Category Archives: Designing Women

Designer Dossier: Fawn Galli

Every once in a while, my design life takes a turn for the awesome. That’s what happened when I, recently had the opportunity to meet designer Fawn Galli.  Her design style is edgy, chic and whimsical and it seems that rather than creating rooms, Galli creates spaces that are more like worlds where her clients can retreat from the stress of daily life. Since she appeared in Domino in 2008, I have long admired her design style. Today in Design Wonderland, she  is sharing her insights and inspirations.

Meet Fawn Galli

Design Background:  Fawn refined her eye while traveling and studying abroad, after which she landed a job in the European Furniture department at Christie’s. She went on to work for the renowned design studios of Robert A.M. Stern and Peter Marino.

What Dictates her Design Style: First and foremost, the client’s taste, followed by space and light.

Artists that Inspire: Damien Hirst and Cindy Sherman. “Edge gives edge,” she said when I asked her why she looks to these two artists.

midas and the infinite, damien hirst

cindy sherman’s Untitled Film Still #3 (1977)  

What she loves right now: Disco, Fashion and  French Furniture from the 1970′s because they add glamour, sparkle and use great materials like bronze metals and combine silver with lucite.

loulou de la falaise, yves st laurent, and betty catroux

Favorite Colors: Fuchsia and Emerald

outtakes from the house beautiful shoot via fawn galli

What learning about Decorative Arts Taught Her:  Antiques and vintage pieces bring soul to a space.  Those pieces have a story and bring a richness to a room.

Every Room Needs: “Fantasy- a hint of something that seems like it doesn’t quite fit.”

Advice to a young designer: Having taken a nontraditional route to interior design, Fawn said, that  a young designer should, Keep [their] eye on all the details.” In addition, she said, “Make sure you are always learning and work for a studio where you can gain broad range of experience.”

My conversation with Fawn left me feeling elated, like I had just met a kindred design spirit. If you have been reading this blog for a while, then you know that I rattle on and on about my love of disco and my adoration for the 1970′s in general (one of my favorite books is The Beautiful Fall). I have to give a great big thanks to Fawn Galli for taking time out of her schedule to sit down and share her insights with me!



Monday’s Muse

After watching the Halston documentary, Ultrasuede, I’ve grown increasingly fond of the fabulousness that is  jewelry designer Elsa Peretti, especially images of her from the 1970′s. In a funny way, with her combo of stylish ease and oversized frames, her look reminds me of  the style my mom and her sisters had in the 70′s. It’s clearly something that I have always loved.

{images via pinterest}

See what I mean… FABULOUS! She’s trained as an interior designer (which means I already have a soft spot for her talent), but clearly she’s living proof that a designer with vision can create anything.


The Aspirational Interiors of Muriel Brandolini

I have found myself completely drawn to the the work of  Muriel Brandolini. I just cant take my eyes of it. Her work fuses together a beautiful eclectic mix of design elements with lots of imagination. As a designer, she reminds me that design should be about reflecting a well-lived life but that is a wonderful thing to be able to inject a sense of spirit and play into interior design.

I’m really  excited about her  new book,The World of Muriel Brandolini and I can’t wait to flip through it’s pages and soaking up a lot of inspiration (and, yes, there is a deluxe edition). And coinciding with the release of the book there is a panel discussion on and a viewing and auction of  the high design pieces used in Brandolini’s work at the famed Phillips de Pury. This October, I can’t wait to take a journey  to the magical world of Muriel Brandolini.

Wear Me

Today I can’t think of anything better to distract me from another visit to my new dentist than looking at fashion. I’ve been scouring the to see the latest. While I was perusing, of course, I checked out Kelly Wearstler’s  latest for Spring 2012.


I have  to say one of the things I like best about fashion is actually seeing a collection a designer looks like they would wear.   I’m adding Kelly Wearstler to my list of faves which  also includes Rachel Roy and Cushnie et Ochs. With the showing of her latest collection, I am more and more inspired to head to Bergdorf Goodman (since I can do that so easily now) to see her  lifestyle collection up close and personal.

Kelly Wearstler, Fashion Designer?

While doing my normal post-NYFW peruse, I stumbled upon an unusual name in the fall fashion roundup, Kelly Wearstler. Yes, the ever-evolving interior design doyenne is bringing her design sense to the fashion world.  DWJ, first brought this to my attention when she mentioned a WWD article and I can’t help but think that this woman is living my life, if you discount the uber-successful design firm and eccentric outfits part. Perhaps,  rather, it’s the life I’d like to lead with the  the uber-successful design firm, eccentric outfits and fashion line part. I’m not sure  which one befits me and DWJ lovingly indulged my fantasies “Big Dreams”, and like her, I think you get my drift too.

Anyhoo, here’s a peak at her debut A/W 2011 line:

Wearstler’s collection will be available through Bergdorf Goodman, the same NYC retailer that house’s the KW designed restaurant BG and the shop that sells her home accessories line. The line will also feature fashion accessories, as well.

