Masters of Their Craft: Gracie Studio and Carolina Herrera

What, or rather, who, comes to mind when you think of craftsmanship? The idea of craftsmen and masters of their trades has been on my mind a lot lately. In less than a month I’ll be at Spring Market in High Point—home to some of our country’s first, and finest furniture makers. Just this week, I was reminded of what happens when first-class skill meets fine artistry.

For more than 100 years, Gracie Studio has owned the hand-painted wall covering space. Their exquisite panels—many inspired by 18th and 19th century Japanese and Chinese murals—are luxurious labors of love. Getting your first Gracie is like getting your first piece from Tiffany’s. All you want to do is show it off and stare at it in different light. Fortunately, I get to see my new Gracie wallpaper all day, every day.

Yesterday, after a year of anticipation, we installed Gracie’s stunning SY-21 design in my office. While it will definitely make me want to spend more time in the office, I’m not sure I’ll accomplish more. Honestly, I’ll be too busy admiring the details and vibrant colors that were so delicately, and deliberately, applied by hand. Even when I’m buried in work at my desk, I’ll be enveloped in elegance!

Detailed shots of the Gracie wallpaper….

(Below is a time lapse of the installation)

 

Of course, when I think of elegance, I think of Carolina Herrera—a craftswoman in every sense of the word. She was 40 when she started her fashion house, but she’s achieved almost everything there is to aspire toward in the fashion industry. Her timeless skill spans more than three decades! She’s dressed almost every first lady since Jackie Kennedy—who she dressed for the last 10 years of her life.

 

One of the things I like about Carolina Herrera is that she says yes to accessories, but no to excess. Her team practices, and preaches, the art of editing. I remember her referring to her collection for New York City Fashion Week once and she said the last thing she wanted was for it to look like potpourri. Witty, but well said. Her less is more, albeit intentional, approach is similar to my take on creating a room. For example, because my office now has this gorgeous wallpaper, I probably won’t install a statement piece ceiling.

Like Gracie Studio’s wall coverings, Carolina Herrera’s collections embody the highest level of respect for beauty and quality. I realize I’m going to pay more for those two things. My Gracie wallpaper wasn’t cheap, but I look at it like I view a Carolina Herrera gown. It’s an investment.

When you get into the upper echelons of craftsmanship, or craftswomanship, pieces aren’t expensive. They’re priceless.

 

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