Sunday, 23 March 2008

An Evening with Barbara Barry

The last entry that you probably read in the blog was about Coco Chanel, a true design icon. What Coco Chanel was in the fashion world last century, Barbara Barry is today in the interior design world. Her trade mark can be found in her refined residential interiors and upscale restaurants around the world or in her tasteful line of products. Furniture for Baker, McGuire, Bloomingdales and Henderon, Fabrics for Kravet and HBF, area rugs for Blueridge and Tufenkian Carpets, china for Wedgewood, tiles for Ann Sack, bath products for Kalista, and her latest venture: home fragrances and candles.

Last Thursday I was invited to a private dinner with Barbara Barry at the Five Sails restaurant in the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver. Barbara Barry was invited to participate in the IDSWest show as speaker and she kindly hosted a reception to say thank you to a small group of designers for supporting her products. This was of course, a memorable invitation for me. I have always been a FAN of Barbara Barry. I still remember when I used one of her chairs from her Baker line 5 years ago in one of my first projects at Shoal Point. I was really excited when my client gave me the go ahead and I was able to include one of her iconic chairs; the oval X back Chair.

Shoal Point Suite with Barbara Barry's oval X chair

That was definitely my starting point in the world of Barbara Barry. Anyhow you probably want to know the whole experience, after reading the title of this entry as “An evening with Barbara Barry.” The first impression is always the one that lasts. When I arrived to the dinner location I realized that I had forgotten my invitation. Oh! Well life is organic sometimes. But there she was – I walked towards her, and before I had the opportunity to introduce myself she said – "You must be Ivan Meade, pleasure to meet you". For an event like this I could not arrive empty handed so I prepared a special package with a very special piece from my own object d’art collection “The Fossil Fibonacci”. A customized white lunch box with the logo of the line was the perfect presentation and my friend and stylist Monika Kurc sewed the perfect bag using Barbara’s own Shimmering fabric by Kravet.

A thank you note complimented the package where I gave her the title “Doña” a Spanish honorific title, usually used as a mark of high esteem for a distinguished person and as a respectful title for influential people. She was excited; she read the card and she looked me into the eyes and she said in Spanish – Gracias oh - wow - Doña Barbara – nobody has ever called me that. She opened the package and there it was: a small token of my appreciation to one of today’s design icons.

Fossil Fibonacci - Ivan Meade Object d'Art Line

She took the time to chat with me and I had the opportunity to tell her about Victoria, a place that she visited 20 years ago, about México, about our backgrounds, her love for Spanish culture, about family and other topics. After having the opportunity to speak with her for several minutes we went to have dinner.

She herself reviewed all the details of the dinner and gave us a small private presentation about how nature and the media of watercolours have inspired her palette throughout her creations. For the rest of the night I had the opportunity to mingle with some of the most influential designers from Vancouver Island and Vancouver. At the end of the gala she came to say good bye and said thank you once again for her present.

Just one final note about the evening. This is for some of my fellow colleagues that asked me to note Barbara Barry`s attire – a toned down navy blue skirt and turtle neck sweater with 3 rows of pearls. She wore a fragrance that resonated with fresh jasmine. That for me summed up Barbara Barry - simple yet understated elegance.

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Anonymous said...

Wow Ivan, you are such a gentleman!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it was a very elegant evening and a great opportunity. An event you will remember for a lifetime!

Lisa Porter said...

A couple of weeks ago I immersed myself in the world of Ms. Barry, in order to write a post about her incredible style.
Now I appreciate her even more as a warm and friendly woman & hostess after reading about your wonderful evening with her. Thank you so much.
xo Lisa