Dressed to Impress | Holiday Table Settings

As we enter the holiday season, tables around the world will start getting dressed up for the occasion. Jamie Horton, managing director for Harlequin London, UK’s leading source of luxury tableware, decorative accessories and lighting, shares his tops tips for designing an impressive holiday table setting.

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Choosing tableware design

The plate is the largest single piece in each setting and therefore makes the best starting point when deciding how to build up the setting. Using color is favorable and choosing one either contrasting or sympathetic to your dining area will set the tone.

We often advise clients to mix services for a fresh look for each course. In fact, many porcelain companies now have different designs for each plate size in a service for this very reason.

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Finding the right cutlery

The most important aspect of cutlery is how it feels – a sharp edged knife can dig painfully into the heel of the hand! Depending on your style, we recommend designs from Jardin D’Eden by Christofle to Chantico by Puiforcat.

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Don’t forget the glassware

Glassware adds another dimension to the table – height. We would suggest at least three, one for red wine, one for white and then one for water.

Preferably, wine glasses should be clear, as people like to see what they are drinking, but water goblets or tumblers are a great way to bring color to the table. Do consider carrying a color theme through the place setting, maybe one taken from a fabric in the room.

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The finishing touches

Consider what you already have at your disposal to accessorize the table with such as salt and pepper grinders, candlesticks, sauce boats or jugs, vases for flowers– these can all be used to create dramatic impact. For an additional custom touch, hand-embroidered napkins and place mats add another layer to the design.

Lastly, decorative accents can be added for a dramatic effect. Be careful not to block your guests from seeing each other – go for low floral displays using glass tumblers with tall candlesticks and tea lights in low colored glass holders.

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Jamie Harlequin CEOMany thanks to our guest blogger, Jamie Horton, managing director at Harlequin London. Follow Jamie on Twitter at @J_F_Horton and Harlequin London at @harlequinldn. Visit Harlequin London.

Art of Interiors

When designing a home, knowing how to best display your artwork is an important consideration. Interior designer April Russell, offers her top tips for how best to display artwork in your home.

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Think carefully about your surroundings

Each piece of art in your collection has been carefully selected and deserves its own place to shine. To create a home with all the beauty of a galleried space, carefully consider using a frame within the time period of the work, avoid hanging art on an overly patterned wall, and design your room around the artwork, rather than choosing works that simply ‘fit.’

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Make a plan for your collection

Something I like to do, especially when working with a large collection, is to split the pieces across different rooms, and lean the art against walls before making a decision. This way, I can see how the piece will work with existing colors and patterns before making a final decision—and any unnecessary holes in the wall.

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Don’t be afraid to be a little different

Sometimes it’s fun to try something new with your art. One thing I find adds a delightful pop of color is to take a black and white print, and adorn it with a bright frame. This works especially well with a cluster of family portraits. It’s unexpected and a perfect way to add personality to your home.


Courtesy of LuxDeco

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Many thanks to our guest blogger, April Russell, who has more than 20 years’ experience, trained at London’s Inchbald School of Design and at Sotheby’s, where she developed her talent and confirmed her determination to put the client at the center of each design project.

For more information about April Russell, visit www.aprilrussell.com, or follow on Twitter at @a_r_studio

 

Rustic + Modern Decor Juxtaposition

When modern design is juxtaposed with rustic architecture, the results can be truly majestic. Explore four luxury homes for sale whose history and unfinished attributes are contrasted with modern interior design.

Verona ItalyPrice Upon Request | Verona, Italy | Milan Sotheby’s International Realty

Italy

Built in the 1800s, Villa Fontana overlooks Garda Lake in Bardolino. The villa was completely renovated while maintaining and enhancing the original materials including exposed stone, beams and iron. Modern elements are infused throughout with chandeliers, appliances and glass.

