Sixty Seven Shades of Insane Style – LCDQ 2015

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Sometimes prior commitments (The French Film festival, Delia Ephron soiree, Naples, Santa Barbara and San Fran in case you hadn’t noticed), make being everywhere a bit, um, difficult. However, when someone mentions free-flowing bubbly, nibbles and window shopping…I’m down. (For the record, grandma used to say a flute of champagne a day keeps the doctor away, well then, we’d best take the necessary precautions.) Turn down a lavish invitation to a tsunami of an event full of style, wit and merriment? Hell no! Not on my decorating diva stalker watch.

It’s a fact, nothing makes this Style Spy weak at the knees more than that sacred space where fashion and interior design collide. When done right, the creative energy sparks and the end result is high fashion living. Tres Chic! Truth be told, don’t we all know someone with impeccable style fashion wise, that couldn’t design their way out of a paper bag or the award-winning interior designer who couldn’t put an outfit together if their life depended on it? (Can you say the cobblers shoes?) Under the best of circumstances it should all come together. We could do a deep dive into a right-brain right brain discussion but that’s better left to a nerdy science blogger.

Lucky for me, I was privileged to join interior designers, bloggers, editors and design enthusiasts to attend the seventh annual La Cienega Design Quarter (LCDQ) in Los Angeles, “Legends of La Cienaga” event, featuring 67 fantastical window displays, provocative presentations, panel discussions, book signings and glamorous chic cocktail parties (by invitation only, but not impossible to score if you have excellent stalking abilities – you’re  welcome.) A fusion of design, mind-blowing art, fashion and culture, LEGENDS provides a unique combination of education and entertainment for those who appreciate design. It reminds one of New York Fashion week on steroids.

Attracting thousands of professional designers from around the globe, the three-day event has become the high point of the year for the hub of the West-Coast interior-design community. Located on the streets surrounding the intersection of La Cienega Boulevard and Melrose Avenue, the LCDQ has been the stomping (and shopping) ground for legendary designers such as Elsie de Wolfe, Francis Elkins, Michael Taylor and Kalef Alaton for years. Once you cross the rainbow-flag-bedecked border, you step into a world whose only street is paved with the gold of design, fashion, celebrity and glamour. Galleries vignettes reinterpret the work of Home-Decor Legends through the eyes of today’s top talents. Legends media partners include prestigious publications such as Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Traditional Home and Veranda. LCDQ is driven by the magazines with exception of the amazingly successful business platform for new and old, 1stdibs Magazine. Combine the opening night Gala, a Power Lunch, Tribute Party and Finale Celebration and you had me at more is more! But how do designers do it you ask?

Take Designer Kelly Wearstler. It’s never clear how or why Kelly’s brilliant juxtapositions work–only that they do. Somehow her designs all come together, fearless and exhilarating. Dazzling pairings of color, fabric and art should…well, clash. But they don’t. The interior designer-turned-designer (and Author) applies the same thoughtfulness to her interiors as she does to her collections. Her hotel work is some of her best.

My personal interior motives? A bohemian marriage of whimsy and refinement, which is how I tend to dress. Fabric-lined walls are luxurious because you immediately feel as if you have arrived in some sort of fabulous shoe box…and hey, we all love that, right? As with a man, I love a room with a hint at flirtation, but one that never insists upon it. Above all, live with what you love.

Interior design and fashion will forever intertwine and when they do, the world gets a little more exciting. Check out the rock star with the silver and gold painted pants or the ever so sheik Valerie Von Sobel in her white ensemble with a pop of Chinese red. Her style is innovative and original, combining unusual things that don’t always work at first attempt. Valerie has a quick discernment, humor, wit and immense knowledge of life, as well as an infinite store of curious anecdotes that is expressed in her sense of style. Others statements included classic black and white, boyfriend jeans, colorful plaid jackets shirts and ties, swanky suits and leopard shirts. As for me, I made my own statement…trying to get inside a window display and damn near broke my neck trying to shimmy on top of Tony from Dallas for a photo opp. Yes, it was captured on film for your viewing pleasure.

