At the constant behest of my good friend Stephen Shutts, I finally made my way to LA’s annual, heralded spring design event known as LEGENDS. In its 11th consecutive year, LEGENDS celebrates the best of interior design and the business of design, featuring programming, product launches, parties, breakfasts and lunches over a three-day period. Located in the La Cienega Design Quarter, the event reinforces the much-deserved allure of one of Los Angeles’ oldest thoroughfares for design since the 1950’s, shopped by the likes of icons William Haines, Elsie de Wolfe, Tony Duquette, Frances Elkins and others.
The windows, decorated by great designers from all over the country, are much anticipated. Here are a smidge. Sasha Bikoff designed the window install that leads off this blog and all were photographed by Grey Crawford.
I attended three great seminars: one on book publishing, one on mentoring and one on the value of public relations. The one about books was held at Christopher Farr with panelists Thomas Jayne, Lee Ledbetter, Jeffrey Weisman and Madeline Stuart, and moderated by Annie Kelly. The overarching sentiment among all four designing authors is: books are a labor of love. You need a team to lean on, and it usually takes quite a bit longer than anticipated. But as an expression of one’s work and/or story to tell, they are—when completed or nearly completed, as the case with Madeline Stuart whose book No Place Like Home debuts later this year—incredibly satisfying. Especially when it is in your voice, albeit edited by a trusted colleague.
I also attended “Looking Forward to the Past,” which was moderated by editor Carolyn Englefield. Featuring Veere Grenney, Maximillian Sinsteden and Catherine Olasky of Olasky & Sindsteden, and Dara Caponigro, Creative Director at Schumacher, panelists discussed how personal history coupled with mentoring has led to their fruitful and creative careers. Bunny Williams played a big role in Catherine’s training. David Hicks in Maximillian’s. Veere’s inspiration came from Billy Baldwin, John Fowler and Nancy Lancaster. Dara mentioned former House Beautiful Editor in Chief Lou Gropp and former Domino Editor Deborah Needleman as mentors. “Lou lets you do what you do best, and Deborah was not threatened by talent,” Dara says.
One of the other discussions that I really enjoyed (not only because I used to be in the field, but because I have non-stop interaction with publicists these days) was about the value of hiring a public relations professional. Starring Sarah Boyd, Jeffrey Alan Marks and Chrstina Juarez, they all spoke to the challenges that the changing landscape of media presents: editors coming and going, ever-evolving avenues and the addition of social media. With this happening, Christina Juarez likened her role to more of a business strategist and developer. The designer/publicist relationship also requires a lot of work from both parties. When Jeffrey Alan Marks first hired one, he thought he would not have to do anything, but au contraire…he soon discovered, and learned to work in partnership. Everyone on the panel was emphatic about investing in photography and the rise of Instagram as another media outlet.
Two of the social highlights I really enjoyed were the cocktail soiree at Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s shop (above) and the closing party hosted by Patrick Dragonette.