Spotlight on Sister Parish Design

In honor of our new collaboration with Sister Parish Design, we had the pleasure of interviewing its President and Co-Founder, Susan Crater. We learned about her decorating style, inspirations, and the lasting influence of her grandmother, legendary Designer Sister Parish.

We are thrilled to bring the Parish-Hadley design legacy to paper with the launch of our Desmond and Serendipity correspondence card sets!

What inspired you to revive your Grandmother’s work and start Sister Parish Design in 2000? Did you always know that you wanted to work in the design field?

The truth is that I did not always know that I wanted to work in the design field. I did always know that I appreciated a beautifully decorated room, and especially appreciated and loved the rooms that my grandmother and Albert [Hadley] designed. It is these rooms that inspired me to create this collection.

Many of your patterns are from the Parish-Hadley archives, though you have also launched new patterns along with a home accessories collection. How do you find a balance between honoring the Parish-Hadley tradition while continuing to update your offerings?

We look to the rooms that Parish-Hadley decorated and we look to the rooms that inspired Parish-Hadley to guide us in building our collection. How are textiles being used and what types of textiles are being used in these rooms?  Will decorators today want to use these textiles in the same way or will they want to use them differently? These are the types of questions we ask ourselves in order to build a collection that will continue to honor the Parish-Hadley legacy.

What is your favorite piece of decorating advice that you like to share with friends and clients?

“Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is beautiful, what is useful, what is lasting.”  -Sister Parish

Photo: Horst P. Horst/Condé Nast Archive

Sister Parish, 1974

What do you think that everyone should avoid when decorating a home? Do you have any design-related pet peeves?

One thing my grandmother taught me was the importance of scale. Overly large and overstuffed furniture will ruin a room.

 You have a gorgeous house up in Bedford, New York!  How would you compare your personal design aesthetic to that of your Grandmother’s? Do you have any favorite pieces of hers that you have out in your home (furniture, decorative pieces, etc)?

I’ve always wanted to create the same comfortable and beautiful rooms for my family that my mother and grandmother created for theirs.  I’m particularly in love with a green velvet Lawson style sofa designed by Billy Baldwin. Baldwin was small in physical stature and would use the Lawson sofa as his bed in his studio apartment. The same green velvet has been on the sofa since the 1980’s and it has only gotten better with time!

We’d love to hear a bit more about the Desmond and Serendipity patterns that are featured as part of our collaboration. How did you end up choosing these particular designs?

Both Desmond and the Serendipity are small all over prints that make a big impact. They are tried and true patterns that have added depth and sophistication to many rooms over the years. We knew they would have the same effect on stationery as they’ve had on rooms.

You have priceless handwritten letters from First Lady Jackie Kennedy to your grandmother in your archives—a perfect tie-in with our partnership. Why do you think that handwritten correspondence is still important in 2018?

A beautifully handwritten letter is like a beautifully decorated room. If properly cared for, it will last forever!

Where is your ideal place to sit down and write a letter?

My porch in Maine.

Photo Jun 05, 12 44 48 PM (1)

Susan and her daughter, Eliza, at the Dempsey & Carroll office during the photo shoot for our collaboration

Many thanks to Susan for taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to shop our collaboration on our site here!

Spotlight on Marcia Selden Catering

For over 30 years, Marcia Selden Catering has been creating unique events with an accent on extraordinary food, creativity, and highly polished professional service. We sat down with Managing Partner and Executive Chef Robin Selden to learn more about the family business!

Can you tell us how your mother became inspired to begin Marcia Selden Catering?

I always start by saying that my mom was an entrepreneur before the word was in the dictionary. When Martha Stewart published Entertaining forty years ago, Marcia exclaimed “I can do that,” and that’s exactly what she did!

She spent the next 20 years cooking for countless dignitaries and celebrities, catering everything from intimate dinner parties and cocktail receptions, to galas for thousands in New York City. At this point, her business was booming and she tapped me and Jeffrey (my brother) for help. He was on a fast track in the New York Luxury Hotel world and I was fairly happy in my job, but we figured that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The rest is history as we grew the business to twelve times its size in revenue and staff and moved to our current home at 65 Research Drive in Stamford.

Being an entrepreneur is all about wearing multiple hats. How did each family member find their perfect spot within the business?

Jeffrey joined us the summer of 2011, leaving the New York Palace Hotel as the second-in-command for their Food & Beverage department. He brought a wealth of business knowledge to the company along with his NYC Catering contacts and clients, so we felt that it was important to have a presence in the city. In the summer of 2014, we took over a floor of a building on 38th street to dedicate to our NYC offices, kitchen, and venue called Above Twelve. As a Managing Partner, Jeffrey wears a variety of hats and is responsible for Sales and Operations along with our beverage program called Liquid Kitchen.panna cotta

I am responsible for the Culinary Team, our Creative Operations team, and all of our Marketing efforts. I’ve found that I’m happiest when creating our advertising campaigns and working on research and development for new recipes. Mom is the “name on the door” and she is responsible for whatever she wants on any given day—much deserved after working on building this amazing company for 40 years. She is the creative force that pushes us all to do our best and she reminds us to never accept mediocrity. She is the greatest mentor to us all!