Gozo_Malta670.000 € EUR | Gozo, Malta | Malta Sotheby’s International Realty

Malta

Originally built by the Knights of St. John, Fort Chambray combines impressive history with new age luxury. The exterior maintains the original façade which is contrasted by the interior, boasting bold modern design and contemporary furniture and fixtures.

Washington$1,395,000 USD | Townsend, Washington | Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty

Washington

Nestled at the end of a long driveway, this equestrian estate offers a rustic blend of rough-hewn and contemporary style. The exposed beams and wood paneled ceilings are balanced with bright and bold patterned textiles, furniture and lighting.

Rhode Island$5,150,000 USD | Newport, Rhode Island | Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty

Rhode Island

This 1890’s award-winning stone carriage house was restored using design elements and recycled materials to enhance the existing space. White cabinetry and stainless appliances offset the exposed brick and wood architecture in the kitchen and dining area.

Luxury Home Libraries Worth Studying

The Sept-Oct 2014 issue of Sotheby’s magazine features Libraries Worth Studying.

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Even in the digital age, libraries continue to be the focal point of some of the world’s most elegant homes. While the architectural details of these four showcases are designed to dazzle, it is the books lining the shelves that provide an insight into the owners’ interests. These personal spaces provide shelter from the outside world and a place for the mind to wander.

Montecito, CA prop id VG4ZDR$23,500,000 USD | Montecito, California | Sotheby’s International Realty – Montecito – Coast Village Road

Prima Luce, whose name was inspired by the unobstructed views of the first sun rays that rise each day, is located in a prime Montecito location. Famed designer Robert Webb has captured the ambiance of a Tuscan-style country villa with details like hand-chiseled Santa Barbara sandstone, which were quarried from these very grounds. The approximately 8,425 square foot main residence has five bedrooms, six full baths, two powder rooms and five fireplaces.

Los Altos Hills_CA_ prop ID G44KRK$27,000,000 USD | Los Altos Hills, California | Sotheby’s International Realty – San Francisco Brokerage

The Morgan Estate was built in 1914 for Percy Tredegar Morgan, whose many accomplishments included starting the California Wine Association. One of the finest examples of Tudor and Jacobean revival architecture in the United States, the manse has hosted presidents, kings, queens and celebrities.

London England Prop id vgw4y7-hi resPrice Upon Request | London, England | London Sotheby’s International Realty

Located in one of the most glamorous locations in London, this magnificent penthouse apartment has spectacular views of Hyde Park and offers state-of-the-art luxury living, featuring such amenities as a fully equipped gym, beauty treatment room, home cinema and six roof terraces and gardens.

Greenwich CT prop id W944G7$14,000,000 USD | Greenwich, Connecticut | Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

Designed by premier architect Ira Grandberg, AIA and built with unparalleled craftsmanship by Hobbs Construction Company, this regal stone manor blends Old World ambiance with the ultimate in 21st-century technology. Hand-milled woodwork, moldings and doors highlight the majestic yet warm interior. It features broad oak-appointed corridors and octagonal galleries.

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Top Five Trends to Watch from Decorex International

Interior design show, Decorex International, took place last week in London, showcasing a vast range of exciting and innovative designs. We had the opportunity to speak with interior designer April Russell, who shared her top five trends to watch from the show.

eley kishimotoEley Kishimoto

“I don’t often use wallpaper in my interior design projects, but when I do I like to make a statement – for which Eley Kishimoto would be perfect. With a wide range of quirky patterns that practically jump off the wall, each design seemed to tell a story. Very artistic!”

barn in the cityBarn in the City

Barn in the City creates customized furniture and panels, using 19th Century reclaimed wood, and exquisite ‘iced’ finishes. I’ve never seen anything like it, and would happily place their designs into a modern, contemporary home. Absolutely breathtaking.”

vieroViero International

“As I mentioned in my talk at Decorex, ‘The Art of Interiors’, I am not a fan of flat wall finishes. Texture is important, and can add an extra element of subtle beauty to a room that would otherwise be missed. Viero International shares this philosophy, which I admire.”

