Category Archives: FASHION

If You Can Make It There: 2013 Design Leadership Summit, New York City

2013 Design Leadership Summit, New York City

Each year, the Design Leadership Networka by-invitation association of outstanding interior designers, architects, landscape designers, construction managers, members of the media, and product company executives, holds the Design Leadership Summita conference that brings DLN members together for relationship building, learning, sharing ideas, and growing together as a community. This month, the Eighth Annual Summit was held in New York City, and five of us from Designers Collaborative–Laura Bohn, Barry Goralnick, Tim Button, Glenn Gissler, and new member Alison Spear–attended. (Glenn is an old hand, having attended previous summits in Charleston, New Orleans, Copenhagen, Berlin and, last year, Marrakech, which he blogged about here.) 

The conference was co-hosted by DLN’s founder, Peter Sallik, Managing Partner of Design Investors, CEO of Waterworks, and co-founder and CEO of Dering Hall; Kate Kelly Smith,  SVP Publishing Director of the Hearst Design Group; and John Edelman, President & CEO of Design Within Reach. “They did an amazing job to create a program of rich content, dynamic speakers, fantastic venues, and good food!” says Glenn Gissler.

Norman Forster interviewed by Paul Goldberger at the Design Leadership Summit, New York, 2013
Architect Norman Foster interviewd by critic Paul Goldberger at the 2013 Design Leadership Summit, New York

The three-day event explored the most powerful forces shaping the design market and  community today: technology, fashion, art and culture, media and marketing, and urban and hospitality development. Speakers included starchitect Norman Foster interviewed by architecture critic Paul Goldberger; Elle Decor editor-in-chief Michael Boodro; fashion designer Oscar de la Renta interviewed by interior designer Bunny Williams; real estate mogul Aby Rosen; Hearst Design Group editor-in-chief Newell Turner; and architect and designer David Rockwell interviewed by restaurateur Danny Meyer.

Oscar de la Renta interviewed by Bunny Williams at the 2013 Design Leadership Summit, New York
Oscar de la Renta in conversation with Bunny Williams

While our five attendees were dazzled and informed by the array of talent, expertise, and achievement involved, they were particularly impressed by Huffington Post founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington: “She was fabulous,” says Tim Button. “She spoke extensively on health and well being–in our industry stress and lack of sleep are constant worries! And she addressed multitasking, which she doesn’t believe in!” Laura Bohn adds: “It was interesting hearing a human dynamo like Arianna emphasizing the importance of getting adequate rest and taking time away from your cell phone.”

Arianna Huffington at the Design Leadership Summit, New York, 2013

Arianna Huffington urged designers to take time to take care of themselves, unplug from technology, and create a safe, relaxing, well-designed haven.

They also raved about Andy Spade, the co-founder of the advertising, marketing, and brand strategy firm Partners & Spade: “Since I’m focusing on product as well as design projects, I found what he had to say very interesting,” says Barry Goralnick. “I liked hearing how he evolved the Kate Spade and Jack Spade fashion and lifestyle brands, creating good products backed up by smart positioning and a real relationship to the end users. When he explained the strategy, you thought, ‘Of course, what other way would one conceive of that?’”

Andy Spade at the Design Leadership Summit, New York, 2013

Andy Spade Spade emphasized the importance of establishing the right partnerships and also knowing exactly what your brand stands for.


Happy Feet: Bruce Bierman at the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show

As always, this year’s annual Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show was a big success. The fair’s charity sponsor, The Hope for Depression Research Foundation, founded by Audrey Gruss, introduced a compelling new feature, the Hope Designer Showcase. My firm, Bruce Bierman Design, and four others—Scott Snyder, Jim Aman & John Meeks, Geoffrey Bradfield, and Campion Platt—were asked to create vignettes demonstrating how the show’s fabulous inventory of fine art and furniture could be integrated into the real lifestyles of today. For our vignette, we designed an amusing lady’s dressing room with the title “Happiness is…,” a nod to the benefiting charity. We wanted visitors to chuckle. This was about hope for depression, and laughter is the best medicine. Coincidentally, I had asked a couple of women designers what would make them happy, and they both said new shoes. So we created a dressing room in which all the accessories were women’s shoes. Saks Fifth Avenue was kind enough to lend us more than 100 pairs.

Bruce Bierman Hope for Depression vignette at the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show

For the Hope Designer Showcase at the ninth annual Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show, Bruce Bierman Design created a lady’s dressing room centered around high-fashion footwear. The shoes were scattered about the floor of the vignette, which featured a beautiful live model trying them on and changing outfits also provided by Saks and the Eye of the Needle. 

Bruce Bierman Hope for Depression vignette at the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show

The dressing room was in a sleek Art Deco or Modernist style. We used wonderful furniture and art from Valerio Antiques of Coral Gables; Borghi Fine Art of Engelwood, N.J.; and The Silver Fund of San Francisco. Along with the overflowing boxes of shoes were fresh flowers provided by Tropical Impressions, deep carpeting by Stark, and a beautiful Art Deco chandelier from A.B. Levy Antiques of Palm Beach.


When Gypsy Rose Met Lee: Laura Bohn Sets Table for Two at DIFFA’s Dining by Design Gala

DIFFA Dining by Design 2012 INVITATION

For 14 years,  the New York Design Center has served as a local sponsor for DIFFA’s annual Dining by Design extravaganza. This year NYDC is using more than one designer to bring their table concept to life, and I’m delighted to have been invited to be one of the participants. The theme is “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” and we’ve each been asked to design two table settings that portray two of our dream dinner guests from the past.

The first guest I’ve chosen is Gypsy Rose Lee (1911–1970), the fabulous burlesque entertainer and diseuse. She was famous for her witty striptease act in which she delivered a satirical monologue while nonchalantly disrobing.

Gypsy Rose Lee

Gypsy Rose Lee, the peerless burlesque entertainer, in the 1930s

Lee was also a talented writer, and her best-selling 1957 memoir, Gypsy, which began as a childhood reminiscence in The New Yorker, inspired the Jule Styne–Stephen Sondheim musical. It’s still a riveting read.

Gypsy, A Memoir, by Gypsy Rose Lee

Gypsy Rose Lee’s 1957 memoir recounts her beginnings in vaudeville, introduces “Mama Rose”the ultimate stage motherto the world, and was the basis of the Jule Styne–Stephen Sondheim musical, Gypsy.

Some of the elements I’ll use for the Gypsy Rose Lee table setting will include a gilded black-and-white striped chair, draped with a fur boa and hot-pink fishnet fabric, Hermès dinner plates in their elegant Fil d’Argent pattern, and Saint-Louis crystal from the intricately patterned  “Thistle Gold” collection, which dates back to 1913 and is mouth-blown and hand-engraved.

Saint-Louis "Thistle Gold" hand-engraved glasses

Gypsy Rose Lee’s place setting will feature “Thistle Gold” crystal by Saint-Louis.

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