To close out the Fall Market festivities at the Decoration & Design Building last week, Houlès invited guests to its “Paris in the Fall” event, where three Eiffel Towers whimsically designed by Jamie Drake, Matthew Patrick Smyth and Mariette Himes Gomez were unveiled and auctioned off by Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen.
Paris Pickett, Matthew Patrick Smyth and Brooke Gomez
With all proceeds benefitting The Alpha Workshops, the nation’s only non-profit organization providing creative HIV-positive individuals with industry-specific training and employment in the decorative arts, the auction raised $3,000 in total. Each structure sold for $500 and Houlés matched the amount.
Philippe Houlés, Mary Meisenzahl, Andrew Carton, Brie Savage, Julien Djadane and Lauren Jurgensen
“When our Braids & Tapes collection launched, we were inspired by their versatility and wanted to use the tapes in a unique way on our floor to showcase the product while highlighting our French heritage,” said Houlès’s Mary Meisenzahl. “Armando Uriostegui Guereca brought our vision to life when he created the original decorative Eiffel Tower for the New York showroom. This made us wonder how other designers might approach it.” Thus, the company enlisted Drake, Smyth and Gomez to completely reimagine the design of the iconic Parisian landmark using the company’s trim, which was donated to them.
Guests enjoyed French wines and hors d’oeuvres as they viewed the pieces on the auction block and learned about each designer’s inspiration and design during the auction. Notable attendees included Ken Wampler of The Alpha Workshops, Matthew Patrick Smyth, Paris Pickett of Drake Design Associates, Brooke Gomez of Gomez Associates, Jayne and Joan Michaels of 2Michaels, Young Huh and Tyler Wisler.
Joan Michaels, Matthew Patrick Smyth, Jayne Michaels, Ken Wampler and Young Huh
Paris Pickett of Drake Design Associates presented Drake’s structure, which was painstakingly covered from top to bottom in black-and-white and pink-and-white striped bows. "My Eiffel Tower inspiration was Parisian chic,” said Drake. “The couture of Christian Lacroix's ooh la la pouf dresses and saucy bows. The grey of Dior with the pink of spring blossoms in the Bois de Boulogne. I love Paris in the springtime....and in the fall!"
Smyth, who explained that a room “is not finished if it does not have trim,” transformed the Eiffel Tower into “a Parisian birdcage a la Folies Bergeres!”
Gomez’s Eiffel Tower design was introduced by her daughter and senior designer Brooke Gomez, who herself adores trim and was thrilled to see her mother’s use of it in her creation. Gomez hand selected various silver and grey trims to wrap the tower, creating an ombre effect. Gustav, the little man at the top, lived for years on the designer’s bookcase and now has a permanent new home scaling the tower.
Matthew Patrick Smyth, Brooke Gomez, Cindy Allen and Paris Pickett
Article and photos by Kate Jerde