If proof were needed that beauty is to be found in some of the most far flung corners of the world, then Madeline Weinrib’s designs could be used as ample back up for the claim. As the woman who pretty much introduced modern day Manhattan to the joy that is ikat, Weinrib is known for her ethnic inspired fabrics, carpets and furnishings and generally considered the go to person for a bit of global chic when it comes to decorating one’s home. Avid fans of her strikingly bright and often unexpected color combinations, we love her re-imagined traditional patterns that make for surprisingly modern choices and have long been admirers of her wonderfully upbeat work.
That Weinrib was going to be a designer – and one prone to finding inspiration from exotic climbs – did not come as a surprise. Her Grandfather founded the Aladdin’s cave that is the furniture emporium ABC Carpet and Home and Weinrib grew up surrounded by some of the world’s most wonderful things. Initially, she used her interest in design to fuel her skills as a painter before turning her hand to decorative arts and creating her first collection of rugs for the store in 1997. From there, she went on to launch her own design business, quickly making a name for herself as the woman who put the hip into hippie chic for today’s interior design space as she went.
Aside from being beautiful, what we really appreciate about Weinrib’s work is its artistry and adherence to traditional techniques and craft. She has worked with artisans in Nepal, India and Morocco, found inspiration everywhere from Pakistan to Africa, trained with specialists in Venzuela and worked with craftsmen in Tibet, all as part of a quest to produce pieces that are as authentically made as they are new and as thought out as they are refreshing. Collaborating regularly with the Neue Gallery and designers including Soledad Twombly and Manolo Blahnik, her approach to design is that of an artist. She reimagines the beauty of centuries past for today, preserving techniques and traditions as she goes and giving new life to some of the world’s most precious crafts. Plus, she is an avid wearer of the kaftan, seen often out and about clad in her own ikat versions paired with shades and a slash of red lipstick. For these and many other reasons we love what she does. Here, she reveals the secrets to her fabulous sense of style.
What’s in your make-up bag?
Concealer by Cle De Peu, Scarlet Red Lipstick by Lipstick Queen and Stila Intense Black liquid eyeliner
Do you have a beauty secret?
I have a facial once a month and use products by Biologique Recherche. I am also addicted to my own argan oil that I use for my hair and body.
What would be your desert island essentials?
A big hat, sunblock, sunglasses, and lots of pencils and paper to draw with.
What do you wear on a fat day?
I wear a kaftan, but I also wear them on skinny days too.
How would your female friends describe your style?
I decided to ask a few of my friends this very question. When they realized I was serious, I received two answers: Boho Chic and Classic with a twist
What’s the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
My Sugarloaf Sapphire ring made by Munnu Gem Palace. It was a gift from my boyfriend and it’s my greatest treasure.
Is there anything in your wardrobe you should get rid of but can’t?
Old jeans, I have tons of them.
What do you never leave home without?
Cellphone, lipstick and, during the day, sunglasses.
Hot date night with your husband/boyfriend/lover, what do you wear?
Always a little Black dress with red lipstick.
When home alone, what do you wear?
What do you wear to bed?
You’re the fashion police for a day, what do you ban?
Have you ever worn anything you now regret?
Only in photoshoots
How high is too high a heel?
A heel is too high if you can’t walk with ease.
How old is too old for jeans?
No such thing!
If you could live in any other time for its fashion, when would you choose?
Greco Roman. I adore the ease and comfort of the dresses, and how the fabric drapes.
What is your most recent purchase?
I bought some beautiful Kaftans in Morocco
Can you judge a book by its cover?
No. Sometimes I think I can but I am usually wrong.
What are your bad habits?
Enjoying my food a little too much
What’s your greatest extravagance?
What are your guilty pleasures?
I don’t feel guilty about my pleasures.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
To pay attention to my own intuition.
What’s your favorite smell?
Orange Blossom and truffles, but not together.
What’s your idea of a great holiday?
I love traveling for work so much, it feels like a holiday.
What are you most proud of?
What is your pure bliss?
A day to potter around the house
Who or what would you like to be reincarnated as in your next life?
What would you eat for your last supper?
Pasta with truffles. But I would like to eat it in Umbria.
If you could meet someone from history who would it be?
I would love to visit Mario Fortuny in his palazzo in Venice
Yes or no to a nip and a tuck?
I would love to, but my other half is strongly against it. So, unless we break up, I’m going to age naturally.
Do you have a favorite purse or bag?
I made a bag about eight years ago with my Suzani Fabric. I still use it all the time.
Do you have a favorite KOTUR bag?
A beautiful KOTUR clutch made out of wicker. It’s my favorite summer bag.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered for my textile collections and for putting together an original body of work.
Photo courtesy of Madeline Weinrib & taken by photographer Jason Frank Rothenberg