bert and mayBert & May

“Reclaimed tiles by Bert & May also caught my eye. The company describes themselves as ‘avid salvage enthusiasts, permanently scouring Europe and afar for exceptional and rare flooring gems.’  Attractive because of their wonderfully different designs, I couldn’t help but be drawn to them, and have had them on my mind since the show!”

kaia lightingKaia Lighting

“I did a double take when I saw the Kaia Lighting stand at Decorex. Although the show benefitted from many beautiful lighting installations, none of them – in my eyes – compared to this one. With subtle yet elegant designs, their work is a thing of beauty, and unique enough to be considered artistic.”

april russellMany thanks to our guest blogger, April Russell, who has more than 20 years’ experience, trained at London’s Inchbald School of Design and at Sotheby’s, where she developed her talent and confirmed her determination to put the client at the center of each design project.

For more information about April Russell, visit www.aprilrussell.com, or follow on Twitter at @a_r_studio.

At Home with Art | Perfect Harmony

Post provided by Meredith Mendelsohn for Sotheby’s magazine.

“Art,” says designer Elissa Cullman, “is the soul of every interior.” Over the past three decades, her New York-based firm Cullman & Kravis has mastered the “modern traditional” approach, pairing edgy post-war and contemporary works of art with carefully chosen antiques and subtly luxurious furnishings. Her recent book, The Detailed Interior: Decorating Up Close with Cullman & Kravis (Monacelli Press, 2013) demonstrates her love of fine art as well as comfort. “We never sacrifice form for function,” she says. “A room should be beautiful.” Cullman recently spoke with Meredith Mendelsohn about maintaining that balance.

Ellie-Headshot-2012Designer Elissa Cullman

Elissa Cullman: What advice would you give to new collectors about displaying art at home? Meredith Mendelsohn: No space is complete without a work of art. Anything can work in concert – as long as there is an underlying passion for the art and antiques. It’s important to understand what sizes work well within that space so that the installation can be harmonious from wall to wall and from room to room. Also, the right lighting is critical and will transform the way the art looks in situ. The biggest lighting mistake people make is not lighting their art at all. EC: When you start working with new clients, what are some of the first elements you address? MM: We always consider their functional needs as well as their design preferences. Our goal is to interpret their vision in the most aesthetically pleasing way. We always start with an inventory of their furniture, objects and artwork. Next, we look at interior design books and magazines together to establish the vocabulary they are looking for – we call this the “zip code” for the project. EC: Some interiors seem more challenging than others when it comes to displaying art. Can you recall a situation that required real finessing? MM: A Manhattan apartment had a long hallway that was just 42 inches wide (above right). We did what we call a decorating intervention. We vaulted the ceilings and introduced niches for incredible Swedish porphyry vases, and then we looked for an artwork that you could see and enjoy from a short distance away. We decided on a series of 30 drawings by Allan McCollum. He is very specific about how his works should be hung, and these just made it by an inch!

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Dramatic art, vaulted ceilings, a marble floor and a mirror help visually widen and lengthen narrow spaces.

EC: How do you find the right balance between antiques or vintage design and works of art, whether they are contemporary or traditional? MM: Traditional environments are made younger and more vibrant with contemporary art. Conversely, contemporary spaces are made more complex and layered by the inclusion of a few pieces from the past. In one room we placed a Joan Mitchell painting with French 1940s sconces and Regency card tables. I just love how everything is talking to each other. EC: How would you characterise your design aesthetic? MM: Our goal is to redefine the traditional interior. Our interiors are complex, layered and full of history without being stuffy and overly formal. We like to call this approach “modern traditional” because the point of view is contemporary while the vocabulary of antiques is in keeping with the 26-year history of our company.

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Furniture from the early 20th century complements a more contemporary photograph by Nan Goldin.

