Entries in the new york times (7)
I think Asprey’s alligator scarf belts are the utmost peak of chic. I am a longtime fan of the company's silk scarves - I actually included one in my most recent editor’s wishlist. And to wear one around your waist?! Divine. Don’t you think this is something that Grace Kelly would have worn?
Forgive me for posting so many images of woman and their bicycles, but I just find them incredibly chic! Similar to Parisian stylist Catherine Baba, Sally Singer (pictured above) biked to Vogue everyday in her favorite YSL or Balenciaga pumps (how do these women do it?). These images accompany a fabulous PAPERMAG interview with the newly appointed Editor-In-Chief of T Magazine—it’s her first interview since leaving Vogue. It’s a great read, darlings.. be sure to pop by and take a look!
A few weeks ago, I was privileged enough to have an hour-long phone interview with Rita Konig. The T Magazine blogger and former Domino Editor-At-Large is just as charming and lovely as one might imagine! As she was having a pedicure (how fabulous is that?), Ms. Konig and I talked about her experience at Domino, what it’s like to do what her mother does, and of course, style and design. Read on for more details!
Fallon: First, I’d like to discuss Domino. I think I speak for all Domino fans when I say that the folding of the magazine was absolutely devastating! Can you talk about what happened?
Rita: Well, I think Domino was slightly ahead of its time. In 2009, Domino was still in its youth and costing money. The advertising had still not yet gotten its hold. You know, magazines cost money for about five years. Unfortunately, 2009 was a bad moment to be starting something new because people needed to cut the budget. Condé Nast virtually gave those magazines away. I don’t think they quite knew how far-reaching Domino’s success was. I don’t think they realized how quite loved it was and what a thing they had.
The sad thing about Domino was that, unlike the Flair magazines of the world--those sort of very artistic magazines with special features like crimped edges and things that opened which were very expensive to produce--Domino was a magazine that was made to go mass market. Its appeal was so huge. Those Flairs and things, their appeal was too small because it was too sophisticated. It’s a shame that Domino came out when it did. I feel like if it had launched a couple of years earlier, it would have weathered the storm.
A scan of Rita's "Destination" guide for the city of San Francisco; Domino Magazine, April 2008
F: How did you become involved with Domino?
R: I knew Deborah from her time at House & Garden-- I had written some stories for her there. And when I moved to New York, a friend of mine, James Truman, told me that I had to meet Deborah Needleman because she was starting this great new magazine. I said, “I know Deborah!” You see, very often in magazines you don’t meet your editors because when you’re a writer you do all of your business over the telephone. So I knew her by name and I knew her by voice, but we first met in person at this Jonathan Adler book launch she was doing. It was so funny to meet, and we just connected immediately. She loved the scent I was wearing and I loved her. It was great working for her. I adored working at Domino. We had a very good time, actually. My involvement there just grew and grew.
Ms. Konig's gorgeous bedroom. Photograph by James Merrell
F: Your mother, Nina Campbell, is a very successful interior designer. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what it's like to do what your mother does.
R: Well, I didn’t set out to be an interior designer. Actually, I tried everything to avoid it. It’s only been in the last eighteen months or so since Domino closed that I really took it up, and in a serious way. I did it a bit when I first moved to New York City before I started at Domino. But it never felt like my main career.
I did work for my mother for a long time in her London shop. I’ve always been more interested in the sort of things that go into a house rather than things like reupholstering a chair or picking out paint colors.. My mom is so good at making sure the trim fits fabric, you know, those kinds of details. And I just can’t be bothered!
And then I was always writing. I always felt that my involvement in the interior design world was somewhat opposing to hers.. somewhat in other areas. Like I was buying all of the accessories and things for a store. Or I was involved in magazines. It’s from that area that I approached interior design, rather than going about it in a traditional way. It’s nice being able to call her up and ask for her advice about things. There are things that I suppose I do feel very confident about just because it’s been in my background; I grew up around it. It’s nice being in the same industry without being in the same business. I didn’t like being in a family business. This feels like a slightly different approach.
Her Greenwich Village living room, as shot by Todd Selby for New York magazine.
F: Do you ever see yourself opening up your own shop?
R: I’m not sure. It’s one of those things that everybody slightly dreams about. But when it comes down to it, I always end up being turned off by the practicalities of it. The idea of holding stock fills me with dread, although I love the idea of designing the packaging. I love the idea of owning a pretty shop-- I love thinking about what the awning of the shop would look like, and what the bell as the door opens would sound like.. all of those things I find very appealing.
But, I know the realities of having a shop. You know that film Chocolat? That’s the sort of fantasy of having a shop. Chocolat is charming, but it’s not like that in real life. I’ve experienced the ghastly people that come in and steal or break things, or just act rude. Of course, there are the fun things, too. Like wrapping the thousands of parcels to go out at Christmas.
It’s very hard to make money by running a shop. It really is a labor of love. I think I got it out of my system when I was quite young.
F: Do you have any new and exciting projects on the horizon?
R: Well, funnily enough, I’m working on a project in Chicago. It’s a gorgeous apartment overlooking Lake Michigan. I’m also working on something in Antiqua and in Florida. It’s been wonderful working on places in the heat. You can do things that you can't do in the northern cities. There’s a lot of cane, banana leaves and bright green.. It’s very fun. And I’m doing work for Pret a Manger. We’re opening stores in Chicago, too.
F: When you are fresh ideas, where do you turn for inspiration?
