Vogue CS in English

Kelly Wearstler: Don’t be afraid to break the rules

The epitome of modern glamour, Vogue’s one of ‘Top Ten Best Dressed’, and global maven of interior design, Kelly Wearstler, opens up to Denisa Palsha about bold fashion statements, beauty routines, tips from her Masterclass, and how she nails the design of iconic spaces around the world.
Foto: Archiv Kelly Wearstler
Foto: Archiv Kelly Wearstler
Foto: Archiv Kelly Wearstler
Kelly, you are a master of fearless design and mixology, combining vibrant colors, prints, and styles from various eras with such ease. What are your principles for interior design? 
Interior design is an alchemy of everything I am passionate about: fashion, art, graphics, architecture, textile design, landscape, history, and more.  For me, the design is storytelling, and every space has a unique and inspired narrative to tell. 
Your ‘more is more’ design signature style is going down in history as iconic. How do you describe it? 
My aesthetic is about taking risks. I have an affinity for the tension of opposites, juxtaposing the raw and refined, classic and contemporary, patterns, textures, and color. I always want to tell evocative stories, full of soul, incorporating mixology of materials and influences, and I like to create a sense of adventure.
Can you give away your best design advice? 
The scale is imperative! There has to be a hierarchy within a space. Too many starlets in one room create needless drama. The elements within a space should have a dialogue with one another, and there needs to be a balance. Quieter details are necessary to ground bigger voices and allow statement pieces to shine. 
What projects over the last three decades of your career have been particularly significant for you?
The Avalon in Beverly Hills is especially dear to me. It was my very first hotel.  This midcentury boomerang-shaped building, with its quintessential open-air California living, has a unique Hollywood vibe of the 1950s. Another space that gave me a real sense of accomplishment was the restaurant in the legendary Bergdorf Goodman in New York.  
Your online Masterclass has gone viral. Give us a teaser… 
I tried to take the mystery out of interior design, sharing the fundamentals on how to make beauty and functionality coexist. I am giving advice on finding your own voice, expressing your creativity with color, textures, lighting, furnishings, art, and architecture.  How to make the most out of small or awkward spaces, how to make a room sing with color.  My principles are to learn by doing, follow your inspiration, educate your eye, be open to exploring, and don’t be afraid to break the rules! 
Foto: © Kelly Wearstler: Evocative Style, Rizzoli New York, 2019
Foto: © Kelly Wearstler: Evocative Style, Rizzoli New York, 2019
Foto: © Kelly Wearstler: Evocative Style, Rizzoli New York, 2019
And your fifth book is out, what is it about? 
Evocative Style (Rizzoli NY), which launched last fall, as well as the limited edition of the book from earlier his year, gives great insight into my creative process. It is a display of some of my latest interior projects with personal anecdotes. 
I have a weakness for your online store: unconventional furniture items, light fixtures, rugs, wallpapers, even fabrics with your authentic prints! Where do you look for extraordinary pieces? 
I shop at vintage markets whenever I am traveling and make specific shopping trips to Paris every year. There are also amazing sources at home, here in LA. Some of my favorites are Future Perfect, The Window, and JF Chen. And virtually, which is especially important now, there are so many incredible sites for sourcing international, vintage, and emerging designers; 1 Dibs, Artsy, and Sight Unseen are some of my favorites. 
As TIME magazine’s Top Design 100, Architectural Digest’s AD100, and Elle Decor’s A-lister, you became a muse to many interior designers worldwide! Who inspires you?
Some of my greatest influences include Pierre Cardin, Oscar Niemeyer, Carlo Scarpa, Louis Kahn, and many others. Daniel Buren for his love of stripes, Sheila Hicks and Louise Nevelson for texture and scale and Joseph Hoffman, Ettore Sottsass, and Gio Ponti for crossovers from sculpture and art to furniture and architecture. I am inspired by all eras and movements in art and history.
VOGUE magazine featured you on their ‘best dressed’ list! What is behind your ‘dress to impress,’ yet effortless, chic personal style? 
Fashion has always been dear and near to me. I dress to express rather than impress and always dress much the way I design interiors.  I always mix new with old, contemporary with vintage, masculine with feminine, colors, prints and I have a weakness for shoes! They’re like mini sculptures to me. 
Favorite fashion brands?
I have so many, and it is always changing, but a few favorites are Balenciaga, Jacquemus, Off-white/Virgil Abloh, ATTICO, Marques Almeida, Palm Angels, Vetements, Christian Lacroix and fashion from the 1980s.
Foto: © Kelly Wearstler: Evocative Style, Rizzoli New York, 2019
Foto: © Kelly Wearstler: Evocative Style, Rizzoli New York, 2019
Who is your fashion icon? 
There is an incredible number of insanely chic, smart, cool women from past and present. Peggy Guggenheim - her sense of personal style was unrivaled and transcended fashion. Everything she touched was chic. Frida Khalo – I love her confidence and her own, unique style. Kate Moss - she is just the coolest. I love her fashion sense so much!
As a former model, I am sure you have great beauty tips up your sleeve. 
My beauty essentials include May Lindstrom Jasmine's facial mist. It keeps my skin well hydrated. I love Mara Algae Retinol Oil, Dr. Hauscka lip balm, and Davines 01 hair conditioner.  I keep my makeup natural-looking.  I always wear sunscreen and love the formula and light tint of SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense with SPF 50. If I need to glam up, I’ll use Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara, and I recently fell in love with the new limited-edition Hermes lipstick, Matte Rose Boisé.
You design the mansions of Hollywood stars and work on luxury properties and spaces around the world, traveling a lot while raising two boys! How do you keep yourself in shape? 
Exercise. I cannot let a day go by without it – it truly clears my mind. I start every morning with an early exercise class at Barry’s Bootcamp. I have also started to include a second daily workout with Pilates training during lunch, which is so incredible for relieving stress and building strength for my daily activities.
Your design projects include the world’s renowned hotels in the best vacation destinations (Viceroy Miami, Proper Santa Monica, Tides South Beach, Four Seasons Anguilla, etc.). What is the ideal vacation for you? 
Honestly, spending time with my boys and dogs, doing yoga, surfing, hot baths. Nature and the chance to surf is regularly on our family travel itineraries. But we always like to take meaningful trips of exploration around the world.  We’ve had the fortune of traveling to so many wonderful countries. But I am still overdue to go to the Czech Republic. In fact, Prague is on my wish list for travel, once we’re able to be mobile around the world again!