Kelly Wearstler, the Beverly Hills-based ‘mega-designer’ of West Coast interiors, has just launched a line of women’s clothing and jewellery in Canada. An entry on Vogue’s best-dressed list and a top tastemaker in decor circles, she gives her favourite tips for dressing a room – and oneself – in high style.
As an interior designer, your résumé includes the Viceroy Hotel chain and the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills [both owned by her husband, Brad Korzen]as well as a home-furnishings line for Bergdorf Goodman, The Rug Company and Schumacher. You’ve now branched into jewellery and ready-to wear. Can you describe the line [to be carried by Holt Renfrew in Canada] Is it as bold as your interiors?
When you look at the collection, it feels like it could have been a room in a house I designed. Each delivery has its own voice but works harmoniously with the complete collection. So many of my influences in interior design come from fashion – from jewellery, which can be reminiscent of sculpture, to the colours and silhouettes that I find in clothing. My fashion collection is an extension of my work as an interior designer.
Who, or what, are your design influences?
Art, travel, fashion and people inspire me.
You’re a mom as well as an entrepreneur. How do you juggle the demands on your time?
No matter what I am doing, I make family my focus. I wake up at 5:30 every morning so I can get my workout in and still have time to take my boys to school. When I am at my studio, I focus my attention on my work-related tasks. This allows me to be home by 6:30 every night so I can have dinner and spend time with my family.
You work directly with clients as a decorator, but as a ready-to-wear designer you often won’t know who your client is. What challenge does this pose for the creative process?
When I design the collection, I have the woman who will wear my clothes in mind. My client is someone who loves colour, amazing details and quality and likes to take risks.
What, in your opinion, is the biggest decorating mistake people make?
People tend to buy all their furniture from the same place, just because it's easy. Refrain. Decorating with items from the same store will create a flat and boring space. Better to mix it up and surround yourself with only things you love.
What is the easiest decor fix?
If you want major drama in your home, quick and easy, paint. You can do it yourself. And don't forget the ceilings. Painting the ceiling adds depth.
What’s your favourite interior ever?
The one I'm living in now [in Beverly Hills]
Who’s your favourite clothing designer and why?
I don't have a favourite, but I do love Sonia Rykiel for her use of colour and Dries Van Noten’s prints are amazingly beautiful. Everything about how Valentino approached design was perfectly appropriate, but at the same time always arresting and memorable.
Do you ever dress to suit a room?
Never. Getting dressed for me is purely emotional. I wear what suits my mood.
What two colours should never go together?
Most colour combinations can work together if you find the optimum shade or tint.
Actually, are there design rules any more?
The only rule I follow is to take risks and have fun.