The Six Art Books Kelly Wearstler Says You Need
Spruce up your shelves, stat.
Kelly’s home library.
It’s no surprise that interior-cum-fashion designer Kelly Wearstler’s Beverly Hills home is gorgeous, but her library is equally impressive. “To me, collecting rare design books is like collecting art. You can never have too many,” Kelly explains. Though Kelly has quite the stash, we got her to zero in on her favorites. —monica derevjanik
The Shell: Five Hundred Million Years of Inspired Design by Hugh Stix, Marguerite Stix and R. Tucker Abbott
Want to get to the roots of Kelly’s spring 2013 collections? Then flip through this sucker. Many of her patterns and prints were inspired by the subaquatic designs from its pages.
Graffiti Women: Street Art from Five Continents by Nicholas Ganz
Talk about girl power: This book covers a long line of female street artists who are often overlooked by their male colleagues.
Jean-Michel Basquiat by Dieter Buchhart, Glenn O’Brien, Jean-Louis Prat and Jean-Michel Basquiat
Speaking of street art, get to know Jean-Michel Basquiat. The groundbreaking conceptual artist actually got his start in graffiti before becoming an eighties art legend.
The Magic of M. C. Escher by J.L. Locker
The most amazing thing about Escher’s hyper-precise graphics is that all of his repetitive patterns are actually done by hand. We can only imagine how cross-eyed he’d be after a day of work.
Picasso and the War Years, 1937-1945 by Steven A. Nash, Robert Rosenblum, Brigitte Baer, and Michele Cone
Yah, Picasso is about as mainstream as they come, but this comprehensive guide of this less-discussed period is a can’t-miss, history-filled read.
Rhapsody by Kelly Wearstler
Ok, ok, so obviously this is Kelly’s own book—which makes it the perfect place to go for a closer look at her creative process. And it pairs damn nicely with her Of a Kind edition. DUH.
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Take a Tour of Kelly Wearstler’s Killer L.A. Flagship
This place: home-spiration central.
Picture this: You’re in a 2,400-square-foot Los Angeles pad teeming with custom-made fixtures, rich oak, and museum-worthy sculptures. Now add a cash register and a few adorable salesgirls, and you’ve got the mind-blowingly chic Kelly Wearstler flagship store on Melrose Avenue. Everything from the four-foot-wide starburst lights to the stone-encrusted door handles are dripping with Kelly’s modern-meets-vintage aesthetic. “My main goal was to bring out this residential feeling,” Kelly explains. “It’s all about the lifestyle of the brand.” Check out some of her very favorite fixtures in her very first boutique. —monica derevjanik
“I luckily found this beautiful Louis Durot table at an obscure auction house while I was in Europe. I immediately recognized it for what it was because I’ve always admired his unique, vibrant work.”
“My mannequins were all custom-made in L.A. I wanted them to look unique and to be full of movement and life—which is why they’re in positions that aren’t typically seen on store mannequins. In fact, all of the fixtures and displays in the store were custom-made, down to the black and white cerused oak hangers that have become my signature.”
“This mirrored display case is a vintage piece that I loved so much, I had it recreated. Both of the pieces now house my china collections, which happen to be made by Pickard—America’s oldest maker of fine china. They also supply the china used in White House, so they deserve a good home.”
“This table is custom-made with negro marquina marble in our classic finish and is an original design that’s now part of our new furnishings collection. It’s inspired by my own dining table at home.”
“This ‘People Bianco’ wall sculpture by Franco Scuderi is from my own personal collection. I’m a huge fan of Scuderi and I just love the geometry and texture this adds to the neutral color palette of the store.”
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How did Kelly Wearstler develop her killer aesthetic sensibility? By auction- and flea-hopping all through the eighties. “In one row, I would see things that were turn-of-the-century, French and Italian pieces, and in the next row, there’d be something completely modern,” Kelly explains. “Educating my eye and seeing these different objects play against each other made me fall in love with art.”
Her next move? Art school, naturally. The South Carolina native packed her bags and headed for Boston where she waited tables by day and spent her nights studying graphic design and architecture at the Massachusetts College of Art. After graduation, she signed up for an apprenticeship with world-renowned graphic designer Milton Glaser (That “I ♥ NY” logo? Yep, that’s him) to put her already-sophisticated design skills to work. By 1998, she was well on her to becoming an interior-designer powerhouse, starting with the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills and moving onto the Viceroy Hotels and Bergdorf Goodman’s BG Restaurant—oh, and her own home line, which oozes her signature raw-meets-refined style.
But Kelly found no need to stop at décor. With a loooong list of happy clients already under her very stylish belt, she decided to bring her skills to, well, belts—and jewelry, jackets, dresses, and bags, taking her namesake label into the apparel-and-accessories realm in 2011. “You just have to be focused,” she explains of her envy-inducing empire. “I’m confident, I know what I want, and I know what I don’t like. There’s no, ‘Let me think about it.’ It’s just, ‘Yes. I like it, let’s move on.’” —monica derevjanik