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Style & The City
Laura Eckstein, Roopika Malhotra and Maile Pingel | Photo: Melissa Valladares | February 28, 2014
Proving that impeccable taste crosses disciplines, these fashionable designers are setting trends left and right.
“I’m very self-taught,” jokes Estee Stanley, the stylist responsible for dressing some of Hollywood’s ace players and their larger-than-life homes. “But I enjoy learning so much every day.” In fact, it’s the SoCal native’s lack of formal training and natural bohemian aesthetic that have garnered her a high-profile clientele including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, and Lea Michele. “When I was first starting out as a fashion stylist, I’d invite people to my house to try on clothes,” she explains. “Before long, everyone was asking me to help them decorate their homes as well.” Now Stanley is leaving her mark for the rest of us to relish. She recently redesigned the pool at the iconic Beverly Hilton with crisp white towels, patterned blue-and-white pillows and dozens of lemon trees. “I want guests to feel as though they’re lounging in someone’s backyard, not a hotel,” she says. “It should be a place you want to hang around all day long.” And she is currently decorating chef Ludo Lefebvre’s Trois Mec offshoot, Petite Trois, located adjacent to the wildly successful original. “They’re definitely more uniform than I’m used to, with all the same chairs and tables,” she says. “But in the bathrooms, I’m liking something more wild and colorful, like wainscoting mixed with patterned wallpaper, and bright tiles everywhere.” Of course, couture clothing will continue to inspire Stanley’s eye. “A home or restaurant is obviously a bigger canvas to work with,” she says. “But when I see beautiful tassels or embroidered details on a runway, they might just end up on a pillow on your couch.” Here, the woman of many talents shares what she’s coveting right now.
Jeffrey Alan Marks
“I believe in timeless interiors and timeless clothing,” says Santa Monica-based interior designer Jeffrey Alan Marks, adding, as one might expect of an internationally renowned tastemaker, “I don’t believe in trends.” They’re not something he follows, but rather something he creates—a design approach that’s won him the accolades of countless publications, a spot on Bravo’s hit show Million Dollar Decorators, and a celebrity clientele including Amber Valletta and Gillian Anderson. With furniture lines at Palecek and A. Rudin, he’s also at work on a new collection of textiles for Kravet, which you can expect to exude the designer’s signature ease.
For Marks, design is all about livability and a fresh spirit—nothing too precious, but it’s got to look good. “I take my work from the English country house and make it clean,” he explains. His designs are grand in their presentation (you know you’re someplace special), but outfitted in the most comfortable way. Marks is recognized for his use of natural woods and fabrics, a neutral palette, tailored edging and stripes and, if there’s a hallmark to be spotted in his work, touches of blue, his favorite color. If a home-design trend strikes your fancy, Marks suggests using it in a small amount, “so you can change it easily, much like fashion—a hat, a shoe, scarves, etc.” That’s sage advice from the man behind Brentwood’s Tavern Restaurant and The Hungry Cat in Santa Monica, now two icons of L.A.’s stylish dining scene. Trust a man who knows how to make a lasting impression.
When speaking to Azadeh Shladovsky, a few choice words permeate the conversation: truth, integrity, perspective and, perhaps most telling of all, no boundaries. “My name in Farsi means free will,” she reveals, an unsurprising moniker for the Los Angeles- and Madrid-bred designer. Best known for her sculptural furniture collection and modern-yet-classic interiors, she devotes equal attention to all projects; everything from a small yogurt shop in the Palisades to the home of an industry heavyweight gets her full focus. But what defines Shladovsky’s work—besides the natural, stream-of-consciousness way it evolves—is how it confronts definition and blurs the categorical lines between fashion, art and design. “In fashion, I love pushing the boundaries in structure and form in the same way I do with my work,” she says. Similar to the designers, architects and artists she admires (like Viktor & Rolf, Bless, Le Corbusier and Donald Judd), Shladovsky pays enormous respect to materials, both in her work and personal style. “Not overdesigning and being disciplined enough to let the materials speak for themselves is, in itself, an art form,” she says. That theme holds true in all of Shladovsky’s endeavors, including several current projects she hints at: a line of personal accessories upcycled from the sheepskin she uses for furniture, a lighting collaboration with D.C.-based ceramic artist Ani Kasten and a boutique hotel. As far as the details, admirers will have to wait. “The second you allow another voice in your head, it’s no longer yours,” muses Shladovsky. “The smallest reaction would affect me, so until a piece is tangible, I reveal almost nothing.” What a fitting statement for a truly enigmatic force.
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