Kelly Wearstler (pictured above, wearing ‘Lyre Fiery’ fabric, £149 per m against walls in ‘Lyre Fiery’ wallpaper, £245 for a 4.5m roll) is one of the most widely admired interior designers of her generation. And now her many devotees can bring more of her arty aesthetic into their homes. In addition to her collection with The Rug Company and A-list residential projects and interiors for the rapidly expanding Proper Hotels & Residences (theAustin property just opened), Wearstler has launched her fifth collection with US brand Lee Jofa, who she’s worked with for over a decade.
Painterly and with rich variations of colour, there are eight fabric designs and five wallcoverings with inspirations including the Bauhaus and Memphis movements. ‘It plays with dimensionality, depth of field, organic quality and earthy sensibilities,’ she says, when we catch up at London’s Ham Yard Hotel.
In town fleetingly, she’s meeting with a couple of other British brands with whom she may collaborate. They say never meet your heroes, but in this case, Wearstler is charming, warm, engaging and fun. We talk fashion and kids (she has two teenage sons with her husband Brad Korzen) – you can imagine how diplomatic she would be with tricky celebrity clients.
‘For me, design is storytelling,’ she says. ‘I want to tell a story that is adventurous and full of soul on every scale. I approach every project – whether a hotel or fabric collection – with the same process of exploration and passion.’ For the latter, that often begins with freehand painting, followed by digital manipulation. ‘It’s a mix of old-school methods combined with new technology,’ she says.
‘District’ is the standout design of the new collection. A large-scale, cubist-inspired abstract on a heavy linen, it’s available in seven colourways. Wearstler loves it so much that her latest decorating tome, Evocative Style (Rizzoli New York, £34), is wrapped in the ‘Tobacco’ version, as is some of her own furniture. ‘A pair of “Utrecht” chairs by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld are upholstered in “District” in my Beverly Hills home. I love how versatile and dynamic it is,’ she says.
‘Cascadia’ is another beauty, echoing an undulating mountainscape; it’s dreamy and organic. Very Wearstler. ‘I am forever thinking of ways to translate pattern and colour inspirations into textiles. With this collection, I am hoping to evoke space with the spirit of California.’
Strong colour and sculptural forms define Wearstler’s style, but neutrals are not forgotten. Her best-selling ‘Graffito II’ is now available in a very on-trend jute wallcovering in soft tones, including rose and ivory. ‘Wallcoverings are like incredible pieces of art,’ she says, ‘they help create distinct tension and dialogue within a space.’ But for her, colour is king. ‘I have an enduring enthusiasm for a fearless approach to colour. It evokes mood and passion more than anything in a space. Living without colour is like living without love.’ And who can deny her that. kellywearstler.com
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