 IMG_2747

Could you describe the happenings in your kitchen on the morning of a big event?

Like the opening night of a Broadway show– very organized and perfectly executed mayhem!

What looks fresh to you this year as we head into the summer months?

I’m most excited for the local farm fresh produce.  I’ve never met an Heirloom tomato that I didn’t love!

1262-M4209-Hechler

Is there a recent food trend that you’re glad to see disappear?

Yes– Activated charcoal!

Is there a classic you’d love to see come back in vogue?

I would love to put a modern twist on traditional dishes like Chicken a la King and Beef Stew.

You’ve just served up another successful wedding reception on a lovely Saturday evening. What does your perfect recovery Sunday look like? How do you treat yourself?

I’d definitely head to the local diner for breakfast before my “real” job as a parent kicks in. I’ll hit usually the grocery store, do laundry, help with homework, and then maybe treat myself to a pedicure.

And when you’re cooking for yourself, what’s your favorite comfort food?

I love anything cooked out on the grill and big pots of soup chock full of veggies (usually with beans and quinoa).  I’m also obsessed with breakfast and will never turn down an awesome omelet!
IMG_2903

Imagine you’re marooned on a desert island. What three kitchen tools would you like most to have with you and why?

  • My favorite Stainless Steel mixing bowl because I can prepare anything in it and even eat out of it and it won’t get damaged by the sea water.
  • My Shun Chef’s Knife which is my favorite, “can’t live without it,” tool in my kitchen
  • My Porcelain Enamel Coated Cast Iron Casserole (with the lid) because I can use it to boil water, cook soup, sauté, braise and even fry if I’m lucky enough to start with a few pantry items like oil!

 

Spotlight on Little Red Fox Bakery

Kristi Tursi of Little Red Fox Bakery knows how to please the eye just as much as the palate. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles recently grilled her about celebrating with sweets throughout the seasons.

 

In just a few words, could you tell us about your bakery? 

I’m the owner of Little Red Fox Bakery located in Essex, Vermont.  What’s with the name, you may ask? When I was six I told my family that I was the owner of Little Red Fox Bakery, thus a dream has become a reality. The majority of my business specializes in ‘Celebration Cakes’ for weddings and ‘Elevated Events’ as the component of my bakery that focuses on all catered events. I incorporate locally sourced and ‘Made in Vermont’ ingredients in all of my bakery goods. I’m lucky enough to be able to use maple syrup that is produced down the road from where I live!

I’m also a food stylist and photographer with ongoing assignments throughout New England and the New York Metropolitan area where most of my work is based. Yes, I focus on the visual presentation, but I live by this rule: Flavor Leads Style.

 

You’re living in a perfect world: So many of us love to bake and everyone loves baked goods! How did you discover this passion?

I’ve been baking since I was a little girl, but the road to opening my bakery and catering business wasn’t a straight route! My mother’s side of the family is Hungarian, so I was fortunate enough to start my baking adventures with some of the world’s most classic recipes. Holidays, birthdays, and special occasions were all opportunities to learn my beloved recipes. I’m not embarrassed to say that on a recent trip to Budapest, Vienna, and Paris, I sampled pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

I studied psychology and art history in college and even pursued post-undergraduate work in those fields, but my love for baking and the desire to run a business ultimately led me to opening the doors to Little Red Fox Bakery.  I love the exactness and precision of bakery life paired with the creative freedom and design work for wedding cakes and sweets.

And you’ve a great deal of experience as a food stylist down here in New York City?

I worked for a few luxury e-commerce sites and quickly segued into food photography and styling assignments–It’s an aspect of my business that I truly love. My work was recently published in PDN (Photo District News) for food photography and I also have ongoing collaborations with brands such as CARGO Cosmetics and Fjallraven for styling and photo work.

 

If you’re planning sweets for a large event, logistically speaking, what is a good direction to go in? And what types of treats might not go so smoothly?

For large scale events, I always work to appeal to everyone’s unique tastes and requirements; treats for people with nut allergies, some gluten free selections, and a show stopper type of dessert to add an element of surprise. I generally try to go with things that tease the palate, so I include a variety of textures: gooey, crunchy, smooth, and fluffy, to name a few. I also always like to include savory sweets, like rosemary or caraway biscotti. The latter goes well with wine at cocktail parties, so you can say that I cover the taste sensations that begin the meal and those that end it.

 

We’d love to hear more about some of the work you’ve done for weddings.

I specialize in wedding cakes, favors, and full service catering under the part of my business known as ‘Elevated Events.’ I love making wedding cakes that incorporate unique details, like calligraphed messages on wafer paper affixed to the surface.

A current trend is to have a dessert table in place of a cake. Brides (and grooms) come in for a consultation and talk about all their favorite memories of getting to know each other and the foods associated with those memories. We like to curate a menu that is truly a culinary reflection of their courtship.

 

Spring is just around the corner. What tastes and textures do you think are best served as people tire of heavy winter foods?

People generally want things with fruit and palettes that are reminders of the awakening of spring on the landscape. Small fruit tarts, fruit mousses in mini chocolate cups, and mini cheesecakes topped with fruit tend to be popular choices. On the more elaborate and fluffy side, we have meringues, a crowd favorite. They are feather light, perfectly sweet, and customizable to pretty much any flavor profile.

 

A truly elegant show stopper is a layered mocha dacquoise cake, which includes layered hazelnut meringue with mocha butter cream. A Spanish Windtorte, a Baroque looking construction of fancy meringue piping, is also excellent as it can be topped or filled with a pastry cream and seasonal fruits and berries – the perfect transition from decadent holiday treats!

 

What goodies do you think can keep cool in the summer heat?

I love trifles. The flavors are so versatile, and they can be made in large or small scale; it’s the ‘just right’ amount of cake to cream to fruit ratio! I also love fruits tarts and shortcakes, both of which incorporate fruit and can be made on the lighter side for those 90+ hot, humid days.

Last year, we did an event held in a non air-conditioned old barn at the edge of a river; think ninety degrees, humidity, and mosquitoes. We made a lemon three-tier cake with lemon and lavender infused pastry cream filling. It was a semi-naked cake that we adorned with frosted berries and mint leaves. On the side, I had chilled raspberry champagne-soaked watermelon mini cubes on a stick—they were almost as popular as the cake, maybe more so!

21296707_114306939287053_6382356732256976896_n

And how is chocolate best served in the summer?

Hopefully not melted! I think a ganache tart can be served in hot and humid weather quite well.  My two most popular flavors in the summer incorporate orange blossom or lavender; both have a hint of flavor that is balanced by the semi sweetness of the chocolate. I love to garnish the tarts with edible flowers—always a gorgeous finishing touch for tying in the color scheme of a wedding. Time management and organization are key when baking and presenting food, especially when it’s warm. In summer weather, a cooler or two may displace diamonds as a girl’s best friend.

 

As fall returns, what ingredients do you like to bring forward from the back of the pantry?

Fall is one of my busier times for weddings and catered events, so I created a theme called ‘perfect pairings’ to help those planning a Fall wedding with some level of continuity among their sweet and savory choices! I tend to reach for nutmeg, cinnamon, or even smoked maple! I love mulled cider, as it pairs wonderfully with cider doughnuts and apple pies. As a Vermont-based baker, it goes without saying that I sweeten my desserts with maple syrup and maple sugar any chance I get. I think a dark maple syrup provides for the best pronounced flavors in my pumpkin pies, butter creams, and compotes! 15099470_1475730969123730_2837803386319929344_n

I also love chestnuts. I include a chocolate chestnut ganache tart as a holiday selection and I make Chestnut Mignons, a Hungarian specialty with chestnut cream, chocolate, and rum shaped into a chestnut shape and enrobed in chocolate and mocha couverture.

 

For winter holiday entertaining, whether it’s a cozy get together following an afternoon of ice skating, or a more formal holiday affair, what could we surprise our guests with?  

Who doesn’t love to fawn over a dessert table? For a small, casual gathering (after skating, say, by a roaring fire),  I would have a menu that includes cinnamon hot chocolate paired with Belgian brownies and whipped cream, hot cider paired with maple churros, and piping hot mochas with chocolate éclairs filled with blood orange pastry cream. 16122724_271096073310002_9068248877664043008_n

For a formal affair, I love to present a crepes cream cake that looks like it has a thousand layers. Another favorite that I made for a Scandinavian event was the Princess cake; a green dome of pistachio marzipan adorned with delicate pink flowers covering layers of cake, pastry cream,  and lots of whipped cream.

 

In terms of classic recipes, what do you think never goes out of style?

A classic genoise cake, which is a French-style cake that serves as the foundation for simple jelly rolls and many elaborate pastries. It is perfect ‘as is,’ but even better as the cake layers on a scrumptious wedding cake. A genoise holds up incredibly well year-round and can be made with ingredients that a home baker will have in their kitchen.

And when the ovens have cooled and you close up shop for the day, how do you like to spend your down time?

I live in Vermont for a majority of the year and love getting outside to enjoy the Green Mountains! From November through April, my skis are by the front door so I can literally step outside, don my skis, and off I go! In the summer months, I turn into a kayaker. I’m also the happy owner of a German Shepherd puppy, so hiking, trail running, and sailing on Lake Champlain are perfect departures from a chaotic day of baking and decorating (and it keeps the puppy happy)! My time in nature keeps me focused and serves as a beautiful work/life balance! When I’m in the city, I walk everywhere–I’ve been known to walk from SoHo to the UES. I love the contrast of solitude and city buzz. I think art and beauty and truth are found in that contrast.