{images via}

I can picture KW wearing the entire collection,  and of course, there’s more than a few pieces that I’d like to own (black and white coat or pink striped top and bubble skirt anyone?).  Tell me your thoughts. Are you ready to don attire by Wearstler? What do you think of the line? Check out the entire line here.

That Girl: Jackie Peters Cully

Once, my mother told me a story about how, as a child,  she wanted to be a fashion designer. Upon relaying that dream to her elementary school teacher, her teacher told her that dream was impossible, as there were no black  women designers.  Um…Can you say dream killer? Of course that information was not true but neither teacher nor my mother would be able to find that out until much later. Though this story makes me sad when I think about it, at the same time, inspires me to further push my self to accomplish my own artistic and creative dreams . My hope is that every person creative dream can can envision themselves being successful working in their chosen field. That’s why it always fascinates me when I find out about women designers of whom I have never heard, even after countless hours of art and design history classes.

Recently, I stumbled upon this story from an Ebony Magazine from 1968, about Jackie Peters (later Jackie Peters Cully). Peters Cully attended school at the School of the Art Institute  of Chicago with the intention of being an art teacher, but before long she was off to Paris studying Fashion at the  esteemed Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. (FYI : Both Karl Lagerfeld and Yves St Laurent both walked those same halls. ) With depth and honesty, Peters she talks about how her journey from fashion led to her successful career as a prominent Seventh Avenue textile designer and stylist. Here’s a hint: there’s a bit of rejection and  a few roadblocks  on that journey. I have come to realize that most creative people face  both of those on their paths to success. As I myself have learned, the artistic path is definitely not straight.

{images via ebony magazine}

As seen above in these day in life images, Jackie Peters Cully worked through all phases, from concept to color trending to approving strike-offs to meeting with clients. According to the article  her creative eye was always tuned in to what was on trend or ahead of the trend in fashion and designers often came to HM Kolbe, the textile studio for which she worked, for the “Jackie Peters look.” As a black woman working on Seventh Avenue as a textile designer, Jackie Peters Cully was big news but for  a high-end textile firm HM Kolbe, Jackie’s talent was even bigger. At the time, with Peters Cully at the creative helm, the firm would bring in about $12 million a year. I wonder how many little girls reading this story and thought, ” I want to do that.”  A story like this would have been right up my alley. Actually as a young designer, it’s still right up my alley.

“We Don’t Embroider Cushions Here.”

That lovely dose of sexism are the words architect Le Corbusier said to Charlotte Perriand when she walked into his atelier inquiring about a job. When he saw her work in person, he soon changed his mind, inviting her to work with him as a part of his practice. Little did he know Perriand’s work in his studio would her to create the iconic furniture pieces and interior spaces for which  Le Corbusier”s studio is known.

{image via dezeen}

Currently, I’m reading the autobiography of  designer Charlotte Perriand, entitled A Life of Creation. I find myself inspired by her passion for design (spanning jewelry, furniture, architecture and interiors), her work ethic as well as her unapologetic free spirit ( a butterfly as she describes herself). It turns out, she was also a photographer as well. I can’t wait until this book comes out next year.

{image via beach bungalow 8}

It’s always interesting to read someone’s story, hearing their struggles and victories. By reading Perriand’s words, I also have learned that my yearnings  to do more, learn more, experiment more in the  name of design are completely natural.  It can sometimes feel like I’m all over the place and it must have been the same for her especially practicing in a time and in  field with very few women. I am  more inspired to keep exploring my creative voice in design. Hmmm….what should I learn , do, or see next?

Weekend Wishes: Biba at Home

I’m obsessed. In fact, there’s no other, nice way to put it except, obsession. So what am I obsessed with? Biba and all things Barbara Hulanicki. Biba style is fitting in with this art deco, glam, 60′s-70′s thing I’m in midst of at the moment.  That’s a mouthful, but that’s where I am right now.

{images via 20th century fashion and miss dandy}

I love these Illustrations of the Biba lounge and a Biba bedroom by Malcolm Bird.

They are just beautiful and totally remind me that I need to pick  up a pen and pencil sometime this weekend. These illustrations really pick up on the over -the -top glam that I find so inspiring about Biba. I totally know this is a lot of decor and I’m a proponent of distilling it down a bit. For me, I can’t get enough of  those walls! Luckily Biba founder, and designer Barbara Hulanicki has designed a beautiful wallpaper collection for Graham and Brown. I would love to use these luxe papers for a project.

Here’s a few of my deco-inspired faves:

18103-Diva Oyster3

{diva in oyster}

18105-Hula charcoal4

{hula in black and silver}


I love the graphic lines and the interest they would add to a room and the collection provides the perfect back drop to layer textures. I may even use subtle patterns  in the same color family mixed with a contrasting color pop to layer as well. It would be like  wearing the perfect Biba outfit.

Hmmm…All this Biba talk makes me want to go thrift store and vintage  shopping!

Have a Happy Weekend!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin