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Style & The City
The Editors and AnnaMaria Stephens | Photo: Robert Benson | February 27, 2014
We tap three San Diego taste makers with serious design cred. What gets their pulse racing? Drumroll, please...
Sometimes you find la dolce vita in Italy—and sometimes you luck into it in Vegas. Interior designer Jessica Judd met her Italian fiance, a tile rep from Modena, at a trade show in Sin City. This New Year’s Eve, he proposed to her under a canopy of fireworks on Ischia, a volcanic island off the coast of Naples. “He also designed my ring,” gushes Judd, still in the deliriously happy throes of early engagement. Right now the 6-foot head-turner has her heart set on tying the knot in Italy. Considering the contemporary-chic projects she’s done for Del Mar’s boutique Chevalier Studio, where she’s a senior designer, it’s safe to assume her wedding will be worthy of a bridal-mag spread, no matter where it happens. “My personal style tends to be more organic and less refined,” says Judd, who grew up north of Seattle and subtly works references to the great outdoors into her projects through glam design pops. (Case in point: wallpaper in a client’s dining room that has the look of snakeskin.) “I love nature and try to bring it in to create a soothing sanctuary. That’s where I see design going. It’s a big movement.” Also trending? “Just about every client asks about local designers,” she says. “And I’m seeing more and more USA-made furniture companies who are doing really innovative stuff.” Though Judd’s job and love life mean lots of international travel, she’s equally content nesting in Leucadia. “I think I chose it because it reminds me of home,” she says. “People care about their funky neighborhood and I love that.”
THE COOL KID
Hip parents, rejoice. The Vapor Studio crew that locked in their under-25 set cred with design and branding work for Adidas, Billabong and Skullcandy, next launches Swenyo, a youth-oriented room goods line. So long, beanbag chairs! “Think PB Teen, but way cooler,” says Vapor’s founder and director, Ricardo Camargo. “It’s going to have a great vibe across music, art and action sports. Curating spaces is something that’s important to the whole family now.” Named for the phonetic spelling of sueño, the Spanish word for “dream,” Swenyo is Encinitas-based Vapor’s first foray into home design. But a decade ago, Camargo proved his personal devotion to forward-thinking domestic spaces when he bought a parcel of land in the beach burg and built a modern prefab. “We were real believers early on in that whole Dwell home culture,” he explains. “We want to see more of that.” A 20-year design industry veteran with a roster of internationally boldface clients, Camargo routinely circles the world for work and stimulation. “I like to visit very urban places like Berlin or Tokyo, take it all in and bring it back to digest,” he explains, adding that he’s always happy to return home. “If there’s anywhere in the world that defines lifestyle, it’s San Diego. People come here on purpose. They want to be here. Everybody is out doing things year-round. How could that not be inspiring?”
THE KNOTTY BOY
Nobody ever told Immanuel Ontiveros not to quit his day job. So when the Lord Wallington designer recently had the chance to leave his 9-to-5 for a full-time shot at men’s fashion, he jumped. “It was time,” says Ontiveros, who still lives up to his high school Most Fashionable title. “Everybody supported me on it.” It’s no wonder. Even in laid-back San Diego, Lord Wallington—a line of bespoke bow ties and pocket squares—has been a hit at local boutiques like Crow Thief and Vocabulary, along with spots in San Francisco and New York. “Guys are definitely putting in more effort,” says Ontiveros, who named his expanding brand after his rescue pooch, Wally. “Young professionals can go from work to dinner in nice jeans, a blazer and a neatly pressed shirt.” And statement-making neckwear, of course. “Women compliment me all the time,” he says. “But the best compliment is from guys who don’t think they could pull it off. They can.” When he’s not hunkered down at his studio in PreFAB, a hip new downtown co-working space, he’s apprenticing to be a master tailor at Joseph’s Menswear and Custom Tailoring in Little Italy. Ontiveros first met the shop’s 78-year-old Italian namesake while peddling his bow ties. “He asked me what my dream was in life,” says Ontiveros. “A year later I’m learning the trade and helping him expand his business.”
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