The Style Files: Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler Headshot

Throughout the course of her career, Kelly Wearstler has done what so many designers strive to do creating a singular, identifiable look which is at once glamorous and provocative. You know when you are looking at a space designed by Kelly Wearstler because it is usually fearless; decorated with unabashed gusto and moxie. Kelly is a master at creating visual tension, whether it is between natural and man-made elements, masculine and feminine, or modern and vintage in everything she takes on from residential or commercial spaces to her latest line of accessories.

In recent years, Kelly has built a veritable global lifestyle brand including her signature line of home accessories, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and objets d’art; fabrics with Lee Jofa, rugs for The Rug Company, tabletop for Pickard China, stationery with Paperless Post, and upcoming collections– lighting with Visual Comfort & Co. and furniture with EJ Victor. Her work has been published extensively in every important shelter and fashion publication both domestically and internationally. Kelly has also published four books featuring her work and inspiration–Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style, Domicilium Decoratus, Hue, and Rhapsody. I recently had the opportunity to interview Kelly and am thrilled to share today’s installment of The Style Files. Enjoy!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?
Kelly Wearstler: I want to take risks. My aesthetic is raw and refined. Colorful. Always something old and something new. Masculine and feminine. A mix of important history and fresh contemporary voices. The tension between opposites is sexy.

Kelly Wearstler Jay Street Kitchen

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?
KW: My library at home! I have over 2,000 titles of rare out of print, vintage and contemporary books on everything from fashion and design to architecture and landscape art. It is the first place I go for inspiration.

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 {A Chic Library Kelly Designed for a Client}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?
KW: Peggy Guggenheim. Her style transcended fashion. She embodied a lifestyle and is the epitome of chic. Debbie Harry – the embodiment of confident cool.

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{Peggy Guggenheim in the 1920s}

PC: What has been your greatest professional influence?
KW: Art history and travel. Educating my eye on different movement in history and exploring cultures around the world informs my process most of all. There is nothing like travel to open your mind creatively.

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{Kelly Wearstler is well known for designing stylish boutique hotels, including the Viceroy Anguilla.}

 PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita?”

KW: Spending time with my family and getting to go to work and do what I love every single day. Health, love and family.

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{A Sweet Photo of Kelly’s Sons Playing in the Family’s Garden a Few Years Ago}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?
KW: I am currently at work on a new hotel brand as well as new lighting, bedding and furniture collections slated to launch later this year.

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 {The Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills was one of Kelly’s first hotel projects and it continues to inspire today. I look forward to seeing her new hotel projects and product launches! I got a preview of her lighting line for Visual Comfort in High Point last fall and it was definitely the talk of the market.}

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Kelly Wearstler Favorites

Style Mantra: Love color. Take risks. Stay curious.
Scent: Cire Trudon Dada
Piece of Jewelry: My sterling silver Kelly Wearstler perforated cuff
Color I Never Tire Of: I love all colors equally! Living without color is like living without love.
Flower: White tulips
Indispensable design element: Color, Quality, Lighting
Era for Design: No clear favorite. A mix of several.
Dream Project: My two boys’ houses for their families!
Fabric/Tile: Kelly Wearstler Wall Covering – Channels
Way to unwind after a long day: Hot yoga class followed by dinner with my boys
Weekend Destination: Malibu
Museum: Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
Artist: Victor Vasarely
Prized Possession: My teddy bear Frank. He has been in my family for generations. He comes with me on all my trips.
Risk Worth Taking: Bold Color
Greatest Extravagance: Quality marble
Go-To Palette: Black and White
Movie Set Design: 1960’s James Bond Films
Dream Dinner Party Guest List: My family

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{Images Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler}

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