From the Silver to Silk Screens: Hearst and Gilt Groupe Host a Sparkling Evening at Soho Mews - Wednesday, 10/21/2009 1:07 PM
Movies were the most popular form of escapism during the Great Depression. So, it was only appropriate in these oft-discussed challenging economic times, that three of our most celebrated interior designers have found inspiration in the world of cinema.
Last Tuesday, Gilt Groupe partnered with the Hearst Corporation to host the third annual Designer Visions program at the brand new Soho Mews townhouses. Hundreds of guests, the likes of Jonathan Adler, Sela Ward, Pamela Fiori, Lloyd Boston, Douglas Hannant, Frederick Anderson, and Christian Leone, held court in the central garden whilst perusing and admiring each of the three cinema-inspired townhouses.
They were all quite different, really. Thom Filicia collaborated with House Beautiful to create a modern, warm, and, ultimately, inviting home that was inspired by the 80s classic "The Big Chill." The closet was filled with Gilt clothing and accessories and, as in all of the townhouse models, a large flatscreen projected the film throughout the evening.
John Saladino decided to go back a bit further in time - specifically, the 18th century - and worked with Veranda to create a space inspired by the Scarlett Johansson film "Girl With a Pearl Earring." The lush jewel-toned hues and velvet fabrics perfectly complemented the "Gilty" closet, that was filled with sumptuous gowns and, naturally, pearl earrings, along with unique statement jewelry pieces and other collectibles.
I, subsequently, made my way to the third and final townhouse. Richard Mishaan, along with Town and Country, styled a home inspired by the 1933 Jean Harlow classic "Dinner at Eight. " I, ultimately, spent the most time here, as it was the least crowded of the three homes, and, as an interviewer, it behooves me to be able to actually hear what the other party is saying.
I first spoke with Mr. Mishaan, who chose this film because of the all too apparent parallels between the Great Depression and our current economic situation. But the message, he insisted, was not depressing, but rather, quite the opposite. To be sure, "…people need to be more resourceful in these times, but luxury is still attainable. You just need to be craftier." To that end, Mishaan juxtaposed contemporary pieces with antiques and created what would normally have been a $20,000 silk screen for a mere $2300. "I bought inexpensive screens, from which I cut out triangles and placed them on other screens…" thereby creating the kind of detailing that looks far more costly than it is.
Town and Country's Sarah Medford concurred that the time is ripe for ingenuity. "The last 6 months have been a really interesting time for decorating and the web has really emerged as a new sourcebook for people, especially for those who don't have access to the D&D building," she explained. Predictably, more home owners than ever are using a high-low sensibility when it comes to decorating. "The smart thing to do is buy a ten dollar lamp and then buy a beautiful silk lampshade to go with it. Or, invest in 18th century furniture. That is hugely undervalued." Point taken!
Speaking of the web as the ultimate access tool, few know about this better than Gilt co-founders (and evening co-hosts) Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson. "Up until now, we have been doing home-decor sales once a week but, within the next week, we plan to do online sales every day," Wilkis Wilson explained. Given the burgeoning demand for easy convenient access to home decorating, it looks like the Gilt Groupe has discovered yet another untapped market. These women are simply unstoppable! Check out Gilt.com for the redesign of GiltMan and for the launch of their Home site - live this Saturday!
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank
Lloyd Boston, Carolyn Englefield, Sims Bray and Lisa Newsom
Pamela Fiori, Richard Mishaan and Sarah Medford
Christian Leone and Ann Dexter Jones