Viva la Eva by Michaela Cordes | 3rd September, 2007 | Personalities
… every month there are around one-million people visiting Vivre, the most luxurious mailorder department store in the world. GG was invited by Eva Lorenzotti the owner and celebrated queen of style to her very glamourous apartment in Manhattan, New York. A conversation about the secret of timeless taste, the art of living beautifully and how to educate yourself on exceptional style.„Luxury is so overly commercialized. I prefer style!“ says Eva Lorenzotti sitting in her glamourous apartment on Sutton Place, one of the legendary residence houses in Manhattan as she smiles and runs one of her perfectly manicured hands decorated with just one big statement ring, through her thick brown mane. Ten years ago the wife and mother of two founded the luxury mailorder company „Vivre“. Today Eva Lorenzotti is regarded as an expert when it comes to personal style.
How do you get an interior to look personal and not just decorated?
My approach to decorating is very much the same as my approach to building a wardrobe; it is all about collecting. I fall in love with things and mix many strong colors and style. The best way to describe it, it’s very eclectic! My taste is inspired by our many travels and interesting things I have found along the way. I think the first thing is not to expect everything to be accomplished at once in your décor process. Decorating your home is a very personal project and it is about collecting, finding the right pieces over time, making changes, and essentially watching your home evolve into a showcase of what you find interesting in your life as opposed to one perfectly set scene. Don’t be afraid to be bold and incorporate new ideas into how you arrange even the smallest detail in your home. Make sure it truly is an expression of you.
“One of my favorite things is this painted wood floor in the entrace hallway” Eva Lorenzotti
How do you realize a person has great sense and style when you enter their home?
When you are able to see the way a person lives, how they present their life and desires you are definitely confronted with their sense of style. You see how they chose to illuminate the dwelling, the aroma that surrounds you, and the functionality of the colors used in everything from the walls to the placemats. You are experiencing someone’s inner world and you have to ask yourself how their presentation makes you feel. Are you at ease? Are you excited? Are you anxious? How someone puts together their home can evoke many emotions and sentiments that are essential components of style. Style to me is ones visual persona. It is an expression of details that are unexpected, individual and acquired. I am always trying to mix pieces in an imaginative way. I feel that jewelry is a form of art that should be complemented by a background of simple clothing.
Do you follow trends interiorwise? In terms of colors?
I think that just like anything else, you are inspired by what is new and what is of the moment. It is very similar to fashion in that the trends are out there, and you can draw from them but you do not necessarily need to copy them. While paying attention to what is going on around you, it’s definitely possible to discover a more interesting way to style your home from what you may come across in magazines, other people’s homes, etc. I am a true collector and my apartment is a perfect example of this. I have used very strong colors throughout and gotten much of my inspiration from the past. One of my favorite things is our painted-wood floor in our entrance hallway. I was inspired by a Baroque painting and had it recreated onto a design on the floor.
How do you choose the interior items you sell on Vivre? What is your favorite interior piece you have in your catalogue right now?
I choose them based on their ability to tell a story. I look for unique craftsmanship and pieces that can be an interesting accent to any home. They are selected to express a point a view and create a conversation. It is hard to choose a favorite at the moment, but I love the Meri Table Lamp by OLY cast in a rough resin that looks like a white coral fixture. I find the simplicity, wittiness and Lucite-like nature of the Pandora plastic flatware set very fun and interesting. The large hand embroidered pouf pillow by Madeline Weinrib is a magnificent and larger-than-life piece for any space. The Niagara Chandelier by Lladro evokes a fantasy atmosphere with its multitudes of individual delicate white butterflies cascading from your ceiling.
“Decorating is like building a wardrobe. It’s all about collecting.” Eva Lorenzotti
How do you define the word luxury?
Unfortunatly I think many people talk about luxury today in terms of brands and logos (smiling). And that is not what luxury is. So I prefer to use the word style, because it is much more interesting and I think style is a personal thing and in the end that is what luxury really should be: something very personal to you. Things that you can appreciate that other people do not immediately see. I think one of the most luxurious things in the world is to sleep on an incredible pair of sheets, most people won’t see your sheets, but you spend half your life sleeping. I love storys like that: Hemigway every time he finished a book, he used to buy himself a pair of partese sheets. That is fantastic! Those kind of little things in life, when you just go kind of beyond, when you are able to appreciate the fact that a glass can take 12 hours from one craftman to make is amazing.
Your products are quite expensive. A lot of money does not automatically mean good taste. Do you educate people as well and try to teach them something about style?
Suttaly yes. Our message is that sometimes good taste is individuality. Individuality is taking risks and being informed. You can tell the difference between people who spend time building collections looking for the right pieces. Buying certain things for themselves, that they love and they charish, that are meaningful mixing it with something very simple that they found at the fleemarket, writing a handwritten note. All of these kind of things – as opposed to I walk into a store and buy whatever the trend dictates me. It happens a lot, it happens both in terms of architecture and design, houses and people. As opposed to: it doesn’t look good on me, it doesn’t matter how important it is – it is not for me! You need to educate yourself.
So good taste goes beyond how you dress yourself. It is about everything: The books you read, the music you listen to…
Yes, the friends you have, the way you entertain, the way you thank, the way you give gifts, it’s the way you live your life!
What are your first three rules when it comes to great style?
Number one – the way you speak to people. How do you present yourself? In terms of charme, manners, politeness. Second: Never overdo it! Third: My very personal one: never buy the „It“- anything! The „over- It- Thing“ is going to be over in no time and then not only you yourself, everybody else will be tired of it too. Better: Keep the mystery and never expose it all!