Participants included Michael Boodro, Editor in Chief Elle Decor, Editor Sophie Donelson of House Beautiful, English Design icon Nicky Haslam from London, Nate Burkas, and Hutton Wilkinson (interior designer, author, jewelry guru, Old Hollywood maven.) Thomas Lavin is the PDC merchant and new Prince of the OC. He holds the American reigns to the divine collection of Christian Liagre. These famous names were the kind that would make a design junkie’s heart beat a bit faster. Catch my drift? Linda O’Keefe, author of “Heart & Home: Rooms That Tell Stories (Rizzoli) gave an informative presentation. She also has a new book out called “Shoes”, a must read. Author Sandra Espinet and her Salvadore Faragamo heels…va va voom! For a gal who lives in flip-flops she navigated those bad boys quite well. Hey, since when is a shoe not just a shoe anyway? Why, when it’s a love object, a fetish or a piece of designer art perhaps. Go ahead, place that high heel that rules on a stack of books as a thing of beauty to behold, an aspirational prop worthy of drooling. Which is the point, after all, isn’t it? Hmm, perhaps a mineral shoe heaven number for next years event…

Storefront windows were transformed on the theme of “Where Muses Dwell”.  Each of the esteemed designers who were selected created vignettes to bring their muses to life, whether a person, place or period in time. Each display window is like a wonderful jewel box of creativity. Some designers took the assignment literally, creating rooms where Gertrude Stein, Edith Piaf, Yves St. Laurent, Audrey Hepburn, Debbie Harry, art icon Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfiled’s cat might dwell. What elements would you take from these windows and how could they translate to a real room? Who is your muse and where does your muse dwell? A few that were seriously effing cool:

L’Esperance Design – Dragonette – David Bowie 

Maxime Jacquet – George Smith – Andy Warhol

Amanda Richards – JD Staron – Edith Piaf

Ken Fulk’s amazing 3-D window for Therien’s – The Movie Inside My Mind

Winner Jeff Andrews – Fuller Roberts Co. – The Tape Measure Never Lies 

As Assemblage Artist Valerie Von Sobel states of The Tape Measure Never Lies, “This window is totally assemblage combined with the elements of really good visuals. The mirrors, chairs, the connection from the top and the bottom. It was quite complex. You had to cut exact angles to see reflections in many directions, creating circles within circles, incorporating every element. Look again at the humor and juxtoposition. It’s whimsy, a beautifully executed concept with prescion.”

The skinny on the best after party? Therien & Company. Stepping into the Therien galleries is like entering an Italian courtyard — complete with sculpture, stone garden ornaments, olive trees and fountains. They specialize in period European antiques and decorative arts. This place is filled with distinctive treasures from around the globe that gave me hot flashes on purpose.

It looks to me like the LA Design community is throwing it’s hat in the ring to attract players from all the important design markets such as New York, Dallas, Miami and Atlanta, tantalizing us with some of the best design resources in the country. It seems this experience has emboldened me and I feel quite certain I am not the only one to leave with a vivid afterbuzz of new palette ideas. This event continues to be a must for discerning designers and design lovers from all over the world. The perfect embodiment of the Los Angeles Interior Design world past, present and future.

Now about that purple merman? Be. still. my. beating. heart.

* For a complete list of 2015 window designers, visit


  1. Ruth Yunker

    May 14, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Loved your slide show, especially! And I love window dressing, anywhere!
    You took us on a armchair tour of the great La Cienega Blvd and how it is now! NYC, look out!

    • thefoodstalker

      May 15, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      Dearest Ruth, I am always listening to that small voice within (the one that very often tells me exactly what I don’t want to hear – stay focused and write! Instead of slapping myself upside the head as I stare at a blank screen, I rush out the door to a sassy fun event knowing the words will start flowing. Works like a charm. So glad you enjoyed the re-cap!

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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