Muriel Brandolini, is a New York based designer of Vietnamese and French/Venezuelan decent. Born in Vietnam during the war she spent the early part of her life between Vietnam and France. She has many titles in the design word: "Queen of Color," and "The Alexander McQueen of Interiors" to name a few. Her work is brilliant. Brandolini uses color and texture in ways that I have not seen in other designers. Her work is a reflection of her love of travel and diverse background, and even more inspiring and astounding, her career has spanned 17 years, and she has never had any formal training in Architecture or Interior Design! I'm telling you this woman is brilliant!
What I've learned about Muriel's style and experience as a designer transcends the world of interior design. She has a unique perspective. She get's it. She has remained true to who she is and that is one of the biggest reasons for her success: Lesson #1.
After the jump a few more sage tidbits that can be applied to design and decor, but also to life in general because let's face it, life can often to be way more confusing than the color choice for your walls!
Be Bold. Stay True.
"I'm not afraid. Whatever I feel I just go for it and 99% of the time it's a success." -Muriel Brandolini
According to Ms. Brandolini authenticity is one of the most valuable assets we can bring to the table. She never reads industry magazines, and doesn't follow trends. She makes an effort to disconnect from what's "In," consequently she has made her own lane and is now considered a visionary because of her unique style.
Life Lesson: Take the time to figure out what YOU like, what YOU want to do. Don't be so easily led by magazines or people who claimed to be experts. Try meandering down the 'road less taken' you may be surprised by what you discover.
Training. What Training?
Brandolini never received formal technical training for Interior Design or Architecture. She was introduced to design when she moved to an small New York City apartment where she felt compelled to spruce up the marble walls she had been forbidden to paint. Not one for hearing the word "no" (A woman after my own heart. Not a big fan of that word either.) she used patchwork of African and Indian fabric to cover the walls and eventually re-decorated the entire space in an exotic, bohemian style and her business was born. "It was the start of an accidental career," says Brandolini about working on her apartment.
Life Lesson: Formal education is not the only method of education. There are libraries and bookstores filled with information on nearly every topic under the sun and let's not forget the internet. Information is everywhere. Don't let lack of training be the reason you defer a dream. The universe is always conspiring in our favor. Opportunity is often right in front of us we just have to be open enough to engage.
Inspiration is Everywhere
Ms. Brandolini has said she finds inspiration for her designs in life and in everything from meals, to flowers to people walking in the street.
Life Lesson: Be open to new possibilities and opportunities. They may not come in conventional and expected ways. Stay open!
There Are No Rules In Interior Design!
That's what she says and judging by her work and acclaim that statement is true. Brandolini's work is unique. Her lack of formal training was an asset. She was unaware of the regulations and technicalities that are taught in many design schools and she refused to be boxed in.
Life Lesson: This one pretty much relates to the previous three, basically as Kanye says, "Everything I'm not made me everything I am."
That is all. I don't know if it's her multi-ethnic background or that she get's that caftans are comfort and luxury all sewn up in a big old, colorfully, elegant, summer dress, but she wears them a lot which is a further reflection of her personal style.
Life Lesson: This is less like a life lesson and more like a fashion nod for me. Pants in the house are not comfortable. Caftans are comfortable and can be very sexy. Wear more caftans!