EC: Were there any particular influences that shaped your taste and style? MM: The two years I spent in Japan were pivotal in the development of my aesthetic education. I immersed myself in two rigorous Japanese aesthetic traditions – tea ceremony and flower arranging. When you spend three hours arranging just five chrysanthemums, it sharpens your eye!

Meredith Mendelsohn writes frequently about art and design for Art + Auction, the Wall Street Journal and ARTnews.

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The Gathering Place | Luxury Living Rooms

Traditionally, living rooms are meant for relaxing and socializing—a place where friends and family come together. The living room also presents the perfect opportunity to make a statement and set the tone for your entire decorating style. Whether the style is rustic elegance or minimalist, modern or traditional, you can gather inspiration from five extraordinary homes below to create a room where you can entertain family and friends.

Living Room NJ

$8,500,000 USD | Far Hills, New Jersey | Kienlen Lattmann Sotheby’s International Realty

Only one hour from Manhattan, this Far Hills, New Jersey, home is at the center of a 26-acre retreat that combines rustic elements offering luxurious living. Overlooking Ravine Lake, Pickle Brook Farm features stone and reclaimed wood construction and is surrounded by landscaped gardens and forest. The living areas are finished with rustic beams, carved mantelpieces and extensive millwork. In addition to five bedrooms and seven baths, there is a media room, game room, several outbuildings and a five-car garage.

Living Room Australia

Price Upon Request | Sydney, Australia | Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty

Perched in park-like gardens high above Sydney Harbour, the Babworth House is one of Australia’s grand mansions from early 1900s. Residence 2, a three-bedroom, three-level residence features formal and informal living rooms, master “retreat” with San Sebastian stone bathroom, dining rooms, office and wine cellar.  Architect Michael Sutter retained the original oak-paneled walls and stained-glass windows while adding a cocktail bar and gourmet kitchen with Miele appliances. The home opens onto private marble verandas and wraparound terraces overlooking the harbor.

Living Room South AfricaPrice Upon Request | Plettenberg Bay, South Africa | Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty

Open-plan living areas enclosed by glass provide ever-changing views of the Indian Ocean and the Tsitsikamma Mountains from this contemporary, eco-designed, Plettenberg Bay home on Robberg Beach. Paul Oosthuizen designed the five-bedroom, four-bath home to become an integral part of the landscape, melding into the fynbos and milkwood trees. Opening the home’s glass doors creates an extensive indoor-outdoor area with uninterrupted flow. The kitchen is an entertainer’s delight. Highlights include radiant floor heating, heated pool and rainwater collection.

Living Room Milan

Price Upon Request | Milan, Italy | Milan Sotheby’s International Realty

Designed by architect Piero Pinto in a former 17th-century convent in Milan, this 6,452-square-foot, four-bedroom apartment features a faded, terracotta-hued fresco on a bedroom’s domed ceiling. Everything else, however, is ultramodern in design. An elevator connects three floors that include a separate staff area. Architectural details include glass stair rails and a spa-style master bath. Highlights include a double living room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the octagonal-shaped inner courtyard, a feature typical of Milanese apartment buildings.

Living Room Manhattan

$26,000,000 USD | New York, New York | Sotheby’s International Realty- East Side Manhattan Brokerage

Situated in New York’s Upper East Side, this prewar duplex condominium offers eight bedrooms and eight baths. For privacy, the apartment is accessed by a key-lock elevator that opens onto a private landing and a marble entrance gallery. The layout connects living room, media room and library for 1,500 square feet of open entertainment space with views of both skyline and Central Park. The lower floor includes a master suite with his-and-hers baths, a playroom and staff room.

 

Repurposed Homes | Upcyled for Modern Living

Before they were homes, these unique abodes served different purposes—from a former factory to a windmill. Transformed by visionaries who saw the potential in disused and former commercial spaces, discover how these buildings became spectacular repurposed homes, fit for a modern lifestyle.

