by Marisa Marcantonio

Knowing the international man of glamour Martyn Lawrence-Bullard was headed to Venice in May for the Design Leadership Summit, the by invitation gathering of architects and designers, I tapped him as my eyes and ears, to cover every fun filled moment. He proved to be the perfect designer to capture the glam series of events, lectures, dinners and tours. Read on for the full Venice report....
Water taxi gondoliers at the ready
In transit with molto bags

Martyn and Steven Gambrel, the guys in grey

Martyn and Windsor Smith enjoy a boat ride to the islands

A Bernini sculpture against a perfect blue sky

A shot inside the Fortuny Museum

Stephen Drucker, now editor in chief of Town and Country, Kathryn M. Ireland and Windsor Smith

When Keith Granet , the branding wizard who puts designers and manufacturers together, called me to ask what I thought about the next design summit being in Venice I think I literally squealed with delight. "Of course you must do it in Venice , it's perfect" I announced, almost breathless with anticipation. Venice is one of my favorite places on this earth and the idea of spending time there amongst some of my favorite designer friends and partners in crime (namely the divine and delicious Kathryn Ireland and wickedly funny Windsor Smith) was just too exciting. The Design Leadership Conference itself is an extraordinary experience alone, the brainchild of the Design Investors team made up of Waterworks, Rose Tarlow Melrose House and Twill's Peter Sallick, their CEO Meg Touborg and Keith Granet, is an unbelievably valuable think tank that helps you keep your finger on the pulse of all things design. Covering business advice, operational trends, marketing and design awareness, the gathering is a truly inspiring show where industry legends get to meet and greet.

This year the Keynote address was given by Nicky Haslam , the legendary English decorator , gossip columnist, author and general bon vivant. Nicky was so funny , delightfully eccentric and gave the most personal lecture on his distinguished and colorful career. Another legend , Axel Vervoordt , dazzled us with his impact- filled spare designs and philosophy of less is more. He is one of the worlds most interesting designers whose taste has re- shaped design as we know it. We feel his influence in larger brands from the new Restoration hardware to Pottery Barn.

One evening, dinner was hosted by the new owners of the legendary Italian fabric house Fortuny. We had the great pleasure of visiting the Fortuny Museum and got to experience more of Axel's work in his curated exhibition of Fortuny fabrics along with a truly incredible exhibit he put together of Samari warriors armor. It can only be described as breathtaking! I'm sure your going to see many Samari - inspired fabric and furniture collections from designers in attendance....

Not only did we get to learn and become inspired during the daytime lectures at the conference and afternoon guided tours of the best sights the city has to offer , we, of course, got to play at night. My dearest friend Kathryn arranged the first evening. The rarest treat to include a private dinner cooked for us by a genuine Venetian Countess in her Grand Canal Palazzo which had been in her family for 500 years. A delicious experience for all the senses!! And after such a cultural delight we somehow found ourselves in the Bauer Hotel night club where we were over served local wines by the chic countess. We danced till the wee hours so needless to say there were a few late attendees at the first event the following morning!

Another memorable evening was arranged by our lovely New York friend and designer, the talented Steven Gambrel, who convinced his great friend Boris to hijack his dad, the unsuspecting Axel Vervoordt, to host a dinner for 12 of us in their palazzo. I have to say the glamour of that evening will go down in my memory forever. The palazzo itself, a 17th century pile, was decorated in Axel's inimitably chic style, showing a connoisseur's eye in the editing of all the objects and art. Fine Venetian antiques mix with Lucio Fontana art works, 18th century rock crystal chandeliers lit by only candles, and signature tight slip - covered linen sofas sat quietly on intricate terazzo floors. Once again after dinner we danced, but this time in Vervoordt's ballroom.

Yes , I can honestly tell you that great fun was had by all. You could not help but be inspired by the beauty of Venice. It always takes my breath away. The forums and advice you take away from the design conference is so very valuable, as is the quality time we all got to spend amongst our peers, forging new friendships and sometimes future partnerships. This whole adventure for me was very special. I met special people, including Suzzane Kassler, the most delicious person, and the beyond charming Stephen Drucker, the new editor of Town and Country, got to see great friends and bond with industry insiders. The conference location next year will have a lot to live up to, as Venice was an iconic and memorable spot, However, wherever you decide on guys, I will be there.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Snap up LA designer Kathryn M. Ireland's bohemian/ethnic wares today at OKL's Tastemaker Tag Sale, starting at 8am PST/ 11am EST and running through Tuesday. She has the lock on ethnic chic and shares her finds like the assortment here.