 

Spotlight on Caitlin McGauley

In celebration of our brand new collaboration, we sat down with Watercolor Artist and Illustrator Caitlin McGauley to learn more about her work and how she gets inspired. We first met McGauley through our friend Michelle Adams, founder of The Maryn. In fact, the artwork from our collection in partnership with The Maryn was also designed by McGauley!

We are excited to launch the whimsical Caitlin McGauley Animal Collection featuring the Cheetah and Fox motifs and envelope finishings customized by McGauley. We hope that you are as charmed by this collaboration as much as we are! #caitlinmcgauleyxdempsey

 

How did you get started with watercolor?

I was constantly drawing as a kid, so my parents signed me up for group watercolor lessons at 9 years old. I had a great teacher who was in her mid-eighties, and we would sit at card tables in her dining room and copy pictures of landscapes that she tore out of magazines. My next painting teacher was a friendly hippie who taught in a 70’s A frame cottage on a lake. I really loved watercolor and I never pursued any other medium.

 

What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on recently?

Custom projects with interior designers are always fun and diverse, and it’s nice to collaborate with fellow artists. Currently, I am designing a wallpaper with repeating feathers for the ceiling of a restaurant, and I’m in the sketch phase for an animal-themed wallpaper mural that will span a massive playroom without repeating itself.

DSC_6552 - Copy

 

What inspires you the most?

Spending time at book stores and antique/secondhand shops! My daughter and I like to go and ‘look for treasures,’ and I keep my eyes peeled for weird or beautiful objects and vases that can be incorporated into my paintings. If I have an hour or so to kill, I would probably spend it at Books of Wonder on 18th street looking at children’s books. I am a picture book fanatic and I always attend the Children’s Book show at the Society of Illustrators, where they show the original work from all of the best picture books from the previous year.

 

Your two young children must have so much fun when they get to visit you in the studio! Do they share your creativity?

Yes, they definitely have the art bug! My six-year-old daughter stays up later at night than I do I presume, since in the morning she has all kinds of new ideas and drawings in the sketchbook that she keeps on her bedside table. My son is a perfectionist and asks me to put white-out on any of his coloring pages where he’s gone outside of the lines.

DSC_6565 - Copy

 

Are there any places that you’ve traveled that have had the most influence on your work?

I worked at a small textiles company in my 20’s and was lucky to travel to Asia several times to source fabrics and visit factories. India and China have such a rich textile history and I am so grateful that I got to soak it all up in person. I still reference fabrics and pictures from my trips for inspiration. Time to go back, I think!

22280564_120684728622772_669516746394173440_n

What inspired this collaboration? We’d love to hear a bit more about the colorful prints that are featured!

I love to paint animals, so I started with the pink cheetah and orange fox, and the prints evolved from there. The fox felt masculine and preppy so I looked at vintage ties on eBay, which resulted in stripes and an abstract collegiate-feeling crest print in primary colors. For the cheetah, I drew from animal prints and foliage, but I used colors not necessarily found in nature.

 

Where is your ideal place to sit down and write a letter?

In the peace and quiet of my studio. I always send a hand-written note with paintings– it shows a kind of appreciation that cannot be conveyed over email!

22158037_1683918061626607_287243985372577792_n

 

Where else can people find your work (aside from our stationery, of course!)?

I have a collection of wallpapers available through the showrooms Studio Four in New York, James in Austin and Dallas Texas, and Nicky Rising in Los Angeles. I also have a shop on my website which I consistently update with original paintings, mostly florals and animals.

Shop the Caitlin McGauley x Dempsey & Carroll on our site here!

 

Spotlight on Double G Events

Designer Maggie Brucker of Double G Events knows how to throw a perfect party! Recently, Maggie graciously indulged Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles with a delightful dose of her wit and wisdom.

Maggie-Headshot-Double-G-Events-CT-Wedding_Planner (1)

We adore your work! How were you first drawn into this beautiful business?

Thank you so much for your kind words! I actually got into this industry “by accident,” though I always knew I wanted to do something creative for my career. As I was growing up, I took theater and dance classes, voice lessons, performed in plays, painted, and more. I went to college for Interior Design thinking I would open up my own design firm some day, but I realized that it wasn’t for me after working in the industry for two years.  I then did what every other 24-year- old college graduate did when they didn’t have a job and started bartending at my friend’s restaurant. The restaurant soon started to offer off-site event catering and my friend asked me to help, thus my love for events and weddings was born!

After a few years with my friend’s catering company, I was offered a position as the Event Planner for Barteca Restaurant Group (Bartaco, Barcelona Wine Bar), where I took on the role of planning and designing all in-house and off-site events. Six years later, I decided to open my own Event Planning and Design boutique and Double G Events was launched in 2010!

 

Your events are so fresh and spirited, yet so timeless. What’s the secret to striking this perfect balance?

You hit the nail on the head! There are so many talented planners and designers out there, and I am so lucky to be friends with most of the ones based in Connecticut–they really are my soul and support group. Being a solo entrepreneur, it’s wonderful to have these gals just a phone call or text away for some “water cooler talk” or comedic relief. Sometimes you just need someone to lean on who gets your industry!

With that said, we all offer similar services and need to be able to differentiate ourselves from each other. It took me a while to figure out my unique style through lots of soul searching, paying attention to the clothes I wore, how I decorated my home, and more. I came to realize that my style is timeless with a bit of unexpected edge. I try to stay away from trends because I want my clients to be able to look at their wedding 30 years later and still love it.

lounsbury-house-wedding-double-g-events-ct-wedding-planners (8)

When I work with brides, the word I say over and over again is “AUTHENTIC.” I ask them questions about how they spend their weekends, what shows they like, how they decorate their home, and more. Though Pinterest is helpful for aesthetic reasons, it tells me nothing about my couples and who they are personally. My goal when designing a wedding is for their guests to walk into the space and say, “I get it! This is totally Jane and John!” and understand why certain elements were chosen.

As you can see from all of these photos, every wedding is unique because every one of my clients has their own unique style, and our job is to bring that to their event.

 

Within an event design, what element can you never get enough of? And what aspect do you think is most impactful when used with restraint?

Lighting, lighting, LIGHTING! Lighting will change a room’s ambiance in a heartbeat and I always ask my clients to put aside splurge money for this purpose. I describe lighting as the “jewelry” of the event. We work with Shindig Lighting a ton, and they are always evolving with innovative chandeliers, bistro canopies– you name it! In one of our most recent weddings together at Truelove Farms, we used hand-made hanging Moroccan Chandeliers that they personally picked out during their trip to Morocco to ship back to the USA!

 

Are you noticing any trends that were prevalent just a few years ago that your more recent clients are not requesting?

I won’t lie, but I am SO happy the burlap and Mason jar trend is OVER! As a designer, there is only so much you can do with burlap, and it made every wedding look exactly the same.

 

Are they asking for anything that’s new and surprising you?

We’ve definitely noticed a trend towards having a less formal affair. Instead of plated 4-course meals, clients are interested in having interactive food stations or passing appetizers throughout the reception so that guests can easily mingle and dance as they please. We’ve also been seeing a trend towards brunch weddings (my favorite meal of the week) instead of traditional dinner weddings.

Our clients are always looking for venues that have that “wow” factor, i.e, industrial factories or airplane hangars. Those are super fun to design!

lounsbury-house-wedding-double-g-events-ct-wedding-planners (33)

 

You do a lot of work at the Connecticut shore. Is there a dream venue you’ve been longing to design for but just haven’t had the opportunity yet?

Our dream venues are always backyard tented weddings—they are so personal to us and our clients. It’s a blank slate to bring in anything that the clients want without worrying about whether the décor we bring in will clash with the surroundings.

 

You receive heaps of praise from delighted clients. When they write you the thank you note, what are the two or three things that you keep hearing for which you are most proud?

I am most proud when clients praise my amazing team. I am personally not one to be in the spotlight – it actually makes me a bit uncomfortable – which is why I think I like this job so much. The bride is the show and I can stay behind the curtain.

When a client praises my team, I smile from ear to ear because they are an extension of me and my work. It makes me feel like I’m doing a great job in teaching them what our brand stands for, and watching them grow makes me feel like a proud Momma!

Here are a few of the best compliments I’ve heard lately:

“We spoke with other planners and you were the friendliest!”

 “I’m not that worried about which venue we choose because I’ve seen your work and know you’re going to make it amazing!”

 “We did not pay you enough for what you did!”

 

When it’s time for you to relax and recharge, what’s your idea of a perfectly relaxing evening?

I travel to Colorado a ton; we are currently opening up a studio in Denver and there’s nothing like the mountain views. When I’m in Connecticut, I love going to farmers’ markets and estate sales, hosting dinners for friends, trying out new restaurants (food in the way to my heart), and taking my dog hiking in the woods.

And your ideal weekend escape?

There are so many options, but there’s nothing better than retreating to a cabin in the woods without cell service or email so that I can completely unplug at the end of a busy season!

candlewood-lake-wedding-double-g-events-ct-wedding-planning (62)

 

Photo Credits:
Trulove Farms Wedding
Location: Trulove Farms, Morris, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Athena Bludè Photography
Florals: Fleurescent
Tent: Abbey Tent + Party Rentals
Rentals/Linen: Peak Event Services
Vintage Rentals: Gather + Lounge
Lighting: Shindig Lighting
J House Greenwich Wedding
Location: J House Greenwich, Greenwich, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Sarma + Co.
Florals: Fleurescent
Rentals/Linen: Peak Event Services
Lighting: Shindig Lighting
Candlewood Lake Wedding
Location: Candlewood Lake Club, New Fairfield, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Andrew Henderson Photography
Florals: Fleurescent
Rentals/Linen: Peak Event Services
Lounsbury House Wedding
Location: Lounsbury House, Ridgefield, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Monika Photography
Florals: Truffles + James
Rentals/Linen: Party Rental Ltd. // Gather + Lounge

 

Spotlight on: Christos Dovas

Celebrated designer Christos Dovas is your first stop for a celebration in unforgettable style. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles sat down with him to discuss how Greek origins formed a great New York talent.

