Interior Designer & fellow native South Carolinian Kelly Wearstler has been a personal favorite style icon since I first came across her in 2007.
Wearstler has this uncanny knack for mixing textures, patterns, and colors in such a way that seems simultaneously strange (as in, lost-all-her-marbles, alarmingly strange - see photos below), yet vaguely put together. It's a mesmerizing, inspiring sight to behold. And that's just her personal style...
Her interiors are insanely rich, dynamic wonderlands, that effortlessly combine an array of influences and eras. Take a look at this NY Times Article featuring a photo timeline of Wearstler and her interior design work, inspirations, and personal style. Take notes.
In addition to her interior designs, she also creates some of the most beautiful, interesting, and artful things known to human kind. Her collection of home furnishings, decor, jewelry, and accessories is a menagerie of both functional and purely decorative curiosities, featuring charming prints and surface details, and cleverly sculpted works that beg to be touched, sat-on, worn, and gleefully lived-in.
Spritied Talismans & Luxe Decor from Wearstler's Collection
A Girl-crush story of Style + Substance
I Love It When People Dress Crazier Than I do
and Are Less Apologetic About It Than I Am.
I first became aware of interior designer Kelly Wearstler back in 2007 as a judge on "Top Design", Bravo's tv series featuring interior design competitions, a la Project Runway. I was in college at the time, working on a degree in fashion design while keeping a vigilant eye out for uncommon inspiration.
It was an instant, and irrevocable girl-crush moment. Not because of her supreme design skills (at first), but because of her other worldly persona. She was this bizarre, etherial, rule-breaking anomaly with a slight figure draped in transparent clothing, topped off by a disproportionately large afro-esque crimped hairdo. All this, in addition to her somewhat girlish voice against a serious, concise tone and razor sharp wit.
Not only was she intelligent, keenly observant, honest, talented, and beautiful, she knew her shit and she was downright fearless, with an utterly relaxed confidence emanating from her like a gilded mandorla. Beyond her mastery of design, it seemed to me that she understood something significant about the world around her - something elusive and essential that I had yet to grasp. So I paid rapt attention to the way she presented herself in each episode - wearing exactly what she wished, wild outfit after wild outfit - without pretense or arrogance, and rarely ever addressing or even acknowledging her conspicuous wardrobe.
Finally, I was able to collect the right words to pinpoint what I found so magical about her.
In a moment of insight, I realized that she cultivated herself and her style for herself alone. She had the kind of freedom I'd been seeking my whole life. I'd been on the right track - wearing whatever weird things I cared to, marching to the beat of my own drum, letting my curiosity lead me, etc. But I never felt truly comfortable with my unorthodox decisions because I still cared what others around me might think. Whereas Kelly Wearstler gives zero fucks.
Let me be clear: This is not about fashion or beauty. This is about being one's self and not giving a fuck outside of knowing the shit out of your craft. This is more than a design lesson or style lesson. This is not even an aesthetic lesson. This is a life lesson, a way to have something that few people have: comfort in one's own skin.
Wearstler is, without a doubt, one of my favorite style icons; It's no surprise she was also named one of Vogue Magazine's Best Dressed women.
Yes, because in spite of her unusual combinations of whimsical, often volumetric, what some might call, "loud", or just plain bizarre ensembles, she carries the whole thing off without an ounce of self doubt. On national television, no less.