Embroidered Blue Pillow from Marrakech

A Pair of Metal Wall Sconces/Light Fixtures

Indian Mirror with Floral Motif

Photos Courtesy of OKL
Patchwork Pillow


by Marisa Marcantonio

Ferrick Mason, a newly launched collection of print designs are inspired by things found in nature. As a collaboration between two artistic and visual minds, they were able to come up with organic- inspired designs that have already found an audience in the design community. Their designs are first hand drawn and then screened, so the lines have an imperfect quality. This irregularity gives their innovative designs a painterly, handmade feel. Their fabrics, printed on Belgian linen are locally produced in Los Angeles, using eco-friendly inks and dyes. Interior designers Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat of Lucas Studio used their fabric early on last year, in the Veranda Showhouse in Greystone Mansion, where they did a fantastic space.

The line is available through Kathryn M. Ireland in Almont Yard, Nicky Rising, Grizzel and Mann in Altanta, and Studio 534 in The Boston Design Center. I have known Brian since his early days with Kathryn Ireland, and sat down with him recently to get his perspective on his new creative endeavor.

Alex and Brian

Brian, you are a veteran fabric designer and have helped some of the biggest names in the business with their fabric lines. Why launch a collection of your own and why now?

After working with Kathryn Ireland and Michael Smith for a number of years on their textile lines I started getting the itch to have my own - unfortunately I am not an artist and wasn't really interested in working on another document based line. My good friend Amelia Dalgaard had been trying to introduce me to her friend Alex Mason, Alex is an amazing painter, who happened to be looking for a partner with textile experience to break into the business. Alex and I finally met at a party and were fast friends - and when I saw her paintings and ideas for fabrics I was in love.

What inspired the designs and the particular color palette? The colors are unexpected and unusual, in a good way.

Our initial collection is based on artwork that was inspired from Alex's two years in New Zealand. The patterns have a reoccurring theme of berries and abstract flora. With the colors we were trying to keep things fresh and modern without being gimicky - we wanted updated colors that would work well in contemporary as well as traditional environments. Both Alex and I have a somewhat East coast sensibility and liked colors that would be at home on Cape Cod, in the Hamptons or Palm Beach - not be mention Southern California -fun, fresh, slightly preppy with a twist!

With a brand new collection what will mean success in your eyes?

We have both been thrilled with first getting the line out there, then having so many friends and designers that we respect get excited about the line and use it. Sales, of course, are very important and we are pleased with the momentum that has been picking up with sales and press. We started out inching our way out there with our boutique line in just one showroom with a road rep. Now we are in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston and soon to be NYC and Dallas. We are also introducing 3 new designs to our line as well a more moderately priced line with 7 new designs. People have been eager to see fresh new designs, that aren't just the trendy ethnic prints - and like the fact that we are hand screened in California - keeping it all local!

What is influencing you now, and what is next?

We have about 10 new designs that we are currently working on - a large scale damask that incorporates some of the motifs from the first collection and a wonderful irregular horizontal stripe, as well as beautiful dense berry co-ordinate. then 7 new designs that we are printing on cotton and bringing out at a more moderate price point, something I think the market is really calling for now. We are still doing exciting original designs for this grouping but will not be hand printed on Belgian linen in order to keep it more affordable.


Willow the full repeat

Willow in green

Willow in blue

Warfield in full repeat

Warfield in orange

Warfield in Lavender

Warfield in green

Warfield in blue

Tropicana in full repeat

Tropicana in lavender

Tropicana in green

Tropicana in brown

Tropicana in blue

Calliandra in full repeat

Calliandra in robin's egg

Calliandra in orange

Calliandra in brown and orange

Calliandra in brown

Bizzy Bloom in full repeat in pink

Bizzy Bloom in green

Bizzy Bloom in blue


by Marisa Marcantonio

For me, the thrill is in the discovery. I always find new fabric collections exciting and inspiring, especially when they tell a new story. I am loving the new Lula Fabrics from South Africa. Incorporating bright prints with patterns in a room make it a happy place to be. The uplifting hot pink, pale blue and chartreuse palette of and naive prints are a welcome addition. For now, they are carried at Kathryn Ireland's new store in Los Angeles, and I hope they get picked up in more showrooms soon. New York eagerly awaits your arrival!