 

QUESTION: You’ve been involved in garment design and construction since an early age. Can you tell us about those beginnings?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: I believe I was born artistic – The fact that I grew up with a father who was a shoe designer was a coincidence of destiny. I first learned to design from picking up the leather scraps from the floor, and making small wearable pieces. As a child, I watched my father buy raw materials and deal with market professionals – This taught me about business. watching my father work at the bench itself taught me how to pull the grow and straighten the fabric. I would say I was most fortunate to see my dad working original designs from the 50’s 60’s 70’s in leather skins, fabric and laces.

QUESTION: When we think of your work, what images would you like first to pop into our heads?  Light? Air? The sea? How has your Greek heritage informed you design?

CHRISTOS DOVAS:  I am a dreamer. I want my designs to conjure up the imagery of books, sculpture and paintings– secret stories all through the medium of my pencils and threads. It sounds funny but I get inspired while in New York; blending my past work experience and the city’s active lifestyle results in contemporary, artful pieces. My creations are influenced by pure poetry, clarity and symbolism. I love to design, create, and ultimately make women feel beautiful.

QUESTION: What thrills you most about Greece? And what do you find most exciting about New York?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: In Greece, it is exciting to be surrounded by time. History and Art have left marks with the Ancient Greek artifacts that inspire me daily. In contrast, New York’s contemporary presence is alive with a melting pot of different cultures.

1606474_353334708184870_7781110175103783653_o

QUESTION: You’re an amazing colorist! When you use color, it feels at once bold and yet gently nuanced. Are there colors have you not been using that you are becoming more and more interested in?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: Since childhood, I have loved to draw with my pencils in black and white, along with watercolor and wax. I love gentle, smooth, soft pastels in combination with strong, dark, powerful hues. There are many different ways that color and fabric can be combined to create unique creation. The personality of someone is definitely the most important factor to consider when applying color onto fabric.

 

QUESTION: What’s it like to work with you and your studio? Can you tell us a little about the experience of commissioning your work?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: I am an old fashioned designer, which means that I like to show personal interest in the commission of a dress. Once we agree on the design, I begin to drape the fabric and bring to the drawings to life. Lots of hand-stitching is involved in the execution, and many fittings will happen to perfect a bespoke design.

1487848_210421692476173_21946578_o

 

QUESTION: Can you give us a tip? What design elements should be avoided for practicality reasons?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: My philosophy revolves around beauty and timeless elegance. I would rather stay with simplicity instead of opting for a design with lots of lines and shapes.

 

QUESTION: When you’re seeking inspiration and renewal, where do you head?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: I often seek inspiration through books, art history, paintings, and sculptures. I always like to head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York and I love reading biographies of artists and designers.

 

QUESTION: Before we go, will you please share a sweet story about one of your favorite clients?

CHRISTOS DOVAS:  Every moment is a special occasion, though weddings take the cake. When designing a wedding dress, the mother is always the biggest advisor to the bride.  When it comes to details, there are usually different ideas and opinions to be had, especially when choose sleeve embellishments. A bride-to-be chose one ribbon with embroidery as the finish detail, and the mother chose another ribbon with bugles and crystals. There were a lot of hard decisions to make on their end in terms of which ones to choose. The final creation was beautifully stitched with attention to detail to make both the bride and mother happy with the design!

Learn more about Christos Dovas at http://www.ChristosDovas.com 
Credits:
Photography: Manuel Vasquez and Stephen Shadrach
Model: Jackie Swerz
Make Up artist: Alison Cornely,
Hair: Abby Ballin
Portrait credits: Francois Legagneur

 

 

 

Spotlight on Tessler Events

Eyal Tessler of New York City-based Tessler Events knows exactly what makes an important day a most memorable one. Recently, Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked him to reveal some of the secrets of his successes.

 

AA: What should fill our heads when we think of Tessler Events?

ET: When thinking of “Tessler Events” I would like people to think of us as more than just event or party planners. I want you to think about us as your partners in creating memories for life and making dreams come true. We don’t just look at the end result because we like to think of ourselves as your event architects; we take you through the journey of the planning so you can enjoy and learn every step of the way.

3

 

AA: Is there a venue in New York that you long to design for but have not yet had the chance?

