As the founder of New York-based design gallery, Les Ateliers Courbet, Melanie Courbet knows a thing or two about style. It’s no wonder the interior of her New York home is meticulously designed. We were granted a peek inside and asked her about about the intersection of design and fashion…
How would you describe your style in three words?
The fashion pieces I respond to combines three consistent characteristics: comfort, simplicity and elegant/soft materials.
Do you take the same approach to getting dressed as you do to decorating your home? Or do you see them as two different expressions of self?
Sourcing decorative and/or furniture pieces for my home or for work is an obsessive activity of mine. I am afraid I don’t spend a percent of the time sourcing or thinking of fashion in comparison. That said my obsession for detailed craftsmanship or the tactile experience of fine materials translates in every area of my life, including fashion. I’m rarely looking at designer clothes or interested in labels. I also rarely shop intentionally. I buy pieces that I like (sometimes in every color) only when I come across a shop or a studio – often when traveling and always randomly. I also like storied pieces – whether fashion accessories or decorative objects / whether antiques or new creations – and would buy these things that I may never wear more than once just because I felt that I was bringing home a piece of their history/provenance. In that sense, I could draw (or confess) a symptomatic pattern between my fashion and decorative arts acquisitions…It’s the syndrome of the collectors’ …or the hoarders.
As the owner of New York based design gallery Les Ateliers Courbet, can you tell us a bit if and how art influences your style?
I couldn’t really say that Art has direct influence on my style – It influences and inspires me in many ways… My style as my artistic sensitivity have been boringly consistent since as far as I remember. I dressed or was attracted to the same fashion characteristics when a teenager as I do today. Similarly, I was always (and still am) inspired by and sensitive to the timeless beauty and craftsmanship elegance in the art of the old masters or some of the 20th Century artists. Perhaps again the broad influence resides in responsiveness to detailed, meticulous executions, time honored techniques of fabrication and the finesse of the materials.
What’s next for Les Ateliers Courbet?
Our upcoming Domeau & Peres exhibition will unveil new design editions that I am particularly keen to share. I have long worked with Domeau & Peres – an esteemed design and artisans studio founded three decades ago by Philippe Peres and Bruno Domeau in Paris. I introduced Philippe and Bruno’s work in Los Angeles in 2007 with the very first design show I curated. Their work ethic, design knowledge and passion has been a tangible inspiration in my personal and professional paths. I opened Les Ateliers Courbet in 2013 with a small retrospective exhibition of their work – which was their first solo exhibition in the United States. This upcoming show will introduce new Domeau & Peres editions by Marc Newson, Martin Szekely, Odile Decq and Raphael Navot that we have long discussed and are finally coming to completion. I am particularly interested in the way each of the pieces emphasize Domeau & Peres’ craftsmanship prowess and expertise. The unveiling of these new design pieces is the natural continuity of our collaboration.