Barracks AustraliaPrice Upon Request | Melbourne, Australia | Melbourne Sotheby’s International Realty

Australia— Built in 1884 as the first Salvation Army Barracks in Australia, this historical building in Melbourne has been completely restored as a modern family home. The spacious, open concept modern touches are balanced by original features, such as the original Baltic timber ceiling. The home includes an industrial kitchen and a glass-encased wine room that holds 20,000 bottles.

Windmill Home Connecticut$1,925,000 USD | Essex, Connecticut | William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty

Connecticut— Sitting on the Connecticut River, this 1960’s windmill has been converted into a four-storey home with three bedrooms, a full bath, wet bar and a living room. Restored in New England shaker style, the windmill has functioning blades and a 360-degree wraparound deck with amazing water views.

Fire House Quebec2 998 000 $ CAD | Montreal, Canada | Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec

Montreal— This historic and unique residence in Montreal, Canada, was formerly a fire station. Completely renovated in 2005 into an inviting family home, it is a cheerful oasis full of unusual architectural details, from the abundant fenestration, to the gracious woodwork, moldings, and of course, the original fire pole. Discreetly located, the home is surrounded by parkland on three sides, and situated on a generous landscaped lot.

Chocolate Factory Utah$1,199,950 USD | Salt Lake City, Utah | Summit Sotheby’s International Realty

Utah— This modern apartment in Salt Lake City within The Broadway Lofts was originally built in 1898 as McDonald’s Chocolate Factory. The home boasts bold, gallery-ready concrete and brick walls, and a 50 ft. glass window wall, creating an avant-garde atmosphere. 18-ft ceilings throughout the open-concept living space create a balance of hip city ambiance with refinished ebony stained oak floors and artistic interior features.

 

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A Collector Bridges the Gap

Post provided by Alexandra A. Seno for Sotheby’s Magazine.

TAIPEI – Taiwan-based businessman Pierre Chen is one of Asia’s leading collectors of Western contemporary art. Now, as Alexandra A. Seno reports, Chen is bringing the collection he lives and works with to a wider audience, and in the process, connecting the East with the West.

Museo del Prado 4, the subtly dramatic Thomas Struth photograph, dominates one wall of a conference room at the Yageo Corporation global headquarters, just outside Taipei. The German photographer’s large-scale work, part of his iconic Museum Photographs series, focuses on a group of students on a trip to the great Spanish art institution. The boys and girls linger indifferently in front of Las Meninas, the 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez that has inspired generations of artists, from Pablo Picasso to Francis Bacon.

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Pierre Chen, collector and businessman at home in Taipei, where a painting by Georg Baselitz hangs behind him. Photograph by Andrew Loiterton.

Walking into the empty conference room – which otherwise fits about 30 – Yageo founder Pierre T.M. Chen gives the photograph a quick glance before he settles down at the table. The Taiwan-trained computer engineer started Yageo in 1977 and built the company into one of the world’s biggest electronics components manufacturers, with average yearly sales of US$800 million. He has nine factories and offices in seventeen countries, and is actively engaged in Yageo’s day-to-day management.

Chen says: “My business changes very quickly. I am fighting everyday because there is always some new technology coming to the market. For me to have balance in my life, I need art and music.” Hundreds of pieces adorn his offices and homes, and even more are in storage. But starting this summer, four prestigious Japanese museums will exhibit 76 works from Chen’s collection.

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In a Tokyo residence, Peter Doig’s Canoe Lake has pride of place in the dining room. Jean-Baptiste Huynh’s Inde-Portrait XXIX and Josè-María Cano’s  RM-Kate Moss Flank the doorway. Photographs courtesy of the Yageo Foundation

It will be the first time that the institutions will show a single, private collection of modern and contemporary art, and it is also the first occasion in Asia that works from the Yageo Foundation can be viewed together in public. The tour begins in June at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo (MOMAT), and then proceeds to the Nagoya City Art Museum in September, the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art in December and finally the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto in March 2015.

