When the doors opened for the first La Cienega Design Quarter event on Thursday -- the blogger breakfast at antiquarian Lee Stanton’s Los Angeles shop -- there was already a long line to get in. “It’s a wonderful way to start off a day packed with informative and exciting events,” noted Elaine Maltzman, director of marketing for top L.A. designer Timothy Corrigan. One of the event’s social media ambassadors, designer Alissa Swedlow of The Good Designs, remarked that the turnout showed how important social media has become: “My last client didn’t ask for references; she looked at my Pinterest and that’s really what said, 'This is the right designer for me.'”
The three-day design confab, now in its fifth year, brings together top designers and magazine editors for a full array of panels, parties and book signings that happen at design stores and showrooms on a chockablock stretch of La Cienega Boulevard between Beverly and Santa Monica boulevards.
Across the street, the Therien showroom was standing room only for House Beautiful editor-in-chief Newell Turner’s conversation with Carey Maloney about his new book Stuff: An Interactive Guide to Collecting and Decorating. Digital recognition software provides what Maloney notes is a “really snappy way to access a lot of information.” Just as crowded: the second keynote of the day, led by Luxe Interior+Design’s topper Pamela Jaccarino. Philip Gorrivan, Mark D. Stiles, Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield talked inspiration, citing Albert Hadley, David Hicks and Dorothy Draper as their top picks.
Breaking for lunch, design players trooped over to Rose Tarlow, sharing tables in the strong midday sun before retreating to the cool of the showroom’s comfortable furniture to rest aching feet. “It’s a really great opportunity to catch up with people you don’t get to see very often,” said Ginna Christensen of Mark Phillips Rugs. Afterward, at the tassel-bedecked Janet Yonaty space,Traditional Home publisher Beth Fuchs Brenner moderated as Thom Filicia, Oliver M. Furth and Molly Luetkemeyer debated the pros and cons of new versus vintage furnishings. Despite faulty microphones, the foursome managed to entertain. Everyone agreed with Furth, who said, “The biggest problem with new furniture is the finish.” Meanwhile, Susanna Salk regaled guests with stories of socialite and design icon C.Z. Guest, including, to publicist Rich Pedine’s delight, “the time she insisted on attending a Madonna concert.”
Over at the Woven Accents showroom, Anthony Barzilay Freund, editor of 1stDibs magazine Introspective, led a conversation with Peter Fetterman, Richard Shapiro and Cliff Fong (whose clients include Ryan Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi), sharing rooms made breathtaking by perfectly chosen art. Hollyhock and Mecox hosted design authors signing their latest books: Tim Street-Porter’s Doris Duke’s Shangri-La: A House in Paradise, an exquisite pairing of house and photographer, vibrates with the pattern and color of that storied retreat. His photographs also illustrate Florence de Dampierre’s detailed and informative Walls: The Best of Decorative Treatments. Ranches, Villas and Houses, capturing the calm of Texas architect Michael Imber’s work, includes the watercolor studies that initiate each project.
Over at Dragonette, Jeryl Brunner, signing copies of My City, My Los Angeles, a compilation of sightseeing suggestions from celebrities, was surprised when guests feted her with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.” They also took the opportunity to Instagram pictures with #flatMary, a cardboard cutout depicting interiors guru Mary McDonald who, unfortunately, could not attend.
The day ended as it had begun, with designers including Jane Hallworth (who has designed for Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst), Trip Haenisch, Jeff Andrews and Tamara Kaye-Honey crowded into Stanton’s courtyard, braving the occasional sprinkle of rain to eat, drink and mingle with “five hundred of my closest friends” noted designer Christian May, who also authors the popular blog Maison 21 and is joining Friday’s panel at Gina Berschneider, Inc. titled “The Go Go Years and Beyond: Re-creating Upholstery from Earlier Eras.”
Said Luetkemeyer, “It’s the design community’s spring break.” California Home & Design editor in chief Erin Feher, who’s moderating the highly anticipated final keynote Friday, “Go West Young Man” on the influence of gay men on design at Tufenkian Carpets, and who arrived late, chimed in, “It’s been worth the three-hour plane delay.”
The La Cienega Design Quarter’s Legends event continues today with a keynote featuring Dering Hall's Peter Sallick, a keynote with Robb Report's Samantha Brooks, book signings with Kelly Wearstler and Nathan Turner and a Legends final party.