By Design: Tori Mellott on Dressing With Confidence2021-06-03
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 the heritage design house's Style Director, Tori Mellott, approaches creativity, then read about the fusion of history and style via interior designer Alyssa Kapito.
Unsurprisingly, given the title, Schumacher Style Director Tori Mellott has good taste in spades. A natural penchant for brights and prints was honed over years working in the magazine world—she held titles at Traditional Home, Domino, and House Beautiful—and brought to play at Schumacher.
As she explains to us below, her job details presenting how the heritage design brand fuses the future with its own lineage, an impressive melange when you consider it was founded in 1889. From Instagram to photoshoots, her work-world encompasses a bit of everything.
Enjoy our chat, below.
As style director, your role must touch on so many parts of the Schumacher business! Can you share what your average day at work entails?
I’m so lucky that I get to touch so many aspects of the Schumacher brand. Every day is very different with the exception of meetings—there are always plenty of meetings! But no two days are alike: One day we might be planning a social marketing strategy for a new fabric collection and the next I’m shooting a story for Frederic, our print magazine; on another day we might be looking at sales numbers to determine if our social campaigns are actually working. In a nutshell, I focus on ensuring all of the images and content we put out into the social universe reflect the Schumacher brand—who we are and what we stand for. Our content must be beautiful, engaging, approachable, interesting, and full of life! Bringing Schumacher products to designers in the most beautiful way possible is what I live for.
We speak a lot about confidence at Margaux. Do you have a memory of how you learned to be confident in your sartorial choices when you were first beginning your career in the editorial world?
I wasn’t always comfortable with my style. When I first moved to New York City in 1998, I was really self-conscious about my clothes. I am from a small town in western Pennsylvania and we didn’t have a lot of Prada and Manolo Blahnik floating around our mall. When I started working in publishing and saw all of the glamorous women in head-to-toe designer togs, I felt like I needed a zillion dollars in order to dress really well. And for a while I tried to keep that pace as best I could, but when you have kids (which I now have two!) spending your entire paycheck on one pair of shoes is unsustainable.
What I have learned is that you absolutely do not need a lot of money or to be swathed in designer duds to be stylish! In fact, I think people who are on a budget are often much more stylish and daring than people who have mountains of money because they have to be; limitations sometimes bring out the best fashion sense in people because necessity really is the mother of all invention. Nowadays I get my kicks from cobbling together outfits from pieces I’ve grabbed from H&M, Target, Zara, Mango, and Century 21. I will typically buy one or two “fancy” things a year to throw into the mix—maybe a more expensive shoe or jean or a pair of posh-looking sunglasses, but that’s it. Truly, it is all about the mix and wearing what you love with confidence!
Schumacher is known for its vibrant prints and patterns—how do you fit that energy into your home style? And into your wardrobe?
Schumacher really offers something for everyone. While we are known primarily for our exuberant, happy, and colorful prints, we have a very wide range of styles. For instance we have decadent mohairs, rich silk velvets, handmade embroideries, luscious linens, quiet prints, and serious damasks—you name it, we have it!
I have always been attracted to pattern and color so introducing it into my home is easy and second nature. In fact, I just had my headboard re-upholstered in our “Bunny” fabric in the Aubergine colorway and it looks fabulous. I am about to have curtains made for my daughters’ room from our “Maryam Vine” in the Peacock colorway. It’s vibrant enough to excite a 9-year-old but sophisticated enough for me to spend the money on it because I know it will take them well into their teen years and beyond.
As for fashion: I LOVE color! I organize my closet by the rainbow so it’s pretty to look at and at the moment I am seriously loving yellow. My obsession with prints ebbs and flows; I was really into prints from 1998 until about 2010; then I transitioned into a solids phase and just now am I gravitating back to prints. I love all colors but not all color combos. Currently loving red and straw, pink and lavender, green and any color, and black paired with sky blue or nude. And all of my shoes are black, tobacco brown, nude, white, gold, silver or purple! Purple is a neutral for me.
Schumacher has such an impressive heritage, too. How do you mix that history with a sense of the now?
Honoring our rich history but also ensuring our products are fresh, vibrant, and exciting is a balancing act, and our CCO, Dara Caponigro, and our VP of Design, Pam Marshall, are really the two creative forces that make that happen! They develop and perfect all of the fabrics, trims, and wallcoverings that we introduce, and each pattern in our offering perfectly pairs our 132-year legacy with designs that are cutting edge and current. I am a steward for the brand in making sure their genius designs are presented in the most beautiful way!
Which pair from the collaboration is your favorite? How do you plan on wearing it?
I honestly love them all so much! But if I had to pick one that I know I would wear day in and day out it’s probably The Pointe in Cassis. Pink is kind of a neutral for me and while I love the mules, a closed back is more practical all year round. Not to mention, I love the silhouette: a very 1960s mod shape so it goes with skinny crop jeans as well as a simple summer shift dress!
What does being a girl on the gaux mean to you?
It means being able to juggle a lot and always attempting to do it with grace and style!
Discover the limited-edition collaboration here, including The Pointe in Cassis that Tori is photographed wearing.