The Style Files: Robert Rufino

Design editor Robert Rufino has had a long and storied career in the design world. He is a man of impeccable style and immeasurable kindness as he has been quite supportive not only to me, but to many burgeoning designers in our industry. It was recently announced that Rufino will be leaving his post as interiors editor at ELLE DECOR and will become Style Director for House Beautiful under the magazine’s new editorial director, Jo Saltz, helping to shepherd the 120 year old publication into its newest chapter. According to Hearst, “as Style Director, Rufino will oversee the style and design esthetic of the brand, leading partnerships with designers, managing the coverage of interiors, and overseeing all photography.” Before his tenure at ELLE DECOR, he held positions as interiors editor of Architectural Digest and senior editor-at-large at House Beautiful. From 1996-2009, Rufino was at Tiffany & Co., first as vice president of visual merchandising and then vice president of creative services, where he oversaw the brand’s global image, with responsibilities including store design and visual display, exhibits, and the company’s famous window displays. He began his career as visual planning director at Henri Bendel, worked as a freelance stylist, for clients including The New York Times Magazine and held editorial positions at a variety of titles, including Harper’s BAZAAR. Needless to say, it will be rather exciting to see how this great talent’s chic point of view will translate into the new iteration of House Beautiful.


Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Robert Rufino: Classic with a twist. It’s most important that everything is tailored to a T. It’s all in the details!

PC: How has living in New York City influenced your aesthetic?

RR: I have lived here all my life and my style really hasn’t changed. I never believed in fashion trends; I believe in having your own great style.



PC: What does your home say about you?

RR: It’s very severe and well edited. I live in a black, white, and grey world. Sometimes, I am known to be a little bit intimidating.

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

RR: Everywhere—walking the streets, the theatre, museums, music, and beyond



PC: Who are your personal style icons?

RR: Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire, Diana Vreeland, and Elsie de Wolfe

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

RR: Kindness and honesty

{Robert’s Sweet Dog, Windsor}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

RR: French fries

{A Glimpse into Robert’s Home via his Instagram, @therobertrufino}

PC: Who/what has been your greatest professional influence?

RR: Geraldine Stutz—one of the originals—was my first boss at the real Henri Bendel when it was located at 10 West 57th Street. I worked with her for 11 years and we had a friendship for more than 33 years until the day she passed away.


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

RR: Great health and enough money in the bank; living life large and enjoying every moment of my time here, for the good and bad. And true, real friendships are a must.

PC: What can we look forward to next from you? 

RR: I just accepted a great new job as Style Director at House Beautiful. I’m fortunate enough to be working with Joanna Saltz and her new team as we bring House Beautiful into the next chapter.



Go-To Outfit: Blue jeans, a pinstripe vest, and a perfectly pressed white shirt

Style Mantra: Regardless of wearing a custom suit or pair of jeans, one must feel comfortable and at ease. I wear the clothes; the clothes do not wear me.

Scent: L’ombre by Diptyque 

Piece of Jewelry: Mish New York cufflinks, especially my South Sea pearls

Color I Never Tire Of: Blue

Flower: White Parrot tulips

Indispensable Design Element: Elsa Peretti bone-crystal candlesticks

Era for Design: 1920s

Dream Project: My dream project was photographing Prince Charles for the cover of Architectural Digest in February 2012.

Fabric/Textile: Fortuny

Hostess Gift: Handmade chocolates from Rhinebeck, New York

Meal: Turkey club sandwich with Russian dressing

Drink: Champagne

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Spending time with my Jack Russell Terrier, Windsor

3 Things I Love About New York: The non-stop energy, Central Park, and the Frick Museum

Weekend Destination: Rhinebeck, New York

Hotel: The Connaught Hotel in London

Museum: New York’s Frick Museum and Whitney Museum

Artist: Egon Schiele

Movie: I Am Love

City: London, England

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross

Actress: Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, and Cate Blanchett

Actor: Bradley Cooper, Lucas Hedges, and Daniel Day Lewis

Movie: Phantom Thread

Prized Possession: My best friend

Risk Worth Taking: Going out for a long swim way beyond the limit

Greatest Extravagance: Custom shoes and suits

Go-To Color Palette: Shades of grey

Rule to Break: Never say never

Movie Set Design: Downton Abbey

I can never have too many… White shirts


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  1. Brava Paloma a style file on the maestro is just what we all needed to remind uswhat true style really is. i am proud to call him my bestie!