Out this week is a brand new book by renowned New York based event designer David Stark. Stark is known for creating the most glamorous, imaginative and over-the-top events for a wide range of elite clients including everyone from Vogue, Glamour and InStyle magazines, to Zac Posen, Tory Burch, Beyonce Knowles and Jon Stewart. His book, David Stark Design, takes a look at 30 of the most unique and stunning events David has executed since he started his company in 2005 and uses imagery to illustrate the design philosophies and creative process that has made him one of the world’s most sought after event designers. This is David’s fourth book. Aside from designing high-profile events and publishing books, David Stark has designed collections for West Elm and is regularly featured as an expert on party planning and entertaining on shows like the CBS Early Show The Today Show, The View and Martha Stewart. His work has been featured in publications such asThe New York Times, Elle Decor, Glamour, Interior Design, In Style, House Beautiful, Town & Country and more. To order a copy of his newest book, click here and below are photos of some of the amazing events David Stark has designed. Enjoy!
Photos via David Stark Design
Over the weekend I attended a fun event hosted by lifestyle guru Eddie Ross
with Creative Candles
called Color & Candlelight
which focused on inspiring ways to add color to your home with candles. The event took place at Gracious Home
which is one of my favorite NYC stores for housewares, linens, lighting and more. Through discussion and slide show, Eddie demonstrated just how easy and inexpensive it is to brighten up a space or a table setting, simply by using colored candles. Here’s a perfect example:
Photo: eddieross.com via Martha Stewart Living
This room is absolutely beautiful but features a completely neutral palette. The only color is brought in through the pretty arrangements of pink peonies on the chest to the left. And see the silver candlesticks with white tapers on the cocktail table?
Image: Pink color options from Creative Candles. Photo via eddieross.com
Imagine if the stylist had used tapers in a fun hot pink or raspberry hue to play off the color of the flowers? It would have added another pop of color that would really bring the space to life!
In addition to educating us on color and candles, Eddie also spoke about the basics of creating an elegant tabletop. Here he is discussing how mixing up your flatware can really add a stylish flair to a place setting.
Here’s a closeup of the tabletop Eddie designed for the event. It’s so pretty and perfect for Spring! To create his tabletop, Eddie used many items from Gracious Home mixed in with vintage pieces from his personal collection and his Etsy shop
. Notice the different flatware styles used here? Although the flatware varies, each place setting is identical which adds uniformity that totally makes it work!
Nicole Gibbons and Eddie Ross
After the lecture finished I went over to congratulate Eddie on a fabulous event. I’m always so inspired by his talent and creativity! When I watched him as a contestant on Top Design, I knew he would go on to become a huge success and as soon as the show wrapped he already had a slew of exciting projects on his plate. At the Gracious Home event Eddie filled us in that he is currently writing a book with his partner Jaithan and is in the midst of shooting a television pilot! His accomplishments are quite impressive and I can’t wait to see what he’s up to next! For more on Eddie Ross, visit his blog here.
Since we’re on the subject of Doris Duke, Thibaut, one of my favorite fabric and wallpaper showrooms, just launched a beautiful new collection inspired by and named after Shangri La! Below is a description of the collection along with photos. I especially love the pattern above. The wallpaper pattern is called Ivana and the headboard fabric is called Jakarta. You can see more here!
“Fusing decorative elements from cultures worldwide, Shangri-La is a worldly assortment of sight and texture. Reflecting notes of paradise and harmony infused with graceful beauty, Shangri-La provides a profound sense of peacefulness. The liberal use of bold, contrasting colors in clean, organic designs are present throughout the entire collection, comprised of thoughtfully selected natural linens, textured wallcoverings, and rugged cottons. Mystical in its appearance, the Shangri-La Collection by Thibaut translates worldly motifs into modern accents and encourages designers to transition between rooms and themes with masculine, feminine and ultimately elegant touches.”
An exterior shot of Shangri La. Photographed by Luca Trovato for the July ’07 issue of Town & Country
Back in October I went to Hawaii for a few days and the #1 thing on my to-do list while there was visit Shangri La, the legendary estate of Doris Duke.
A 1930′s portrait of Doris Duke by Cecil Beaton. Photo via shangrilaahawaii.org
Doris Duke was an American heiress and the only daughter of James Buchanan Duke who was the magnate behind a wildly successful tobacco and energy empire. (The Duke Energy Company which he founded in 1904 still provides power to a majority of the southern states here in the US and he’s also the “Duke” after which Duke University was named.) James Buchanan Duke died in 1925 leaving a $50 million fortune (the equivalent of $620 million in today’s currency!) to his then 12 year old daughter, making her the richest girl in the world at the time and earning her the nickname “Million Dollar Baby.”