MOMAT curator and organiser of the exhibits Kenjiro Hosaka wanted to collaborate with Chen not only because Japanese museums do not usually have access to such works, but also because he was drawn to the collection’s “energy to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art, which museums in Japan have struggled with for many years.”

“I decided to accept the invitation from Japan because the museum is professional, and because Japanese audiences have a mature appreciation for art. They admire traditional things and also what is new. I also consider Japan as my retirement destination of choice,” says Chen, who keeps a Tokyo apartment, conveniently just five minutes away from MOMAT.

 

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The living room of one of Chen’s Hong Kong homes, with Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild andMark Tansey’s Mont Sainte-Victoire. Photographs courtesy of the Yageo Foundation.

Born in Tainan, Chen grew up in Kaoshiung to a middle- class family that could trace their roots in Taiwan back for 200 years. He enjoyed going to galleries, and as a student in 1976, he made his first art purchase: a wooden, coconut-sized sculpture by Hong Kong artist Cheung Yee. It cost 25,000 Taiwanese dollars, a sum that took him a year and a half to save as a part-time computer programmer. He proudly keeps it in his office today.

When his company began to do very well, Chen started collecting Chinese artists because he was inspired by their work. As his business expanded to other countries, he would travel, and says he “liked going to museums and galleries because they are a good place to learn.” He read voraciously about art and went to exhibitions, habits he continues today. “I am still discovering,” he says, his eyes lighting up behind his serious, black-framed glasses.

In recent years, Chen has been most excited by Western contemporary art. He took the leap in the mid-1980s and bought an untitled Cy Twombly work because it made him feel “calm,” and later a yellow Warhol fright wig self-portrait because he thought it was “so fresh.” Continue Reading >

Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Spring Preview | Iconic Works by Picasso, Matisse & Monet

Sotheby’s spring Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art will be held in New York on 7 May 2014 with the New York exhibition beginning this Friday in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries. Highlights from the sale include iconic works by Picasso, Giacometti, Matisse, Monet and Léger.

“We are thrilled to offer works by three of the greatest masters of 20th century art, each of which exemplifies the artist’s output at a critical moment in their career,” said David Norman, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department Worldwide. “Matisse, Picasso and Léger in their unique manner so distinctively catapulted the representation of the figure in to the Modern Age. These paintings, resplendent in color and bold in design, which were respectively executed in successive decades from the 1920s to 40s, resonate with today’s global audience of collectors and connoisseurs.”

Pablo Picasso, Tête de Marie-Thérèse, 1932 | Sotheby's Spring 2014

Pablo Picasso, Tête de Marie-Thérèse, 1932 (est. $15/20 million)

The auction will offer an impressive selection of 14 works by Pablo Picasso, with examples reaching across his remarkable career – from an early drawing dated to 1900, through a late oil painting from 1969. The group features Tête de Marie-Thérèse from 1932, a radiant example of his paintings depicting his beloved mistress of the early 1930s (est. $15/20 million).

Monet La Pont Japonias | Sotheby's Spring 2014

Claude Monet, Le pont japonais, 1918 (est. $12/18 million)

The Evening Sale will offer three impressive canvases by Impressionist master Claude Monet, including Le pont japonais which he painted at Giverny from 1918–24 (est. $12/18 million). Monet’s spectacular images of the Japanese bridge spanning the lily pond of his lush garden are among the most recognizable images of 20th century art.

Henri Matisse | Sotheby's Spring 2014

Henri Matisse, La Séance du matin, 1924 (est. $20/30 million)

Henri Matisse’s La Séance du matin (est. $20/30 million) depicts the artist’s studio assistant Henriette Darricarrère, whose own interest in painting he encouraged by offering her lessons during their working time together. In another version of this same subject, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Matisse depicts a nude model alongside the studious painter. The present composition instead features Henriette alone, completely absorbed in her own work.

View the entire spring 2014 collection >