Design in Depth: Celebrating a Milestone at Lillian August
January 22, 2014
By Stacy Kunstel
What does a twenty-five-year-old lifestyle brand look like?
Vivacious, beautiful, lithe, accessorized, stylish, topped with a perfectly cut mop of white-blonde hair: so much of the Lillian August brand—the furniture and fabric collections, the stores in Connecticut, New York, and Los Angeles—is the woman, Lillian August, herself. From her start as a linens and textile designer in the 1980s to her designs with Hickory White, Lillian has been at the forefront of the decorating-meets-lifestyle trend.
Last week I attended the kickoff at Lillian August’s flagship Norwalk showroom for what will be a yearlong celebration marking twenty-five years in the design industry, and got to meet Lillian (the person) for the first time. She addressed a small group of us, talking about her start, her process, and how to bring a collection to fruition.
She designs two collections a year that include furniture, some fabrics, and accessories. She let us in on a few secrets about how she works, sharing that she typically starts with a color, and she looks at everything—Paris shows, J.Crew, any magazine she comes across. “You’re only as good as your references,” she says, quoting someone she once worked for in the industry.
“You always see it in fashion first,” says Lillian. “Then it trickles down to other places. We’re going to see more outrageous interiors. Just look what’s happening in fashion.”
Her two sons, John and Dan Weiss, are an enormous part of the Lillian lifestyle brand. Both based in Connecticut (Lillian lives in North Carolina), the sons design furniture, stock the stores with new and one-of-a-kind finds, and have turned the retail spaces into one-stop shopping for homeowners and designers alike.
“My mother was way ahead of the game,” says Dan. “People were designing suites of furniture and my mother was always designing eclectically, and that’s an approach we always take.”
The Norwalk store has been redone with room vignettes featuring Lillian’s collections, complemented by Dan’s furniture designs as well. A good number of the pieces are made in the USA, with others being made in Vietnam.
Pops of color mix with more neutral collections in the showroom.
Our congratulations to Lillian and the Lillian August team on twenty-five stylish years!