somehow makes classic clothes that are fresh, not dated or matronly.

To see photos from her collection, check out Tom and Lorenzo.

I’ve been looking at mosaics tiles for a client’s potential bathroom renovation.

I’m curious to know the influence for this dress.  How is it constructed?   Where would one wear a dress like this?   On the red carpet?  Or perhaps it would be prefect for a fashion-forward bride at her high-end outdoor wedding in a French or Italian villa.

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Buon weekend a tutti!

 

Sicily is known for its hand painted pottery.

Like the cuisine, each region has it’s own style.   I have to ask Erica where she bought her octopus plate.  I think it was somewhere near Cefalù.

As I have stated before, I have no more room in my apartment, so I was only able to buy a few small bowls.

I used one of the them in the photos that Gina took of the terrace project I worked on.

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The larger blue and white bowl and the little eggshell one (for salt or jam) were bought at a small workshop located right on my street.  Ceramiche Artiginali DoLù, Via Larga, 7 Ortigia  +39 0931 449451

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The other bowls were bought at a tiny store on the island of Salina.  It was located on the main street in Malfa.  The owners told me Dolce & Gabbana bought quite a few pieces from them.  You can see the influence in their S/S 2013 collection.

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Speaking of that collection, please note my fellow Americans that the black versions of these kings and queens are not the same thing as Mammy imagery from America.  Context is important when looking through our very specific American lens of a different culture, history, and country.  I was annoyed that their runaway (like most) had no diversity.

I say this as someone who gave Gladys Knight the side-eye when she became a spokeswoman for Aunt Jemina back in the day.  I didn’t care that AJ’s handkerchief was replaced with a relaxer.   I knew that context of that brand.

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Taken from the terrace of the Metropole Hotel, Taormina, Sicily.

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Photos Dolce and Gabbana:  Fashionista

Other photos. Me and my iPhone

 

 

 

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