TMI with Krystian von Speidel
Name: Steven Stolman
Occupation: President, Scalamandre
Found at: The Hartford Club (Hartford)
What are your travel essentials?
A blue blazer, my sunglasses and Czech & Speake No. 88 Cologne Spray.
Last book read? Hardcover or Kindle?
Paperback, actually, Furniture Wars: How America Lost a 50 Billion Dollar Industry by Mike Dugan, former CEO of Henredon.
What's your favorite candle scent?
Agraria Bitter Orange.
What's playing on your iPod?
The music of my high school years: Carole King, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, America and The Doobie Brothers… or show-tunes. I'm hopeless.
You've helped revitalize the iconic Lilly Pulitzer and Jack Rogers labels, and have been called on to do the same for Scalamandre, the leading purveyor of exquisite decorative fabrics, wall coverings, trims and furnishings. What is it about the WASPy aesthetic that continues to appeal and how is it that you've managed to interpret that appeal so well?
It isn't so much WASPy as it is intrinsically American. There is a optimistic freshness to all of these brands -- even at their fanciest -- there is a common thread of happiness and joie de vivre.
Fashion for the masses or privileged couture for the few? What are your thoughts on the Targetization of designer brands?
Firstly, I'm a loyal Target customer. When they get it right, they really get it right. And how terrific that high style no longer has to come at a high price. But I fully appreciate extraordinary quality and craftsmanship- and just because you can't afford something doesn't mean you can't admire it. There is nothing like handmade, couture, bespoke, whatever you want to call it, that level of quality, especially in clothing, has a lightness that is impossible to achieve in mass production.
What's your perfect weekend?
Two words: family and friends.
What's the one place you want to go that you've yet to visit?
Favorite vacation destination?
I really love my place in Palm Beach.
Who most resembles your modern-day vision of Jackie O?
What made Jackie iconic isn't the least bit modern, as she was limited by the times in which she lived. Too many have fed off her bones for too long.
What's your favorite cocktail?
Cotes du Rhone with ice. I know, I know…
If you're in the kitchen, what are you doing?
Cooking for friends- preferably a dinner for six. I'm a casserole cook, so it's Coq au Vin, cassoulet, Chicken Scarpariello or my real crowd pleaser, "Chili Elizabeth Taylor" which is a good, hearty turkey chili with a thick cornbread crust.
What do you miss most about dressing women?
Controlling the finished product. That final zip-up and sending them out the door looking terrific. You can't do that with interior design as you're more detached unless it's your own home.
What are your favorite memories of growing-up in West Hartford?
The King Phillip School Memorial Day Fair.
Favorite places to pop into when visiting West Hartford?
The Quaker Diner on Park Road. That and Park Lane Pizza are the only things left.
What does the future hold for Scalamandre?
A global brand standing for all things exquisite.
Do you have a favorite Scalamandre pattern?
How can you not love the red zebra wallpaper from Gino's restaurant? We did it in the mid-1940s and it's still incredibly popular.
How do you nudge a brand with the rich history and following of Scalamndre into the 21st century?
By fully understanding the ethos of the brand and applying those tendencies to today's tastes. Success in design is all about relevance.