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Riki Altman | Photo: Ellen Barnes | March 3, 2014
Here, three tastemakers elevating fashion and home design in the Valley share their stylish essentials.
In winter, interior designer Esther Boivin can be found in one color from head to toe. “In Canada, where I’m from, they wear a lot of black,” she explains. “[But come spring it’s] purple, yellow, pink, red—any color that makes me look good.” Her penchant for vivid hues can be attributed to her former career as an opera singer, when she would don one shocking shade to stand out against the orchestra. That musical past dictates how she decorates homes today. “I do design like I compose music,” Boivin says. “There’s always a pattern, a motif, throughout the whole piece. There has to be a connection around the rooms. I create a rhythm. I like to use a lot of textures and layers to make it rich and stimulating. Then I create a surprise… with a splash of unexpected color.” Boivin studied architecture as a teen, then traveled extensively to soak up culture and art. Later, after studying criminology and earning degrees in several languages, kinesiology and music, she was awarded a full scholarship with the Arizona State University Opera Performance Masters Program. Boivin became one of the state’s top performers, but her interest in design was rekindled when a real estate agent asked her to stage a few empty homes. Then, after formally studying design at a specialized school and joining an architecture firm, she founded Esther Boivin Interiors in 2010. Now that her reputation as an expert is solidified, she is diversifying yet again by creating a line of resortwear and coordinating a fundraising concert populated by talented local singers. “I like to do something bold,” she says. “I create emotion.”
Oscar De las salas
Colombian-born Oscar De las salas moved to Scottsdale in 1998 to write a thesis about Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin West, but somewhere along the path to finishing his master’s in international interior architecture from Salamanca University in Spain, he also became a fashion stylist, producer and blogger. “I have always been attracted to the worlds of design and fashion,” he says. “Creating is my hobby.” For proof of talent, dig up a photo of De las salas alongside supermodel (and fellow Scottsdale resident) Micheline Etkin at the 2014 Golden Globes. Her knockout look comprised approximately $2 million worth of jewels and a $35,000 black lace couture gown by Israeli designer Galia Lahav, both procured by the man with an eye for amazing design. “When I get a text from a friend asking if she should buy a certain dress, I say, ask yourself, ‘What would Oscar do?’” he explains. If the gal is at a big-box store, chances are he’ll give her a thumbs down. “Boutiques first and vintage stores. They’re curated by locals—not a corporation. Someone from New York doesn’t know Scottsdale.” But he’s quick to offer advice to those who haven’t aced their look. “It’s a process,” he concedes. “You don’t create style overnight. Cultivate it. Find what fits your body and your space. And always look for inspiration.”
Some say a book can’t be judged by its cover, but when it comes to Anita Lang, one look says it all: This gal’s got panache. “I like simple lines and forms, great materials and quality execution,” she explains. “My personal style is both feminine and powerful.” No scene illustrates her design ethos more effectively, perhaps, than watching Lang tear up the freeway astride her Ducati Monster 626, donning leather pants, wedge-heeled boots and her matte black helmet. The founder and principal designer at IMI Design Studio, Lang is also CEO of Design 528, a high-end furniture company she’s launching this year, and executive director of the Inspire Foundation, a nonprofit she started in 2006 to spearhead the renovation of Foundation for Blind Children’s East Valley campus. “My team and I had to go deeper to really impact these kids through other sensory stimulation, but it was a wonderful and rewarding challenge,” she says. Though she has lived around the world, Lang put down roots in Scottsdale because she found it to be a great incubator. “Early on I considered different disciplines of design, including fashion,” she says. “But I was always drawn to architecture and structural design. ... It gives me such satisfaction to know that my work has a consistent, positive emotional impact on people,” she says.
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