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Style in The City
Katie Bianco and Michael McCarthy | Photo: Greg Powers | March 4, 2014
These local trendsetters embrace the DC moment—in both their impeccable work and gorgeous sense of style.
Yasmine Karabassis may have developed her passion for couture growing up in Canada with her fashion-designer mother, but her chic sensibilities extend far beyond the borders of North America. Karabassis—who is one half of the husband-and-wife-helmed IK Retail Group, a DC-based retail consulting, development and management company—has been working behind the scenes for nearly two decades to bring international brands like MaxMara, Piazza Sempione and Sisley to the States. In April, she steps center stage with the opening of Emporium DNA, a 3,200-square-foot shop-within-a-shop retail concept near Dupont Circle. “We’re bringing brands that don’t yet have a face in America,” says Karabassis, whose devotion to international designers will be on display with labels like MinkPink from Australia, Freddy from Milan, Religion from London and Stefanel from Italy. “It’s become so saturated everywhere you go with the same brands. We’re excited to give these designers an opportunity.” Another designer who will get an opportunity in Emporium? Karabassis herself. She’ll unveil Chouchou, which reflects her sleek, contemporary sense of style. “When we first started with Emporium, there were some holes in the buys, so I started working on this as a trial,” says the new designer. “I felt like I had some goodies in my closet that could be renovated and launched anew.” We’re sure DC’s fashion-forward women will agree.
Christopher Patrick admits he has an obsession with chairs. And there are a few in particular—Philippe Starck’s ghost chairs—that will move with him no matter where he lives around town. Maybe this obsession matches Patrick’s own aesthetic? “I think so,” says the Petworth resident and owner of Christopher Patrick Interiors. “It’s classic but also extremely modern. The pieces are made with a polycarbonate, an oval back with brilliant colors and modeled after a Louis XIV chair. I tend to switch out these comfortable chairs in my home, depending on their colors and the season.” The distinct blending of classic and modern sensibilities has served Patrick well the past couple of years, as he has quietly become one of DC’s go-to designers for homeowners who find themselves in prototypical DC spaces—Victorians and Federal-style homes—with a yen for a contemporary look. “My favorite projects are when clients completely trust me and hand over control of their homes,” he says. “That’s when I go for it. But I also love projects that are out of my comfort zone, where I take a client’s style and interpret it.” Patrick has been in DC for 20 years and has witnessed the city become more audacious with its collective taste in design and fashion. “I like to be a little daring. For example, one of my biggest fashion statements is a pair of Jimmy Choo leopard loafers,” he says, laughing. “They are my go-to look for nightlife—a great conversation starter and networking tool!” His next moves include extending his brand with work for clients up and down the East Coast, as well as designs for furniture and fabric. “My style—modern and clean lines, warm, masculine with tailored pieces—is my brand,” Patrick says. And DC’s sleek elite is latching on.
If ever a designer matched her sense of worldly storytelling with a city brimming with travelers, it’s Kathryn Ivey. The Capitol Hill globe-trotter has just returned from Paris Design Week with a renewed vision for spring design—and a new name: Kathryn Ivey Interiors. “DC is such a well-traveled, international city, so my designs incorporate items that have been collected over time and tell a story,” she says. “I find modern looks all over the world—and locally, in places like Tone on Tone and Verdigris.” Ivey’s Paris jaunt included trips to scores of fabric showrooms to see spring lines she’ll share with clients in the coming months. “I’m seeing lovely modern floral patterns,” she says. “And the biggest change is wallpaper—I love the new lines from Osbourne & Little. They take a clean and modern approach to color and pattern. In DC, homeowners used to steer clear of wallpaper because they were thinking about the resale of their properties. Now that more people are establishing roots and staying, high-end and meticulously designed wallpaper is a welcome look that adds allure to rooms.” It’s a case of a design trend reflecting something larger in the growth of a city. Ivey’s fashion predilection is classically modern with a nod toward craftsmanship. “My favorite designers are Carolina Herrera, and Helmut Lang, whose draping of fabric is absolutely stunning,” she says. Beyond couture, Ivey’s Capitol Hill weekends involve lots of wandering, especially to the eclectic stalls at Union Market. “So many of the vendors have a Euro vibe, which, naturally, is transporting. I would love to do a book on travel and modern interiors. Our homes have tales to tell.”
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