ET: One of my dreams is to do a midsummer night alfresco dinner in Central Park.

 

AA: You’re capable of beautifully expressing a variety of aesthetics and I’ve seen you do very clean and modern spaces that are still very lush and opulent in mood. Your work seems so new, but where in your journeys do you find inspiration?

ET: I love just walking around the city and getting ideas and inspiration from theater, movies, fashion, architecture, art and more.  It’s not always about the big things — the right small element that can sometimes deliver the biggest impact.

1

 

AA: To you, what makes or breaks a dinner party?

ET: I think a dinner party should be a reflection on the hosts, together with the art of entertaining. It’s all about putting together the right group with the right menu in the right atmosphere and with the right seating scheme. If you don’t have all of these elements, you can unwittingly create a recipe for disaster.

 

AA: How large can a dinner party be until place cards are necessary?

ET: I think any size dinner party can have place cards. Part of the art of entertaining is making sure the right people sit next to each other to fuel conversation and, sometimes, new relationships.

 

AA: And how large can a dinner be before escort cards are needed?

ET: I think any dinner party with more than two tables should have escort cards so it’s easy for your guests to find their seat.

4

 

AA: Do you care to share any pet peeves about tablescapes? What are you fussy about and most relaxed about?

ET: I don’t like tabletops that are too crowded and fussy because a table setting should be comfortable and welcoming. I don’t think you need five different glasses for each place setting at all times; you can always reset silverware and glassware. A big no-no for me is to have a centerpiece that prevents conversation between people across the table. I think for small dinner parties, sometimes less is more.

 

AA: When the day is done, how do you like to wind down?

ET: I like to exercise, listen to music and just separate the work day from the private life. Disconnecting is a very hard task as a business owner, but I try my best!

 

AA: And when you’re traveling for pure pleasure, what kind of adventure are you hoping to find?

ET: My happy place is the ocean, so the best adventures for me include a beautiful beach with lots of time to relax and recharge.

11

24 Hours in Los Angeles with FORM Design Studio

image009Based in Los Angeles, Josh and Rafi of FORM Design Studio are at the forefront of modern, sustainable living, but still take time to appreciate the allure of the Old Hollywood glamour in their city. Don’t forget to check out our collaboration with FORM after you read about their go-to spots in LA!

 

 

 

 

image001

Where to Stay

  • Favorite Hotel: Château Marmont, because classic is always “in.”  The Château, as it is called, offers a taste of Hollywood at its finest.  For locals, this is a picturesque and quiet spot to meet friends for a drink, a meal, or some people watching.

 

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Casual Dining: This is a toss-up between Din Tai Fung in Arcadia and Mozza in Hollywood.
  • Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese dumpling house.  We must confess, it is a chain, but the dumplings are made in-house and by hand (you can watch from the huge window that looks into the kitchen).  There is something so clean about this food; you can taste every ingredient in each dumpling.  The simplicity is what makes it so special.  It’s now become a phenomenon, so line up early!

 

  • At another end of the culinary spectrum, there is the marvel that is Pizzeria Mozza, the brainchild of partners Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich.  This place is the distillation of the best parts of each of the owners’ talents. If you are in Los Angeles and you want to challenge the wisdom that the best pizza in America is in New York, give it a shot.  Neither of us eats dairy or wheat, but we eat pizza at Mozza.

 

image004

Orsa & Winston delicacies

  • Fine Dining: Our favorite upscale restaurant is a small spot that has recently wriggled its way into our hearts: Orsa & Winston.  The degustation menu is ever-changing depending on the available fresh ingredients (and in Los Angeles, the parameters are as broad as they come). The food is magnificently conceived and deftly offered and the service is impeccable. The wine pairing is “just so,” working seamlessly and symbiotically with the chef’s creations. This is a great date spot.

 

 

 

  • Favorite Bar: This is an easy one: Augustine Wine Bar.  This gem is in Sherman image005Oaks and it has become our go-to for all things celebratory.  Not only is the food spectacular (you can expect anything from a simple plate of artisanal charcuterie, to a beautifully charred octopus or a perfect duck confit), but the wine offerings are remarkable. What these guys are doing is offering really wonderful, vintage wines by the glass in a super sexy setting to a wide variety of wine enthusiasts. We have had warm, intimate evenings together there as well as raucous nights, meeting some real characters at the bar.  The staff is knowledgeable, kind (we’ve made good friends), and always ready to chat about the more esoteric experiences one can find in the bottle.

Augustine Wine Bar

 

What to See

image006

The Getty Center

  • Our favorite museum in LA is The Getty Center.  The never-ending parade of world class exhibits that move through The Getty are not to be missed, but the permanent collection is of extraordinary merit itself.  The grounds are breathtaking along with the structures themselves, which were designed by Richard Meier.  The museum is, purportedly, the world’s largest installation of travertine.  With its fountains, sculptures, and gardens, The Getty offers visitors more than one could absorb in a day. The restaurant there is one of the most civilized locations in all of Los Angeles, drawing much more of NY crowd than anything else and the view at sunset is something to write home about.
image007

Huntington Gardens

  • We would say that in the “attraction” category, there is no better place than the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena.  Being there is like slipping into Alice’s Wonderland!  If you weren’t a botanophile (we are having some debate as to whether or not that is a word) before visiting, you certainly will be afterwards.

