Designer Carla Carstens has parlayed her experience in fashion—in both PR and styling for brands including Jennifer Fisher, Chopard and Jonathan Simkhai—into a new home accessories collection that will make its debut at Shopbop this coming holiday season. Carstens sat down with EAL to chat about the inspiration for her new line and how she’s making the transition from fashion to home.
Given your background in fashion, what are some of the parallels between the fashion and the home furnishings realms?
There are actually a lot more parallels than I expected when I first made the transition to the home world. Trends often cross over from fashion to home to beauty and back again. Colors that are popular in one world are often popular in another. At the end of the day, good design is good design no matter what it’s for. And both fashion and home furnishings help you express your personality to the world.
What are some of the differences between the two worlds?
The main difference between fashion and home is the pace, I think. We live in a fast-fashion world, but when people buy things for their home, they tend to live with them for years and years (for better or worse). I want to make things that are beautiful (and beautifully crafted) and that you’ll love as much in 10 years as you do when you buy it.
What are some of the inspirations for the collection?
My first collection was inspired by my travels to Puerto Rico, where I am lucky enough to visit two to three times a year to see family. It’s an island teeming with wildlife and magnetic, lush backdrops. From surfing in Rincón, sitting outside our family’s beach house in Humacao and listening to the music of the coquis, my personal encounters with life on the island have been tremendously influential on my aesthetic over the years.
Reptiles and amphibians of Puerto Rico were the means of inspiration for my use of faux crocodile, brass snakes and iridescent buffalo horn in the collection. I also found the marble tombstones of Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis, an oceanfront cemetery, intriguing, and chose to incorporate marble-patterned acrylics into the line.
While a lot of my inspiration is saturated in tropical Puerto Rican culture, I also wanted to bring an equally urbane and sophisticated sensibility to the line that would blend seamlessly with a modern setting, hence the muted color palette.