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The Style Savants
Michelle Pulfrey | Photo: Robert Benson | March 4, 2014
Meet three local trendsetters whose savvy tastes in fashion and home design raise the bar for O.C.’s sophisticated set.
There’s just something about the styles of the 1940s and ’50s that Courtney Herrmann finds captivating. “During that era, women looked so put together and glamorous, regardless of their daily activities,” says Herrmann. “Many of the garments were not only one of a kind, but the quality, fabrics and workmanship make them very special.” Now, Herrmann (who earned a degree in fashion from FIDM two years ago) designs her own high-fashion, vintage-inspired ensembles. Her personal style, she says, strikes “a balance between the sensibility of vintage quality, with a touch of contemporary fashion sense.” And that same sensibility is carried into the Herrmann home, where you’ll find an impressive selection of objets d’art and an abundance of fresh flowers—petals “bring cheer and color to our lives and into our home,” she notes. She credits her husband—Harald Herrmann, president of Specialty Restaurant Group of Darden, which includes the Yard House chain—for having impeccable taste. “Our home is filled with colorful and eclectic art,” she says. “We both believe that the interior design of a home should evoke emotion, a sense of adventure and a lasting impression.” She says she’s found some of her most interesting treasures and vintage clothing from antique shops. “One of my favorite stores is Elsewhere Vintage [in Old Towne Orange],” she says. “And the design team at Whim Home in San Juan Capistrano helped us decorate and find unique pieces that complement our style.”
Mark Pomerantz grew up traveling the world—as executive director of the Gemological Institute of America, his father attended conferences around the globe. “I had tuxedos and suits, and I loved accessorizing them with cuff links, tie bars and pocket squares,” he says. Fast-forward a few decades, and Pomerantz is outfitting some of the country’s best-dressed men in his own custom-designed fashions and accessories. But it didn’t happen overnight. After attending fashion school, Pomerantz worked all aspects of the industry—in P.R. for Valentino, as a buyer for Saint Laurent, in sales for Giorgio Armani and as a designer for Calvin Klein. “Everything became a learning experience,” says Pomerantz, who has homes on both coasts and an acute ability to tap into the style sensibilities of both cultures. “Putting on a suit and tie for business and social [events] in New York is expected,” he notes. “I find Southern California to be more expressive in creative design, patterns and colors, with a very tailored business-casual look.” His homes are filled with collectibles from his travels. “I like for it to feel like a luxury hotel—white linens and towels, live plants and fresh flowers,” he notes. Among his favorite places to shop: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and Archive in Laguna Beach. “They always have unique and rare vintage items,” he says of the latter. “I purchased my Parsons-style burled walnut dining room table there.”
She attended fashion school in New York, then cultivated her own sense of style while living in Brazil and Rome-and then Roberta Wood put it all into practice working for retailers such as Versace Jeans Couture, Gianni Versace and Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. “My first job [in Orange County] was with Emilio Pucci in South Coast Plaza,” says Wood. She was later offered the manager’s post at the Donna Karan New York boutique. “I have the pleasure of helping style beautiful women... and enjoy every day of my life doing what I love,” notes Wood, who adapts trends to match personal style. “Every woman should have the confidence to let their personalities guide their fashion choices.” She loves layering her Donna Karan pieces, then pairing the ensemble with a favorite Dior pump and her Bulgari Serpenti watch. “I can create a new look each time I wear the same items,” she says. When it comes to home decor, Wood and her husband favor an eclectic approach that incorporates keepsakes from their travels. “We blend life experience abroad, vivid imagination and genuine comfort to build a home we never want to leave,” she says. “The art is colorful and bright; the furniture is earth tone and functional; and flowers are everywhere. It’s amazing to see life blossom every day within our walls.”
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