If there is anyone who knows how to create timeless elegance, especially in the realm of luxury furniture, it's Christopher Guy.
Christopher Guy is a world-renowned luxury furniture designer and his works of art can be seen all over the world. He has furnished top luxury hotels, such as Trump Plaza (NY), Savoy (London), Atlantis Hotel (Dubai), Venetian (Las Vegas), and Bellagio (Las Vegas). And they have also been featured in films such as The Devil Wears Prada, Thomas Crown Affair, and Casino Royale to name a few.
He is celebrated in the world of fashion as one of the most successful furniture designers, well known for fusing classicism with modernism in his designs. But aside from all his accolades and accomplishments, he is still one of the most humble people I have met in my journey as a fashion entrepreneur.
I met Christopher a little over a year ago in an interior design showcase held in Santa Monica, California where some of Christopher Guy's elegant pieces complimented a newly renovated eco-friendly home. It was an evening soiree of fashion enthusiasts and loyal fans and I was fortunate enough to have been invited by a friend who had met Christopher before. I remember the night being casual, yet still sophisticated and classy, especially when we were surrounded by Christopher Guy's marvelous furnishings.
After most of the guests had left, I had the opportunity to briefly chat with Christopher about his designs, and our conversation quickly turned into discussing my aspirations of becoming a fashion designer myself. Christopher was nothing but helpful in giving me advice and connecting me with one of his close friends, three-time Emmy Award winner Birgit C. Mueller.
I was really fortunate to have met Christopher personally and very humbled at the fact that he took the time in his busy and hectic schedule to answer my questions and give me some valuable advice. A year later, I had a chance to meet Christopher again a the unveiling of his new flagship store located in West Hollywood: a state-of-the-art showroom three times the size of his original flagship store in Beverly Hills. I was lucky enough to be among the handful of people invited to see all the new luxurious furniture that only Christopher can create.
Some of his guests included actor Timothy Dalton, actress Sofia Milos, British Journalist Piers Morgan and Fashion Designer Philip Treacy. There was no shortage of appetizers, champagne and wine while we mingled and admired Christopher Guy's new collection. The night also included a fashion show from Designer Philip Treacy, who showcased his amazing haute couture hat collection, along with Christopher's 2nd annual BritWeek Design Award ceremony.
But one of the most fascinating moments for me that night, amidst the glitz and the glamor, was watching Christopher in action. I remember him being pulled in a million different places as he acknowledged every single guest who attended. Yet Christopher remained calm, focused and genuine with every smile and hello. He is truly a class act and one of the few successful entrepreneurs that I am lucky enough to be acquainted with who still has their feet firmly on the ground. It is very comforting to know that someone as successful and accomplished as Christopher Guy can still have a good spirit and a great heart.
I had asked Christopher if I can do a mini-interview with him and he graciously accepted.
What made you realize you wanted to be a Designer?
At the age of 16, I relocated to South of France with my mother and stepfather, where we worked on my first project, building our home over a period of 18 months. This ignited the sparks of passion for design, with my stepfather as a key source of inspiration. Living in the South of France -- with its glamorous surroundings, homes and residents -- definitely had an impact on me, setting the foundation of my love of old Hollywood glamor. Living in and being about to travel around the South of France and Spain from an early age has also allowed me to observe and be exposed to various cultures, which became a very important part of the foundation of my design.
How did you get started in your journey?
I was drawn to furnishings following the crash in the property market in Europe/U.S. in the early '90s. This resulted in thinking of something new to do, and my experience in the business of buying, remodeling, and selling properties in London meant that furnishings was a natural extension of what I did best. In 1993 I started Harrison & Gil selling my first mirror frame at Harrods and in 2006, it was renamed Christopher Guy to include full line lifestyle furnishing. When I started in the industry, there were no contemporary, high end mirror companies in the industry as it was such a specialized category of product. At that time there were only classic designs available, mostly of the Chippendale and Luis IXV style and these were only a handful of dedicated mirror companies with most of them copying each other.
As I progressed into full line lifestyle furnishing, the patented Chris-X legs design became a signature element of the CG line. It was inspired by the feminine form. These are all very sensual and elegant forms, elements that define my designs.
What inspires you in life?
Good design is all about visual balance, and I continue to believe that the finest and most enduring designs tend to be pure rather than fussy. That translates into elegance, which is what inspires me to continue to design -- something that French furniture designers back in the '30s and '40s understood well.
It is this very philosophy that is captured within the wares of Christopher Guy, where beautiful decorative furnishings are created with a timeless elegance that appeals to our global audience.
What keeps you going when faced with adversity?
I set up my workshop in Java, where some of the world's finest carvers are based. I have 1,400 of these master craftsmen working with me there and my proudest moment occurs every time I walk down to the workshop and see these craftsmen working on my designs.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
My inspirations also come from my travels. I believe that internationalization transcends tradition. It is with an understanding and integration of cultures that form the basis of my designs. There is no particular country's tradition that I adopt in my designs, as I believe that the understanding of elegance is international and recognizable instantly.
Any advice to new designers?
I believe that through traveling, a young designer will be more exposed to different cultures and elements. This is important in order for them to create and broaden their own portfolio and to be inspired to create new designs. It is the journey of travel that will make a good designer better. A young designer also needs to acknowledge that large investments are required to support design. Even the likes of Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs would not have the ability to grow or expand without support.
To learn more about Christopher Guy and see his latest designs visit www.ChristopherGuy.com