Friday, May 1, 2015

Chic of the Week :: Elizabeth Swartz Interiors

I met interior designer Elizabeth Swartz while on assignment for South Shore Living magazine. I was touring an impressive waterfront property in Hingham that Swartz designed for a very stylish homeowner. Read about this designer’s first project on the South Shore in the magazine's May issue and learn more about her vibrant personal style today on the blog.

With a condo in Boston’s bustling South End and a sprawling residence in rural Vermont, Swartz has experience fusing metropolitan style with rustic elements. Her ability to bridge the gap between the avant-garde and the antique is a testament to her portfolio.

In 2001, Swartz moved to Mendon, a small town near the ski mecca of Killington. She and her husband built a pastoral, shingle-style home dating back to the late 1800s. “It’s rustic with heavy stone, cedar shingles and traditional mutins on the windows,” she said. “It blends into the mountain.”

Although her city dwelling is more formal, Swartz does a majority of her large-scale entertaining at her country retreat. With its soaring ceilings, colossal windows and grand staircase, the space easily accommodates more than a dozen family and friends at a time. Swartz admits her dining room is at capacity most weekend nights.

After graduating from Cornell University in 1981 with a degree in interior design, Swartz landed in a boutique firm in Manhattan where she managed high-end residential and commercial projects. When her husband took a job in Boston, the family moved to New England and settled in Brookline. Swartz worked at an architectural firm in Cambridge before establishing Elizabeth Swartz Interiors in 1985 – a decision made partly because it offered a more flexible schedule with her young family.

Drawn to the creativity and intimacy of residential architecture, Swartz transitioned solely to home design in the late 1980s. Over the years, she has mapped a lucrative enterprise from Greater Boston and the Cape and Islands to New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Georgia and Florida.

As you’ll see in the photos below, Swartz was able to achieve the homeowner's desire for a contemporary look, yet timeless feel. Her fearless use of color in the likes of raspberry, aqua, cantaloupe and lime mixed with a bold choice in ornate patterns set against white and dark woodwork captivated me from the moment I entered the airy foyer. To indulge in more photos of this gorgeous home, snag a copy of South Shore Living magazine and look for my byline.






Photos // Michael J. Lee

Friday, April 3, 2015

Chic of the Week: Tiffany & Co. Introduces the CT60 Watch Collection

You can learn a lot in a “New York Minute” and that’s precisely what I did Wednesday evening at Tiffany & Co. I was at the luxury jeweler for a private viewing of their new CT60 watch collection. I can appreciate that famous phrase, coined by founder Charles Lewis Tiffany so long ago, because it emanates speed, efficiency and punctuality – qualities that make the world go round and help our society move minute to minute.   

Perched at the corner of Newbury and Arlington (former home of Chanel for those of you who live and play in Boston's Back Bay), this boutique-like shop is the retailer's fourth location in Massachusetts. I entered a private lounge tucked behind twin pocket doors and was greeted with a glass of chilled-to-perfection Veuve Clicquot. Champagne at Tiffany! I could get used to this, I thought. Very used to this. Then there were a bevy of hugs and kisses exchanged with my friends Christine of Rules for the Modern Girl and Shauna of Like So Pretty.

Tiffany & Co.’s publicity team made us feel right at home. Their storytelling about the birth of the “New York Minute” and Tiffany’s quest for marking time by installing one of New York’s first public clocks, took me back to 1853. As an avid daydreamer, a well versed tale (like this one) easily paints a picture of a time and place well before my years. It’s clear that Tiffany could easily be crowned the Father Time of the nineteenth century.

Making its public debut yesterday, the CT60 watches pay homage to Tiffany’s legacy. The design was inspired by a timepiece the legendary innovator gave Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. Functioning seamlessly for both men and woman, these modern-day time-keepers include a chronograph in stainless steel with self-winding mechanical movement, blue soleil finishing and silver poudré numerals.

The collection starts at a mere $4,250 with the pièce de résistance, a brilliant 18-karat rose gold Calendar watch, topping things off at a cool $19,000 – a drop in the bucket for the well-heeled individual. With only 60 of these stunning Calendar watches produced worldwide, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re already sold out, my friends. But, not to fret because there are many other pieces in the CT60 collection and they’re not in limited supply. Try a few on for size this weekend at any Tiffany & Co. location worldwide including those in Massachusetts: Newbury Street, Copley Place, Chestnut Hill and Natick.

Tiffany CT60 Calendar watch in 18k rose gold, 40 mm, self-winding mechanical movement with a white soleil dial on a black alligator strap // $19,000

Tiffany CT60 Chronograph in 18k rose gold, 42 mm, self-winding mechanical movement with a white soleil dial on a black alligator strap // $15,000

Tiffany CT60 3-Hand in stainless steel with round-cut brilliant diamonds, 34 mm, self-winding mechanical movement with a white soleil dial // $8,750

Tiffany CT60 Chronograph in stainless steel, 42 mm, self-winding mechanical movement with a white soleil dial on a black alligator strap // $6,750

Tiffany CT60 3-Hand in stainless steel, 34 mm, self-winding mechanical movement with a blue soleil dial // $4,250

Watch out!
Rue Le Chat, Rules for the Modern Girl, and Like So Pretty

Monday, March 9, 2015

Big Sister Boston Draws Big Names and Even Bigger Bucks

Big Sister, Jessica Burday and Little Sister, Syleena

Boston tastemakers took to the catwalk last week to help raise some serious coin for the Big Sister Association of GreaterBoston. The mentoring organization partnered with Boston Common magazine, Bloomingdale’s and a host of notables for their 5th annual Make a Statement Fashion Show at the Revere Hotel. 

