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Date published: March 03 2014

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New traditionalists have fallen for colour and vibrancy says Lillian August

Always fashion-conscious, the "new" traditionalist has respect for history but demands that traditional design continually be re-interpreted...designs that look to the classics but stay in tune with the times.

A symbol of graceful living, traditional design is also a symbol of success.   It began with Queen Victoria, the first Royal to publicly embrace the idea of home, therefore giving the home greater social value than more artificial court life.   It has evolved to what we might call the new era of the interior designer whose customers demand incredible rooms.

Early women of design, Nancy Lancaster, Elsie de Wolfe and Sister Parrish, among other greats, opened the door for the interior designers of today.   Often, their most significant work was experienced by the public in elegant hotels, memorable ballrooms and lobbies...where parties large and small sparked the imagination of those that experienced the magic prevailed.

Still today, stellar discerning customers are captivated by this legacy.   I, myself, take great pride in celebrating this legacy.

My challenge as a designer is to retain the essence of classicism and at the same time update it with cleaned-up, not too fussy, statements.   At Lillian August, we strive to be a part of the genre of unforgettable designers that have created a unique vocabulary of beautiful and timely fashion  looks...creating rooms that tell a story or at the very least pay tribute to renowned American designers.

Personally, I enjoy settings where shades of the past can come to life with surprising, intense colour and excitement; where we can combine elegant European fabrics and the best of traditional furnishings...where furnishings and lifestyle settings reflect the best of interiors, many international in flair.

My son and design partner, Dan Weiss, travels the world, working with talented  artisans, in order to  bring fresh concepts to life.  Concepts and colour are two of the most important ingredients in design today.

Actually, colour gets me out of bed in the morning and the opportunity to work with pure colour never fails to inspire me.

I always enjoy seeing designers embrace fashion and colour in all areas of their lives.  Often they don't realize just how much of this inspiration comes  from fifty years of strong as well as  subtle colour useage.

We love colours such as vibrant greens, rich reds and tuxedo black and white which create drama and glamour.   Fresh and clean-looking navy, so important in apparel, transcends readily to the home.

We like the way red sizzles when combined with rich cream.

Red, always the colour of love, is easily paired with olive and acid greens and easily complemented with strong splashes of black and white.

Plums and blues are especially  refreshing and bring a feeling of comfort and relaxation.   Even bursts of intense hues can create a warm, vintage look and become invigorating when softened by creamy taupe or pale olive.    Eggplant and purple are important in a saturated colour palette,  while ivories and creams add a richly textured feel.

We see yellow adding pop in home furnishings, a nice accent in  golds, mustard and sunflower colorations.   Combined with greys, sand and washed stone,  we have a wonderful urban, upscale lifestyle decor that is restful as well as charming.

Similarly,  radiant orchid - Pantone's color of the year - offers

an expressive and exotic feel while inspiring confidence and warmth.   "An invitation to innovation, radiant orchid encourages creativity and originality, increasingly valued in today's society," said  Leatrice Eiserman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute.

A modern and surprisingly versatile shade,  orchid blends both cool and warm undertones and pairs well with olive and deeper hunter greens  as well as turquoise, teal and even light yellows.

It is uplifting and bold without being overpowering.

The most compelling rooms tell a story and colour always plays a key role.   At Lillian August we thrive on creating an unusual if not unique slant as well as timely fashion statements to these rooms ...bringing the past to the present, bringing stories to life with flair, and rooms that can be enjoyed and appreciated the world over.

Author: Lillian August

Company: Lillian August

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