R: Well, I usually I just go out. This happens more when I write rather than when I work on a project. I very rarely sit down to design a room. That’s something that I think about constantly until I’ve worked it out. Or I’ll go up to the D & D and go through fabrics. It’s sort of a whole process. But with writing, it’s like, “What am I going to write about? What am I going to say?” I find that if I leave my office and go out, if I stop thinking about it, something always comes up. You bump into somebody, you find something wonderful. Everything actually comes through the outside. It’s so hard to do anything from your desk other than the process of what you do. But that’s not where your ideas come to you. In fact, it’s better if they don’t because then you can get on with what you’re doing!
Ms. Konig has a cocktail tray set up in her living room.
Photograph by Rita Konig for the New York Times
F: In terms of interior design, what are your favorite trends this season?
R: I don’t know! I’ve never really followed trends. And when there are trends, like there’s been a big ikat and suzani trend lately, it becomes a shame because you feel like can no longer use that particular item. And I still want to continue using those things!
I like mixing.. I mean, I don’t know! I don’t really follow trends. I just kind of blindly go on doing my own sort of thing. I keep buying pairs of antique chairs. I just put a pair of arts and crafts chairs in one house. I put a pair of mid-century leather and chrome chairs in another. That is something that I keep finding myself doing over and over again—a pair of funny chairs.
I feel like when I decorate, I want the home in question to be comfortable. That usually involves a really comfortable sofa. A drinks tray, a good bookcase, good lamps.. And, if we could have outside living space, that’s the biggest luxury. That’s what I’m really loving at the moment. But in terms of trends, I don’t know. I like using pale gray a lot. I like a splash of yellow in a room.
F: What are some of your favorite design books and magazines?
R: I love the World of Interiors, always. I used to love Australian Vogue Living, and I still do sometimes. Spanish Architectural Design is great. And French Marie Claire Maison is very good. I’ve just been given a new book by Lars Bolander called Scandinavian Design, which is wonderful. It’s archived photographs of Scandinavian homes from the sixteenth century to now. I’m very interested by that clean look.. It’s not something that I naturally know how to do. It’s fun to be able to pour over things like that and to see what elements you can take from it. I love Thomas O'Brien's book, too, because he also does that very clean white look. Right now, I enjoy studying how one can do a white room that is interesting and keep it interesting without seeming flat.
F: What are you going to be wearing this fall?
R: I’ve decided that I might as well realize that I have a uniform [of jeans and jackets] and stick with it rather than trying to break out of it. I bought a very pretty jacket by Stella McCartney. After that, I can only afford to wear t-shirts underneath! I like layering with vests and thin blue sweaters. And I always wear good sunglasses. It’s a nice accessory to finish off your whole look.
Photograph courtesy of Jak & Jil
F: What is your favorite Diptyque candle scent?
R: It changes. I love Baies, and I think Freesia. Jasmin is always good. You know, I haven’t gotten any Diptyque candles in ages. I friend of mind just started doing their PR.. I’m going to have to ask her if she can give me some samples!
F: What is your favorite historical period of design?
R: I think the Georgian period of design. I love the combination of strong architecture with feminine details. And then you have that in a very rugged landscape… I find that beautiful. I also love Georgian furniture, china, silver… it was really a great moment.
A Hugo Guinness print above Rita's fireplace.
Photograph by Rita Konig for the New York Times
F: I’d love to know your favorite films and artists. Could you name a few?
R: I adored The Painted Veil. I loved Amélie. When it came out, I watched it two nights running but I haven’t watched it since. I’m not sure if I’ll bother watching it again, but I did love it at the time. There was so much wallpaper it in. Manhattan, I love, too. I love films that are made to be drank like soup. In Manhattan, nothing much happens but you’re just drinking up somebody’s life for a bit.
In terms of artists, I’ve always loved Hugo Guinness. And I love things like Rothkos, with all of those beautiful colors. There is a gallery here in New York called Sears Peyton-- they have the most beautiful work. There is also a sculptor named Manuela Zervudachi who does gorgeous bronze sculptors. She’s a new favorite of mine.
F: What advice do you have for girls like me who are in the midst of decorating their first “adult” apartment?
R: Don’t rush through it! You only do it once, and all of these things you buy stick with you. So, don’t buy too much junk because it’s quite hard to get rid of stuff. Remember to purchase some good things alongside the things that are budget-driven.
Some people say, “You can’t buy the little things. You have to concentrate on buying the important things first.” I don’t think that is true. I think it’s the small things that make a place your own. And they’re the things that you can kind of wrap your head around. Because there is so much to buy. So, buy your sofa because you’ll need furniture sit on. I bought my sofa in an antique shop and I didn’t recover it for two yours. That’s where you can save money or spread your costs. If you see some beautiful plates, do buy them. Don’t think, “Oh goodness, I need to do the curtains first!” Because you don’t. Those plates will stay with you a lot longer than the curtains. And they’re much more fun. And they mean that people will come and have dinner with you at your apartment. You know what I mean? Don’t get hung up on the big things. You can certainly indulge in the small things, too.
I'd also like to thank Ms. Jenna Fain for her
brilliant additions to my list of interview questions!
Above are some of the varieties of ice cream offered at Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco. A recent New York Times article about the ice cream parlor and its odd proprietor has me dying to go! Doesn't the Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt flavor look delicous? Humphry Slocombe also offers some rather creative flavors like Prosciutto and Foie Gras. Would you be brave enough to try these?! I'm not sure if I could do it. On a side note, @humphryslocombe has nearly 300,000 followers on twitter. Insane! Even though the parlor is a bit non-traditional, they must be doing something right. Hunphry Slocombe employess, if you're listenting, you must expand to Chicago! We'd love you here :)