Designing an Exclusive Product Launch Party for Unilever

A few months ago I was asked to style a major product launch event for Unilever, makers of products such as Dove, Tresemme, Nexxus, Vaseline and St Ives.  It was a huge undertaking and the party was a success for all involved.  This is me tired but relieved to be almost done the 12 hour set-up:

*Me and Mirrors Cropped




Each product had it’s own concept space to give party-goers a chance to sample.  Tresemme wanted a “backstage” style area for touch-ups and it was a huge hit.

BGBG-003The next one was for Clear Men and was meant to be a welcoming space for guys.  I love that they included a high-ending racing bike.


Clear Women wanted a pink and purple space with this high-impact tree image as a focal point.


I loved this one. So fresh and girly.
Another “man-space”.  These lockers came in so dinged up and rusty that we had to paint them on the spot and blend the paint to make it look natural.  And no, the sporty dude was not in the original plan.  Sometimes added touches are the best!
BGBG-032A special thank-you to my unbelievable assistants on this project: Sean Mulcahy and Biagio Galle.  Aren’t they gorgeous?
IMG_0423Most photography (ie the good ones) by Garrison McArthur Photographers.


A few months ago I was asked to style a shoot for Cashmere with Raina and Wilson of Arlene Reps.  The ads are the newest version of a runway-inspired campaign featuring gorgeous dressed made entirely (or almost) out of bathroom tissue.  My job was to source the mannequins and dress-forms to display the dresses and then to style them on set and make sure that they looked their best for photography.  As usual, we had to have a ton of options to choose from and I found myself driving around town with a car full of plastic body parts (soooooo wanted to use a mannequin-passenger to drive in the car-pool lane). One of the issues was that the dresses were made to be worn by tiny little models, not regular size 4/6 dress forms so finding the perfect fit was difficult.  We needed lots of options on the dress-form base (chrome, gunmetal, wood etc), and the mannequin (silver, white etc) so I had my work cut out for me.  I had to find the right coulour, shape AND fit; all at once and all on a tight deadline and budget.  No problem right?

Well, it turned out just fine and I am super pleased with the results.  Here is a look at the first ad (the second one features a longer dress and isn’t ‘in market’ yet so can’t publish here-stay tuned).  I think R & W did a fantastic job and the look is so soft and pretty with tons of style.

A couple of stylist secrets: the bodice is pinned tightly to the back of the dress-form to make it perfect and I stuffed the skirt and bust a little to plump it up.  I also had to steam it very gently to take out any wrinkles, the “fabric” was delicate and easily damaged so I had to be very careful.

Before photography or “plumping”.  Also, the wooden base was changed for the final image….and the sparkles removed in post.

It takes a lot of rolls of bathroom tissue to find the perfect one:

This is some sort of a lighting contraption that makes light look mottled and soft.

Some of ‘the girls’ waiting for their close-up:

One of the original sketches.  I love to see how an idea goes from conception to actuality.

They aren’t as big as they look:Everyone in our business knows what this is.  Notice how many cups of coffee are on the desk?

Hi Raina!  You are so cute.

As soon as I have permission to publish the second image I will include it here as well.  In the meantime, watch for it and think of me (in my car, with headless mannequins and size 4 torsos).

Garden Party at Andrew Richards Designs

I attended a cheerful showcase event at Andrew Richards Designs  to celebrate warmer weather and the coming patio season. Hosted by Faulhaber PR this summer garden party featured delicious treats concocted by none other than Chef Susur Lee (and his two sons Kai and Levi who are opening their own resto soon- or at least rumour has it). While introducing his tasty-tidbits, Chef Lee named the martini glass as this years’ best way to serve outdoor hors d’oevres- and I have to agree.  Who wouldn’t want to nibble alfresco from a tall, sexy vessel that has it’s own handle?

I love the outdoor furniture at Andrew Richards Designs and refer clients here all the time because the pieces have exquisite quality, chic styling and an array of shapes and sizes to fit any patio space.  This is high-end stuff well worth an investment for those looking for lasting beauty.  The upholstery fabrics and colour choice is boundless and clients can truly get a hands-on feel when designing a space.

This is my favorite piece in the showroom right now because of it’s demi-lune shape as well as fresh white colour.  So glam! If I could have one set, this would be it.

I’ve written about this piece before but it’s worth another mention. I think the sturdy nautical styling is fantastic and I haven’t seen anything like it elsewhere.

There were lots of fun new trends on display including adorable green “grass” carpeting great for softening cold balcony floors or adding whimsy anywhere. I also love the kids’ line that is unbelievably cute:

Steely light grey is a terrific alternative for someone looking for a modern look.  There are several pieces available in this colour and can be mixed-and-matched with others.  The big lounger is fun for those with a big-enough yard- especially good for poolside.

And here I am….what a fun morning!  Thanks ARD!

Interior Design Show 2012

I had a great time at IDS this year.  There were so many people to see and LOTS of gorgeous design ideas to replenish the imagination.

First things first: I loved the Andrew Richards Designs booth from top to bottom.  It was full of vibrant colour, fresh flowers and terrific outdoor furniture.  Richards’ designs are in the high-end range and are meant as an investment in your outdoor rooms.  Can you see why?  They are stunning.  Available in Toronto on King East in the same building as Up  Country.

The semi-circular sectional is so perfect for an outdoor lounge. Love the pink and white combo!

Changing themes now to the Elte booth which was also spectacular.  Like last year with the Second Life rugs, this year they launched a new rug collection at IDS called Silk Orchid.  Made from recycled sari silk they are hand-knotted to perfection. I am very excited about this because the pieces are stunning: soft, pretty, on-trend, glamorous etc etc etc.  I can’t wait to get my hands on one. These are going to be big.
This is the rest of the booth. They chose to go with an industrial look with glam chandeliers. It works with the rugs. A balance of masculine and feminine is sometimes necessary no?

This may be my favorite booth of the entire show:  entitled the “BY_Lissoni Lounge” the space was designed by Italian architect Piero Lissoni who specializes in luxury residences, hotels, yachts and resorts.  It so incredibly stylish with it’s mix of stark white, soft woods, pale floor, tribal pieces, glass and all those spineless books.*  I would live here in a heart beat.

* I do my books in the same way at home and I love the clutter-less look.

You can’t ask for a more chilled-out fabric than burlap. Look at this couch: it’s upholstered in a softer-version of floor sack material. Love it.

A styling tip for you: stacks of books are always a romantic touch.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing styling of Alfred Sung‘s new outdoor collection. The price points are affordable and the look is fresh.

Moving on to something completely different, I was totally wowed by the space-planning in this installation designed by Mike Niven, a leader in innovative condo layouts.  This space is only 480 sq ft. and feels so complete!!  There are lots of ideas to borrow here for sure.  A small clue: it’s all in the built-ins (by Robert Design Group BTW).

This tiny space was designed by DeeDee Taylor and was limited by the same constraints: make 480 sq ft feel complete not limited.  Things to covet here: multiple chandeliers, mirror “windows”, gorgeous moldings, well-placed flat screen AND a surprise drop-down privacy screen!

I totally loved these chairs from Spinnaker, a Norwegian company with great style.  They are simple, yet very well constructed and have a minimalist approach. I love the linen/sail-cloth seats, rope straps and oak frame. So very chic.

Last but not least, I want to mention one great lighting piece that is perfect for a loft or studio space.  This one was created by BARTOSIK, a Toronto-based company that specializes in architectural-type installations and is represented by Klaus by Nienkamper.