Duke and Cromwell outside Shangri La. The couple divorced in 1940. Photo via shangrilaahawaii.org
At 22, Doris Duke married politician James Cromwell and embarked on a year long honeymoon around the world. They traveled to such far flung places as Morocco, India, China, Syria, Turkey and Indonesia. It was through these travels that Duke fell in love with the beauty and exoticism of Islamic art, architecture and culture.
Duke during her honeymoon at the Moti mosque in Agria, India.Photo via shangrilaahawaii.org
The last stop on their honeymoon was Honolulu. They were supposed to stay only a couple of weeks but Duke loved Hawaii so much she extended their trip to four months. She was captivated by the beauty, the weather and the the privacy Hawaii offered her from the public eye and the New York social scene so she decided to build a home there.
Shangri La under construction circa 1937. Photo via shangrilaahawaii.org
Duke purchased 5 acres of oceanfront property overlooking the Pacific at the base of Diamond Head, an extinct volcano. She commissioned architect Marion Sims Wyeth to help her envision her home which she called Shangri La after the fictitious place in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon, which depicted paradise on earth. Duke began building her home in 1935 and spent $1.4 million on the project which at the time made it the most expensive home built from the ground up in Hawaii and is the equivalent of about $22 million in today’s currency.
Duke’s beloved Mohhul garden at Shangri La. Photographed by Luca Trovato for the July ’07 issue of Town & Country.
Wyeth set out to build an estate that married eastern influenced architecture and Islamic references with Hawaii’s lush tropical landscape and ocean views.
An arch and basin in Duke’s bathroom which was designed with motifs replicated from the Taj Mahal.Photo via shangrilaahawaii.org
The home featured stunning architectural details, many of which were inspired by places she visited on her honeymoon such as the Taj Mahal. The home took two years to complete.
Duke shops for bureaus in Damascus. Photo via shangrilaahawaii.org
Being a young woman of extreme wealth and privilege, Duke embarked on trips accross the world searching for perfect pieces to outfit her home and comissioning custom work from artisans in places like Syria, Morocco and Iran, having pieces freighted by sea and then
painstakingly rebuilt inside her home.
An 18th century Syrian interior was disassembled and rebuilt inside Shangri La in this room which she called the Damascus Room. Photo via shangrilaahawaii.org
Inside you’ll find gilt and painted ceilings from Morocco, ceramics from Iran, furniture from Damascus, metalwork and textiles from Spain and many pieces from Dukes priceless collection of art and objects from the Islamic world.
The dining room at Shangri La.
Over a period of 60 years, Duke amassed a collection of more than 3500 objects from the Islamic world including painted ceilings, doors, marble screens, tile panels, ceramics, textiles, carpets and paintings. In her dining room showed above is a priceless 1840s Baccarat chandelier from India and mosaics from Iran along with Duke family heirloom silver.
A passageway off the courtyard at Shangri La
Shangri La was one of Duke’s many estates but it was by far her favorite and most personal. She spent a few months a year there and visited consistently for more than 60 years.
Shangri La’s al fresco dining terrace overlooking the Pacific.
Duke’s will left her estate to her charitable foundation and instructed that following her death Shangri La was to be opened to the public for the study of Islamic art and culture. She passed away in 1993 and in 2002, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art in partnership with the Honolulu Academy of the Arts opened Shangri La to the public for guided tours. If you’re ever in Honolulu I’d highly recommend visiting and if you’re a design and architecture buff like me, it’s worth taking a trip to Hawaii just to see this incredible estate. For more information on Shangri La including details on its guided tours, visit Shangrilahawaii.org. You can also take a virtual tour of the property on the website!
Doris Duke at Shangri La in 1966.Photo via shangrilaahawaii.org
When you read about Shangri La you’ll often hear that visiting the estate is a complete sensory experience. I absolutely agree. When I visited, I was captivated by the beauty of the landscaping, the incredible interiors, the smell of salt water, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks and the feeling of the gentle breeze in the air. It’s a truly breathtaking place! Visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the house so I don’t have my own to share but below are my photos taken of Shangri La’s exterior areas as well as several photos of the home’s interior from the Honolulu Academy of the Arts and Town & Country. As you can see, the estate is truly stunning!
Shangri La Hawaii / Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Lucas Trovato for Town & Country
Nicole Gibbons for So Haute