It’s that time of year again, Fashion Week is here in New York. This is the time of year where streets of Manhattan are filled with gorgeous men and women, dressed in wild outfits, wearing spectacular shoes. This season, I was lucky enough to be invited back to the Mercedes Benz Star Lounge. Once again, it was designed by the fabulous Wesley Cadle. I first met Wesley this past winter, when I was asked to interview him regarding his design of the star lounge. This is his third season designing the lounge, and once again, I was blown away when I walked into the room. This season, I was the first designer and blogger to visit the space. So today, you have the first look at the Mercedes Benz star lounge!
This was my second time in “the tent” and I had the same tingling feeling as I did last season. It wasn’t a nervous feeling. It was the feeling of excitement, that you have when you walk into a place you know that every girl in the country (or world) wants to be. It was great to see Wesley again! I had a little clue of what sort of design scheme he was going with because I was granted peek at a sketch he created for the room. When I entered the space, although it was similar to the sketch, I was deeply impressed. Wesley was able to take the same exact space as last year, and create something completely different. I was a thrown for a loop. I couldn’t tell if the space had gotten larger, or smaller. In fact, it was exactly the same and had been completely transformed!
Wesley Cadle is an event designer and an interior designer. His ability to create residential interiors as well as high-end event spaces is remarkable. Last season I learned Wesley is allowed a few months to plan and design, but only 24 hours to install. Trust me as a designer, 24 hours is not enough time!
This season’s star lounge has a “Hollywood Regency” look. I was curious how Wesley thought of the theme for the room. I wondered if it was something that was assigned to him, but in fact, the idea was entirely his own. When he started designing, he knew the furniture company, Christopher Guy, had the perfect pieces to complete the look. He approached Christopher and asked him to collaborate on this project.
Welsey told me that he thought of Christopher’s pieces because in his work Christopher takes a cue from fashion history. A screen in the room was inspired by a Coco Chanel cuff. A mirror was hung from the ceiling, made to look like a lighting fixture. The mirror was black, with circular motions. It was inspired by Camilla Parker Bowles’ wedding hat. I was looking at it for a few minutes before I asked about the mirror, and as soon as the words came out of Wesley’s mouth I could picture her wearing the hat! It’s fantastic!
In addition the furniture and accessory pieces inspired by fashion, Christopher Guy’s furniture pieces had such great attention to detail. The sofas and chairs had a sculptural quality, and looked like pieces of art.
Wesley doesn’t have a signature look, he designs specifically for each client. However, I learned last season, Wesley is known for his mixture of textures and materials. That was very evident in this space. The furniture was upholstered in soft, plush materials. There was a faux minx throw perfectly placed on the arm of a chair. There was a rug with a slight linear pattern, whose texture was easily visible. I asked Wesley what his favorite piece was, and expected him to shy away from the answer. He replied confidently that the red arm chairs were his favorite in the lounge. This was partly because of the uniquely carved frame, and the red velvet upholstery, but also because of the satin silk slit detail on the back of the chair. Such a unique detail can easily be overlooked, but it really completed the chair.
Last season, Wesley played with fire a little bit. He, along with a textile designer, created a custom patterned silk, which draped the walls and ceiling. When I asked him to compare last season’s lounge with this one, he stated that he was much more comfortable with this season’s design. While the bold pattern was very pretty, it was difficult to work with in terms of accessorizing. This season, the hollywood regency theme allowed Wesley to create a timeless look, with blacks, whites, browns and pops of red. This gave Wesley a lot more to work with. With only 24 hours to complete a space, you need all the leniency you can get! Between you and me, even though I adore this season’s design, I really did like last season’s too!
Because he was more comfortable with the design, I asked Wesley if he felt the design was complete, or if he would be tweaking throughout the week. He confirmed that the design is indeed complete, and he would not be making any changes, except for fluffing pillows, of course. Every time I turned my attention to someone else, I caught Wesley fluffing pillows! I guess it’s a habit. If it was my space, I would have been doing the same thing.
When we discussed the color scheme and the pops of red, I asked Wesley what he thought the new trending color would be. Would it be red? He doesn’t necessarily believe the color of fall and winter will be red, but the deep, rich red is a timeless color, and will never go out of style. He also feels, that when we look back at the pictures of this space a few years from now, it will still be relevant.
Of course, with such a short time frame, you have to hustle to finish the installation on time. You have to accessorize! Wesley turned to both Safavieh and the Spanierman Modern Gallery for accessories and artwork. Spanierman, located on 58th street, is known for its mid-twentieth century artists. The pieces in the space were by Stephen Pace and Frank Wimberly. The paintings chosen had the perfect tones for the space, and added dimension to the room.
Last season Wesley incorporated many customized details. This year, one custom piece stuck out. At first, I thought the bar was built completely custom. Wesley pointed out that it was a piece from Christopher Guy’s collection, he modified in order to use it as a bar. With the design time frame he had, he could have created something from scratch, but this console was already so perfect! The front panels, with white reliefs, open to reveal a refrigerator on one side and storage for barware on the other. Inside each cabinet is a suede shelf with glass top. The modification occurred when Wesley decided to remove the back of the console. He discarded the back panel and installed shelves for storage. Clever, right? It really makes you think of what you can be doing with your own retail pieces.
I could go on and on about the space, but I’m sure that just by seeing these images, you are in awe, and kind of jealous that you aren’t there yourself. Wesley confessed that many women that have entered the star lounge gushed that they want this exact room in their own homes. I can’t blame them! The space is understated, calm and comfortable. It’s feminine without appearing frilly and overdecorated. If you are fortunate enough to visit the tent this season, see if you can peek into the star lounge, or better yet, try to get inside! If you do see it in person, I’d love to know what you thought of the space.
Before I leave you, I have to share some Wesley tidbits with you. Wesley creates all of the flower arrangements himself! Yes, he could purchase arrangements, but this way, he gets the exact look he wants. Since we were at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, we had to discuss cars! Wesley’s current car is the E350 coup in Lunar Blue with Beige interiors. He never thought he would be one to own a blue car, but as soon as he saw it he had to have it. His next car with be the SLS two door, in a grey lacquered paint.
So what’s next for Wesley and the star lounge? Well, I talked Wesley’s ear off and happened to get some exciting information, that I’m allowed to share with you today. Mercedes Benz and Wesley have already started brainstorming next season’s design theme. They are hoping to go with a Mercedes Benz theme, as MB may be announcing their newest car, CLA, around that time. If this pans out, Wesley is proposing to use actual car parts in his design! I’m way too excited about this. I’ll have the exclusive for you next season. Stay tuned!