Fashion wunderkind Erin Fetherston’s haute fairy-tale aesthetic weaves together purity and ornamentation. Her Paris home follows the same plot: elaborate antiques and bursts of color on an otherwise spare stage.photographs by MILLA SLERTMAN text by ONDINE COHANE
Fetherston cozy up.
“This is my favorite spot in the apartment,” Fetherston says. “It’s where I come to relax and read a book or look out the window.” An antique daybed acts as the room’s anchor. Fetherston had the piece, once upholstered in red silk brocade, re-covered in a raspberry silk taffeta that looks fit for a ball gown, then layered textiles and pillows on top. The vibrant color counteracts the old-fashioned grace of the silhouette. This dialogue between playful and formal continues with the mix of period clocks, a 16th-century tiger rug and a 19th-century wall hanging that Ferjani spray-painted in neon. Large, colorful design books are piled almost haphazardly on a dainty settee. “Art books are decoration in themselves,” Fetherston says.
I love these green curtains,” Fetherston says of the room’s boldest flourish. “They have a light feeling in silk taffeta.” She also loves her custom mattress, which is lined with linen on one side, and cashmere and silk on the other, so the couple can flip it according to the season. Clearly, Fetherston’s attention to fabric detail follows her out of the atelier. Framed art sits on the floor, and fashion illustrations line the white walls. “We are not afraid to layer things and put them in unexpected places. Some of our best art is in the bathroom,” she says. The flowers in the room (and all over the apartment) were chosen by the couple’s close friend Jeff Leatham, the Four Seasons Hotel George V’s famous floral designer. “We’ve learned a lot from him,” Fetherston says. “His attitude is, sometimes less equals more—if you position just one orchid in a special way, it has major design impact.”
An antique bench serves as pedestal for a vase packed
with hot-pink peonies.
A 15th-century hand-carved chair from a French monastery holds one of Fetherston’s favorite fashion-history books.
“An entryway provides you with clues to the rest of the home,” Fetherston says. Theirs hints at the different styles to come, with the big pieces placed in small spaces and vice versa (very Alice in Wonderland). The chandelier, from a Spanish castle, looms large and low, so the couple tied a bright-red ribbon on it to prevent people from hitting their heads. The warning seems more a clever design touch, in keeping with the flash-of-color theme as well as a testament to the pair’s lighthearted attitude even when they’re working with serious antiques. “Most people would just put it in a bigger room, but this is our way of saying you are coming into our house!” Fetherston exclaims.
tell us everything!
At the start of every collection, I need to retreat from the world and dwell in my imagination. From there, I am usually moved by two or three ideas that can independently, or together, begin to inform color, mood, silhouette and total concept. I work on each element separately and find they work together.
I studied detailing on little girls’ clothing and was captivated by photographs of African flamingos. I found that the sweetness of the childlike elements in combination with the wildness of the birds created a wonderful juxtaposition of energy.
Always. I regularly layer my cocktail dresses over T-shirts, with a scarf and tights and boots for day. My California upbringing taught me how to make anything casual, which helps me balance my inclination toward extravagance and glamour. And I always approach dressing with a sense of humor and ease.