The final day of The La Cienega Design Quarter Legends event -- an event filled with two days of panels, book signings, open houses and lectures all along La Cienega's design quarter between Beverly and Santa Monica Boulevards -- kicked off at 9:30 a.m., a bit of an early start for those attendees who’d closed down the Tribute party at Lee Stanton’s the night before. “Next year, I’m asking for a later slot,” joked moderator and Elle Decor editor-in-chief Michael Boodro at the keynote panel in Dragonnette’s sunny courtyard. But the early hour didn’t prevent him from getting things off to a spirited start, leading interior designers Kim Alexandriuk, Timothy Corrigan, Alex Papachristidis and Madeline Stuart in a lively discussion about the fickle, fascinating and ever-changing nature of style.
Over on Melrose Place, early birds snagged a seat in the courtyard of Jean de Merry to listen to James Huniford, Tim Clarke and Jane Hallworth, led by Dering Hall's Peter Sallick, debate the effects social media has had on how they conduct business. Latecomers -- many of whom, including Ginna Christensen, director of Mark Phillips Rugs, had stopped by Gina Berschneider Furniture for California Homes topper Susan McFadden’s conversation on upholstery with Christian May, Marcie Bronkar and Ian Noonan -- crowded into the showroom, perching on the pieces of Azadeh Shladovsky's new furniture collection on display.
“It’s vibrant, fun and a bit steamy and we wouldn’t want it any other way,” exclaimed Pam Jaccarino, Luxe Magazine’s editor-in-chief, welcoming colleagues to the magazine’s lunch in the courtyard of Marge Carson. While most of the crowd, including Jo Campbell-Fujii, publisher of Luxe Interiors + Design, window designers Andrea Michaelson, David Scott, Larry Rizkowsky and Lori Dennis, WhoWhatWear.com co-founder Katherine Power, Ron Ortiz of I. Grace and AD100 designer Donna Livingston, gathered outside, eating salads from colorful Chinese takeaway containers and mingling under white umbrellas, writer Ronda Rice Carman, based out of Scotland, and California Home + Design editor-in-chief Erin Feher, showing off her baby bump and an armful of tattoos, were among the guests who escaped the heat for the cool recesses of the store and its plump, pillowed couches.
For those who’d misjudged the amount of standing the well-attended event was demanding, the fact that the afternoon’s first panel was just next door at the dusky yellow and pale blue Szalon space was an even better treat than the brownies that had been served at lunch. Samantha Brooks, senior contributing editor of Robb Report Home & Style, talked luxury with Joan Behnke, Grant Kirkpatrick and the mop-haired David Wiseman, who could only stammer “I’m so lucky” over and over again when Brooks questioned him on the secrets to his success.
High-heeled guests who were able to grab a shuttle for the multi-block distance to the final keynote at Tufenkian Artisan Carpets also felt lucky. There were a few brave souls who hoofed it, taking in the windows on their walk south. “What is lovely is how each designer’s interpretation of the theme is utterly unique,” observed designer Jane Hallworth. Inside the rug store’s generous space, Feher led an informative and well-researched talk -- rumor has it panelists Jamie Bush, Trip Haenisch and James Radin were given homework -- on the evolution of West Hollywood from its humble beginnings as a farming community to the epicenter of the gay community and design it is today. Across the boulevard, at Baker Furniture, House Beautiful editor-in-chief Newell Turner had plucked Jon Call, Tyler Dawson and Catherine Kwong from his blog roll to share their tricks for navigating the increasingly important social media landscape.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Kelly Wearstler’s Melrose store was packed with pretty young things and design bloggers -- Alissa Swedlow of The Goods Design, Ashlina Kaposta of Decorista, Coco of CocoCozy and Cassandra Lavalle of Coco + Kelley were among the gathering -- waiting for her to autograph their copy of her fourth title, Chromatic Rhapsody. Mark D. Sikes stopped by Nathan Turner’s book signing for Nathan Turner’s American Style: Classic Design and Effortless Entertaining at Mecox and received a margarita and a round of applause for his work in the store’s window. Veranda magazine founder Lisa Newsom, Patrick Dragonette, and Elizabeth Barondes, Kelly Morris and Laura Fine of Barondes-Morris also joined the gathering, which proved so popular the store stayed open for over an hour past its usual closing time.
The final panel of the day, in the tented back space at Harbinger, led by Mat Sanders of the newly-launched DomaineHome.com in conversation with Carman and two of the subjects, designer Malcolm James Kutner and Harbinger owner and designer Joe Lucas, whose homes grace her first book, Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living, was an entertaining finish to what felt like a multi-day party. After the panel, guests -- including dotcommers Coco of CocoCozy, Nicole Gibbons of So Haute, and Kelly Lee of Kelly Golightly (an LCDQ Social Media Ambassador); designer David Scott; Molly Luetkemeyer and her staff; Mika Onishi, COO of Clique Media which owns WhoWhatWear.com and DomaineHome.com; and Anthony Buccola, owner of Antonio’s Bella Casa -- spilled onto the main floor of the store for Help Me Rhonda cocktails (Hendricks Gin, soda, cucumber and a few grinds of black pepper) before heading across the street to the just-opened Sherle Wagner space, where a Cirque du Soleil contortionist in the front window drew gasps from the throngs waiting to get in. Lee Stanton, La Cienega Design Quarter president, surveying the large happy crowd enjoying their Moscow Mules, summed up the general mood: “This year we knocked the creative spirit out of the park.”