Delectable canapés and flutes of Whispering Angel rosé circled a sold-out crowd of more than 350 that included State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli, clothing designer Michael De Paulo; social butterfly Abby Cushman; and style bloggers Kimberly Gioioso and Jessica Hennessy of The Haute Mamas.

Boston Ballet dancers opened the evening and were followed by a welcome from Deborah Re, CEO of Big Sister Boston. Models sported designer pieces curated locally by Bloomingdale’s in Chestnut Hill and Crane & Lion, a fitness apparel brand. In addition to members of the Big Sister community strutting under the spotlight, the star-studded stage welcomed former U.S. Senator Scott Brown and his wife, Gail Huff; posh pair Tonya and Ben Mezrich; baseball babes Jason and Catherine Varitek; Boston Common’s Lisa Pierpont; and Bianca de la Garza. 

Dining Playbook's Jenny Johnson commanded emcee duties alongside Gary Tanguay of Comcast SportsNet. The duo kept the crowd under control as a slew of sought-after prizes went up for bid. On the auction block: an African safari, two tickets to see piano man, Billy Joel at Fenway Park this summer and (my personal favorite) a chichi dinner party for a dozen friends courtesy of the Catered Affair – I’d like a seat at that table. If you scored this mouthwatering swag, call me. 

The fashion fête raked in more than $140,000 and proceeds will help “Little Sisters” achieve their full potential by fostering positive mentor relationships with “Big Sisters.” If you missed the event, it’s never too late to lend your support here.

Boston Ballet

Bianca de la Garza

Lisa Pierpont

Gail Huff and Scott Brown

Tonya and Ben Mezrich

Catherine and Jason Varitek
Jessica Diaz // Ms. Fit for Society

Kimberly Gioioso, Jessica Hennessy and Rue Le Chat

Photos // Yuri Vaysgant

Monday, March 2, 2015

Claire Underwood's House of Style

In honor of the season three release of House of Cards a mere 72 hours ago, I'm talking all things Claire today. I've been mesmerized with the minimal-chic-power dressing of Robin Wright since her Netflix debut as Mrs. Frank Underwood in 2013. I just can't get enough of the well-tailored, Washington, D.C. wardrobe she so elegantly sports in seasons one and two. A consumer of clean lines and architecturally-sound pieces, the pixie-haired goddess rocks a shift dress and man-tailored shirt like nobody's business.  

Claire has offered us a promenade of high-end, form-fitting staples and left many suffering from serious closet envy. Her monochromatic mile of black, navy and grey in the likes of Narciso Rodriguez, Ralph Lauren, Theory and Burberry has left me salivating. And if you haven't yet begged for a glass of Champagne to quell your thirst, then this may not be the fashion show for you.

Neutral tones aside, the one pop of color that has
continually appeared on-screen in past seasons has come in the form of red bottoms. Just thinking about the suede Louboutin boots Claire sported in season two makes me weak in the knees. Remember the episode where she had a mini-cry sesh on her staircase (looming over the endless souls she'd stepped on to get to the top)? Then, with the blink of an eye, she hoisted herself onto her scarlet soles (see what I did there?) and walked away as if all was well in the world. Icy indeed, but that's classic Claire. It's easy to hate her, but I'm sure we'd all love to live in her closet. 

Can you just imagine her carrying a crimson Céline calfskin tote?! The accessories don't run that wild this season, but expect to see an off-the-shoulder pale blue-lilac suit for the presidential portrait (a gorgeous piece) and a burgundy suit in a key Air Force One scene. I'm welcoming this wardrobe refresh because there are times when you just need to make a statement. But then again, this is Claire Underwood we're talking about and no statement (bold or otherwise) is necessary when you're the First Lady of the United States…or playing one on TV for that matter.

With Wright's personal stylist, Kemal Harris, at the helm as Claire's costume designer, we can expect inspiration from the late Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall and Carolyn Bassette-Kennedy. This D.C. dame's famed black dresses and Louboutins have taken a backseat as a new First Lady look is revealed. In a recent interview with, Harris said this about the new look

I wanted Claire to have the chance to be vulnerable and feminine without losing her true self. Her character has been fighting her way to the top for the past two seasons, looking focused and streamlined in her protective armor of strict, sharp tailoring. I softened the collars of her blouses, added kick-pleats to the pencil skirts, opted for softer sleeves on jackets and used quite a few full skirt options. Colors include pale lilac, deep green, burgundy, raspberry and lots of blue. I made a concerted effort to avoid black in her wardrobe.

What do you think of Claire Underwood's style? Love it? Hate it? Tell me!

images via