Coordinating Separates pix
With Angel Sanchez and Christopher Coleman, fashion and interiors form a partnership
Sara Bliss -- Interior Design, 4/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
The owner of the Angel Sanchez label and the principal of Christopher Coleman Interior Design.
Sanchez's sketch of a wool-and-silk evening coat with matching pencil skirt for fall/winter 2006.
His cocktail dress in silk organza with sequin panels.
The 2,200-square-foot New York showroom of Angel Sanchez, with fall/winter dresses from 2005 and 2006 and a found ottoman reupholstered in faux suede.
Christopher Coleman's rendering of the Angel Sanchez Concepto boutiques for Beco department stores in Venezuela.
A Sanchez sketch of a pleated silk tulle cocktail gown for fall/winter 2006.
Floor-length gowns in silk faille and silk organza and a grosgrain-detailed cocktail dress.
A silk organza cocktail dress with disk embroidery.
The rolled silk tulle hemline of a fall/ winter 2005 cocktail dress.
Beading and silver embroidery on a dress for fall/winter 2005.
|When couples mix their personal life with business, both parties can capitalize on shared strengths—or else it's simply a disaster. Luckily for American interior designer Christopher Coleman and Venezuelan fashion designer Angel Sanchez, it's the former scenario. Their collaborations gracefully fuse distinctive creative and cultural perspectives.
Christopher Coleman Interior Design has consistently won over young urbanites with inventive solutions and bright colors. Meanwhile, the Angel Sanchez label's glamorous gowns have garnered a celebrity clientele, including Sandra Bullock and Eva Longoria.
Coleman and Sanchez first hit it off at a mutual friend's party in 1999. Last year, Coleman gave Sanchez's New York showroom an all-green makeover that cleverly uses curtains rather than walls to accommodate a variety of functions. Currently, Sanchez is busy with a ready-to-wear line, to be sold in Coleman-designed boutiques at Beco department stores throughout Venezuela.
What was your first project together?
AS: My apartment in Caracas, where Christopher showed me another design perspective. I was trained as an architect, and decoration had never been as important for me. I'd always used white. But Christopher introduced me to reds and yellows. It was amazing how the space changed with color.
So why black and white for your New York apartment?
AS: For Caracas and Miami, color is fine, because the light is different. It's bright year-round. In New York, all those colors would be too much.
CC: In New York, we're such workaholics—the black-and-white is soothing for a space we primarily use at night.
What was the reason for redoing the Angel Sanchez showroom?
AS: I was tired of our gray carpet and white walls. When I asked Christopher to choose a color that wouldn't compete with my collections, he brought me this gorgeous seafoam-green dressmaker's satin for the curtains, inspired by the idea of couture. And then he found carpet that matched. I like the monochromatic look. When people see the showroom they say, "Wow, it's so peaceful."
Do you agree?
CC: A monochromatic palette isn't jarring. It soothes the eye, and it also increases flexibility. The space is one big rectangle, and all the furniture can be moved, depending on whether there's a single runway presentation going on or three client meetings at once. Having curtains instead of walls helps, too.
Tell us about Beco.
AS: I always wanted to do a ready-to-wear collection, so I created Angel Sanchez Concepto for Beco, a department-store chain in Venezuela. Even though the clothes aren't expensive, the look of the boutiques is luxurious.
How do you achieve that?
CC: The background had to be neutral enough to show the clothes, so we kept it black-and-white but used reflections. The floor is polished steel, and the walls are black glass with a steel bar. To give it more of a residential feel, we chose a lower-pile gray shag with Lurex and an organically shaped coffee table in white lacquer.
Can you compare residential and retail design?
CC: When I started out, at Macy's, I had to be budget-conscious. I learned where to find inexpensive, durable materials that look great, and I still think that way. For Angel's boutiques, it's been interesting to pick out mannequins and hangers—and to keep different kinds of things in mind. How much hanging space versus folded you need, for instance. Or what happens if no one wears jeans next year?
What are the challenges of working and living together?
AS: Because I'm a trained architect, I know how to read plans, so I can be picky. But I can't be demanding like a regular client. I have to be more careful with what I say. A regular client can complain without a problem. In my case, I have to be nice!
CC: For me, it's easy, because I know Angel so well. I see all his collections, so I know what he likes visually and what he doesn't. For instance, he hates anything fussy—take throw pillows. I can translate his fashion style into interiors.
Is your work symbiotic?
CC: Angel's dresses are very architectural and detailed, so maybe I'll see the embroidery on a dress and think of a pillowcase or a curtain. Last year, I brought home a few taffeta samples for a residential project's Roman shades, and they caught his attention. He'd never used taffeta before. He loved the volumes it created, and he went on to design these great big taffeta dresses.
AS: Every time I present a new collection, the most important opinion is his.