Window-shopping may be free, but shop windows rarely look as no-expense-spared as they will Wednesday, when 61 interior decor talents unveil lavish vignettes in showrooms throughout the high-ticket La Cienega Design Quarter for the seventh annual "Legends of La Cienega." The event, which began as a way for merchants to express themselves and to dress up their neighborhood, has become a genuine design event, with industry panel discussions, art exhibitions, product introductions, book signings and free-flowing bubbly and nibbles. Last year, some 12,000 design professionals and fans registered for the three-day celebration and thousands more viewed the extravagant window displays.
Many of the ticketed keynote presentations, moderated by top national shelter magazine editors, are already sold out, but there are numerous free events open to the public. These include book signings by Linda O'Keefe, author of "Heart & Home: Rooms That Tell Stories (Rizzoli), Justina Blakeney of the Jungalow, the legendary British decorator Nicky Haslam and Los Angeles designer Windsor Smith. Other highlights: "Spellbound," an exhibition of rare poster art from Alfred Hitchcock Films at Fuller + Roberts; a preview of new products by Herman Miller, Jens Risom and Egg Collective at Design Within Reach and a presentation of eight one-of-a-kind interpretations of the Promemoria Bilou Bilou chair, which will be in a Chairs for Charity auction benefitting Habitat for Humanity. For a full schedule of events, visit lcdqla.com/legends-2015/.
For those who prefer a less crowded, more leisurely stroll, the windows are expected to be up until May 17. This year, the theme of the "Legends" window designs is "Where Muses Dwell." Some participating designers took the assignment literally, creating rooms where Gertrude Stein, Edith Piaf, Yves St. Laurent, Wes Anderson and Debbie Harry might dwell.
Others saluted architects and designers such as Charles Gwathney, Julia Morgan, Diego Giacometti and Rose Cumming. Many chose animals or an inspirational place, be it Austin, Texas; Iran; the Garden of Eden; Palm Springs or the Arts District of downtown L.A., which was interpreted by the downtown design firm Hammer & Spear for the windows of Woven Accents on Melrose Avenue, shown above. And in a bracing a bit of what he calls "humor, provocation and honesty," L.A. designer Lawrence J. Rizkowsky created a window with a bank vault, a safety deposit box viewing table, a gilt Michael Taylor chair, a Murano glass chandelier and bags of cash.
His Muse? Money.