By Design: Alyssa Kapito on How History Factors Into Great Design2021-05-24
Cheerful, optimistic, and full of energy, Schumacher x Margaux was inspired by vivacious and stylish creatives—and in celebration of the collaboration we're featuring several such tastemakers, from top interior designers and style connoisseurs to creators and curators at Schumacher.
We're collecting our conversations in this special "By Design" series. Below, hear how interior designer Alyssa Kapito examines the intersection of style and history, then peek behind the curtain at Schumacher with the house's Vice President of Design.
There's no denying that an intangible "it" is real. Hard to define, yet easy to spot—the ultimate "you know it when you see it" type of thing—some people simply possess it, a way of being and knowing in their bones. The interiors industry all seems to agree designer Alyssa Kapito has "it" in spades: She's been named to assorted one-to-watch lists from titles like ELLE Decor, Traditional Home, and British Vogue, and homes she's touched have graced the glossy pages of every interior book that matters.
Undeniable natural taste was honed academically—she majored in art history before earning a master's degree in Renaissance art from Columbia University—and the resulting patina is what clients pay her for. She mixes the standard vocabulary of interior design with the classics, an alluring mix that's undeniably her. "I began to realize that I might see art through a different lens," she told Sotheby's. "That is, through interiors."
The refinement her brand is known for and the serious chops it requires to turn good taste into good business are two of the many reasons we were excited to speak with her for our special "In Design" series (and to see her in Schumacher x Margaux, natch).
Read our conversation below, then explore the limited-edition collaboration here.
You have an extensive background in art history: How does that factor into your work and the interiors you create?
I definitely view interiors through more of an academic lens. It’s not just a room for me—it’s a mix of lots of different periods and pieces that are coming together to create a space. I’m also hugely focused on the conversation between art and interiors, and I think it provides another level of visual interest!
What is your favorite part of your job?
Collecting historical pieces. We work with a lot of auction houses and dealers all over the world. Nothing is more satisfying than finding that rare piece you’ve been on the hunt for.
Where do you see the intersection between fashion and interiors? Do you think someone's personal style typically bleeds into their interior vibe or, conversely, do they often vary?
I think people are rather consistent with what they like in fashion and interiors. That said, even people who love color can trend on the more neutral side when it comes to interiors because you have to be really dedicated to pattern and color to not find it overwhelming on a regular basis. Fashion is much more fleeting: One day you can have one look, the next day something totally different. There’s a permanence to decor that makes one a little more subtle.
What makes Schumacher x Margaux feel so of-the-moment to you?
I love this collaboration! Schumacher is such a wonderful source of beautiful patterns and fabrics, and I’m happy to see them being applied to fashion.
Which classic style from the core Margaux collection fits most into your signature style? How would you wear it?
The Ballet Mule in Saddle Nappa is the perfect shoe. It would be great with jeans, a midi dress, or wide-leg pants.
What does being a girl on the gaux mean to you?
I think the gaux girl is a modern woman with a lot on her plate and a need for practicality but also one that values style and beauty. I love that Margaux can take you from a client meeting to a lunch with friends and even into the evening. I’m always looking for those unicorn wardrobe staples that have tons of flexibility and I absolutely adore my Margaux pieces.
Photography: Kirsten R. Francis