Good design is always a reflection of how a designer interacts with the world around her. Just like any other artist, a designer’s work should give you insight into her frame of mind at a particular moment; what was important to her, and what was rocking her world (and her worldview) at the time. A personal project consumed much of my free time during the fall and winter, and hugely influenced our Spring / Summer 2016 collection: the design and decoration of a new living space.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been inspired by all things mid-century: music, design, history, literature, architecture, graphic design, culture, and the feeling of determined optimism that seemed to pervade everything of the era. Accordingly, the design of our home took the majority of its cues from classic mid-century modernism. In making the space our own, we sought ways to reflect our history, cultural and geographic identity. What resulted was a clean, simple, (and colorful!) marriage of mid-century modern design, and patterns, colors, and landscaping indicative of the American West, our native home.
As I pondered our own unique Mid-Century x Western space, my thoughts turned to the various geographic iterations of mid-century modernism: Danish furniture, Soviet Brutalism, Southern Californian residential architecture, etc. I quickly found myself being drawn to to buildings and furniture of the same origin: Brazilian. Few countries have gone as all-in on modernism as Brazil; it was the 20th century’s de facto land of new ideas and experimentation in art, music, dance, design, and architecture. Many consider Brazil, still, to own the world’s boldest architectural expressions of modernism.
Brazilian Modernism was elegant, daring, and imaginative; full of clean lines, color, and dynamism. Brazilian artists, designers and architects of the time sought to define their culture by transgressing the “rules” of the Old World and injecting it with elements of the espírito de brasilidade…sensuality, originality, spectacle, beauty, pleasure, native natural resources, and the tropical. The concept comes together immediately upon seeing the work of some of the icons of the movement: Oscar Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi, Joaquim Tenreiro, and Sergio Rodrigues.
EMILY MEYER similarly seeks to define itself by infecting “rules” and “standards” with experimentation, originality, and our own native spirit. Our company, our clothes, and our customers are not ones to try to squeeze and fit into anyone else’s category; they demand their own. It’s from this ethos that EMILY MEYER Spring / Summer 2016 was born.
SS16 is bright colors, bold patterns, and luxurious cloth. It’s social, playful, intriguing, optimistic and sexy. The clothes are quintessentially tropical in color and nature: a silky turquoise ocean, a lush green jungle, a yellow sun in the baby blue sky. Vibrant colors give way to the cool sophistication of lightweight neutrals.
As for the official playlist, it is the soundtrack to a warm evening spent outdoors…boisterous and private all at once. The playlist follows our formula of subjecting the classic (Astrud Gilberto, Stan Getz) to seemingly dissonant forces (The Internet, Satin Jackets) to produce a uniquely modern result. It also pays tribute to that singularly Brazilian, mid-century sound, Bossa Nova. Spring / Summer 2016 is serene, celebratory, and sexy…just like summer should be.
Oscar Niemeyer's Palácio da Alvorada, the official residence of the President of Brazil, in Brasilia.
Oscar Niemeyer's masterpiece, the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (MAC).
Lina Bo Bardi's self-designed Casa de Vidro (the Glass House), outside of São Paulo.
Sergio Rodrigues' iconic Mole armchair, made of native Brazilian jacaranda and upholstered cushions supported by leather straps.
Joaquim Tenreiro's Cadeira chair, made from five different types of native Brazilian hardwood.