Jennifer Garrigues Blazes Trails

It’s easy to see why Jennifer Garrigues had a distinguished career in modeling. But rather than continuing to drape herself in fabrics, she decided to use them to decorate homes. Here, she tells Lily Hoagland the how and why:

QUEST: When did you decide to switch from modelling to interior design?
JENNIFER GARRIGUES: I have always loved architecture and interior design so it was a natural transition for me. By the time I had reached my late 30s, I decided to start a new career. I still hadn’t given up modelling, so I took classes at the New York School of Design to learn the rudiments of design and business. Loving fabrics, as I do, I did not want to lose the connection and creativity of the design world.

Q: Any fashion designers who influenced you as an interior designer?
JG: Yes! James Galanos, Jean Muir, and of course Christian Dior were very much a part of my modelling career. Jimmy was a master in mixing fabrics. He created exquisite designs mixing tweed, chiffon, silk, and leather. Jean Muir was a master seamstress as well as a phenomenal designer. She understood the construction of how clothes were made. Her perfection in production was something to be admired. Mark Bohan of Christian Dior was another extraordinary talent. His clothes were glamorous and wearable. He, too, mixed many textures, and his attention to detail was beyond words. All of these talents taught me about aesthetics and how they are important for creating beautiful and functional interiors, with a dash of spice!

Q: Do you see a rapport in trends on the runway and trends for the home?
JG: Always! Most of the fashion designers I worked for sai d that “inspiration comes from the street.” How right they were. In the 1970s, Yves St. Laurent created his sophisticated gypsy look by watching the trends on the streets and his visit to Romania. This was translated into very colorful fabrics flooding the fabric houses. Every interior had to have a special tented room with colorful and exotic fabrics. Annabel’s club in London was a prime example of this. When Calvin Klein became famous for his streamlined clothes in neutral tones. Guess what? We all went to sleeker, simpler and more elegant rooms.

Q: Can you tell us about any design projects that you are currently working on that are particularly interesting and exciting to you?
JG: All of my interiors are exciting and fun. I have wonderful clients but now I am exceptionally excited about a very contemporary apartment in the West Village. Also, two projects on Long Island, New York, and a beautiful house looking at the ocean in Florida.