American Fashion Designers At Home

There’s a certain taboo attached to pop stars who attempt to forge acting careers, and vice versa. Painters aren’t normally supposed to take up fashion design, and just because you’re a great photographer doesn’t mean you’ll make a great chef. But here at Sight Unseen, we delight in any and all cross-disciplinary meanderings, which is why our ears perked up when we heard about American Fashion Designers at Homeby Rima Suqi. Even if some of the more than 100 CFDA members featured in the book hired professionals to craft their spaces, the translation of their aesthetics from one genre to another is an endless source of curiosity. “Each of the living quarters featured in this book offers insight into a designer’s style on a very personal level,” writes Suqi in her introduction. “It’s a visually fascinating and ultra-voyeuristic peek into the way they live, the furnishings they choose, the artwork they collect, and the palettes they play with.”

But while Ralph Lauren’s Colorado ranch is an almost comically literal, maximalist interpretation of his brand’s raison d’etre, with antlers, flags, and Native American crafts piled atop every inch of the house, other designers seem to have put up a barrier between the look they peddle at the office and the one they choose to come home to. Lela Rose, Suqi points out, lives in a loft designed by a former OMA employee that lacks any of the frills that drip from her dresses. “Many of the designers interviewed admitted that while their offices and ateliers might reflect that energy, they prefer their homes to be more sedate and calming — a place of refuge,” she writes. The selections we chose to highlight in this slideshow — with captions excerpted from the book’s text — fall somewhere in the middle, but either way, it makes for great reading when “every turn of the page brings another revelation or unexpected tableau.”

From American Fashion Designers at Home, by Rima Suqi. Copyright 2010 and reprinted with permission from the publisher, Assouline.