 

Thank you for sharing your Los Angeles favorites with us, Josh and Rafi!

Where are your favorite destinations to visit in Los Angeles or other cities around the world? Discover our Jet Set Collection to inspire your next trip and use the #DestinationDempsey hashtag on social media to share your travels. 

24 Hours in Rome with Cristina Verger

Cristina VergerNew York-based destination event planner Cristina Verger is an expert at creating the most memorable events all over Italy and beyond. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked Cristina to let us in on the very best places to hang our hats in her beloved birthplace, Rome!

 

 

Where to Stay

Hassler Roma 2

  • Hassler Roma: Located at the top of the Spanish Steps with phenomenal views, Hotel Hassler Roma positions you a short distance from the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Vatican, and countless other treasures.

 

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Coffee breaks: Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe has the best coffee in Rome! Located between Piazza Navona and The Pantheon, this café opened in 1938 and the beans are roasted right on the premises.

 

  • For a quick bite to eat: Refreshing, pure and modern, Yugo Fusion, is a delight to the palette as much as it is to the eye.

 

  • Fine Dining: Tucked away down a side street near the Pantheon and intimately designed, La Rosetta has earned its irrefutable reputation by perfectly preparing the freshest fish and seafood caught daily.
  • Drinks: As seen in Fellini’s classic 1960 film, La Dolce Vita, Harry’s Bar is a must for a reviving cocktail with a little celebrity spotting on the side.

What to See

  •  Borghese Gallery: This is an extremely tough one to choose because all of Rome is an open air museum. Originally built by Architect Flaminio Ponzio as a Villa Suburbana for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, you can get your fill of masterpieces by Bernini, Caravaggio, Titian, and more.

Borghese Gallery 2

Thank you for sharing your Rome favorites, Cristina!

Where are your favorite destinations to visit in Rome or other cities around the world? Discover our Jet Set Collection to inspire your next trip and use the #DestinationDempsey hashtag on social media to share your travels. 

24 Hours in Paris with Loli Events

Both French born, Lauren Fremont and Coralie Prats of Loli Events make gracious living their business. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked them to share their favorite haunts in our beloved Paris for you to keep in mind for your next trip to the City of Lights!

Where to Stay

Pavillon de la Reine

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Les petits cafés: My love for coffee shops is endless, and thankfully Paris is full of them! My favorite is the Saint Regis Café on Ile Saint Louis because of its authentic style and location–the servers are super fun and the coffee is really good too!
  • Fine Dining: Le Meurice Alain Ducasse is located inside the Palace Hotel Le Meurice and it is truly stunning. Walking into this restaurant is already an experience in itself!
Le Meurice Alain Ducasse

The grand dining room at Le Meurice Alain Ducasse

  • Cocktails: Le Moonshiner is a speakeasy on Rue Sedaine and it is the best place in Paris to drink a good whiskey cocktail! The hidden entrance and retro decor make for a memorable night out.

Le Moonshiner

What to See

  • La Seine Banks: It is always interesting to wander along The River Seine, especially around the two islands, Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis, and along Saint Germain. You will find all kinds of people; joggers, old people with their dogs, lovers, artists, and workers on their way to the office.  During sunsets, the buildings turn into gold and the sky softens with gorgeous shades of pink–I will never get enough of it!

Sylvie-Gil-La Seine

  • The Square Georges-Cain: This is my favorite place in my beloved neighborhood, Le Marais. It is a lovely park in front of a beautiful building and it’s very well maintained–It’s my little heaven on Earth! The location on a quiet street makes it the ideal place to relax outside in the nice weather. The Square George Cain

 

  • Paris doors: How can we not talk about these huge and colorful street doors? I have so many blue doors photos on my phone–they are all different and all majestic!
  • Old little streets & Passages: Paris used to be so differentPassage des Princes back in the day! I’m always very nostalgic when I find a little street and picture the whole city before Haussmann’s renovation in the 19th century. Thankfully, we still have the beautiful Passages like two favorites: Galerie Vivienne and Passage des Princes!
  • Museums: Musée Jacquemart-André is a beautiful hotel particulier in Paris that offers a large collection of private paintings and antique furniture. The grand townhouse is divided into five major parts and it is a wonderful place to explore.

Musée Jacquemart-André

Merci to Lauren and Coralie for letting us in on a few of their Paris favorites!

Where are your favorite destinations to visit in Paris or other cities around the world? Discover our Jet Set Collection to inspire your next trip and use the #DestinationDempsey hashtag on social media to share your travels.