West Week is coming – Part two


The first day I worked at the glamorous Wilson and Associates office in Beverly Hills, I was asked to copy an entire specification book for a High Roller Suite of the MGM Mansions. It took all day and I was bored stiff. I was a good little copier, though, and I learned an awful lot about how to do specifications in that single exercise. At the end of the day, my boss, Maryellen McGeehee, said “Alexandra, Darrell, our principal designer needs an intern who knows about antiques to shop with him tomorrow? Can you come in a little early and meet him?”

I LOVED Darrell Schmitt immediately and we had a lot in common – he had lived and worked in New Orleans and we both also were painters. He was elegant and gracious, and the antique dealers on Melrose Place jumped up and down the minute we walked in the door. We shopped for rock crystal chandeliers and period desks with provenance from the Rothschilds. We shopped for fabrics at Nancy Corzine and J. Robert Scott. We sat in in fabulous club chairs and speculated if “Madame”, our Japanese client would find them comfortable. After that day, I primarily worked on Darrell’s preselections, as he was travelling most of the time. In order to do all this shopping, I had to get to know the PDC.

Maryellen took me for a quick tour to the “blue whale“, so that I could effectively complete my tasks and not become completely lost in the enormous building. I was in heaven! We shopped showrooms housing fabrics that to that point I’d only seen in fabric swatch books and now I was able to look at the fabric in giant wings – I could flip through them like I was shopping for a dress. I noted where all the best places were like Scalamandre, Brunschwig et Fils, Old World Weavers, Donghia, Rose Tarlow, and Clarence House. I mastered the parking garage and the concierge desk. I knew how to get from the green building to the blue building in record time.

This was now my home away from home. I would start to feel my energy level rise as soon as I walked up the ramp to the mezzanine. It almost wasn’t like work; it was my pleasure to find out as much as I possibly could every day. Have a question of academics like who makes the fabrics in the Oval Office? I would find out – it’s Scalamandre, by the way.

But…back to Westweek. Westweek is an annual event held in the springtime, and the showrooms host fabulous events for the designers like lectures, luncheons, cocktail parties, and product launches. Designers are able to meet the top practitioners in our field and have one on one conversations. It truly is a wonderful time of the year. I used to attend every event; which, was generally from nine in the morning until late in the evening. Louis finds the PDC terribly exhausting, what with all the treats he is given and the wide open spaces to run. Now I preview the new collections in the Atelier before the events. But it was the most exciting time for me. And it’s that time of year again-I may just hit up a party or two…

One Response to “West Week is coming – Part two”

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