I adore fashion, and I pull a lot of my inspiration from every kind of fashion known to man, but even more so, I love style. We are responsible for our own style, and if you prefer to be more of a paint-by-numbers type of a person, then so be it. You can flip through any magazine and wear exactly what the models wear piece for piece, but where do you as a person go if you do that?
Style comes from an emotional response to something that moves you so much that you want to be part of that feeling as much as possible. You want to surround yourself with it, watch it, and wear it. In terms of this episode, Frank’s style was an awesome surprise to me, and sadly Sharon’s was not.
Though Sharon often commented on how she hoped to streamline and simplify her cooking for Rocco and his guests, I don’t feel she was successful in doing so for the ambiance of her dining room. Just the mention of using a fashion look, book, or collage on the walls of Rocco’s informal dining room made me worry that the room would be too fussy. When Sharon first saw the initial reveal of her room, she agreed, so I scaled back the room before the guests arrived. I was also having a problem with the use of red in this room. Usually in smaller spaces, you want to use more neutral colors in order to make the room feel more spacious, rather than too saturated or intimate. The word “bordello” flew around a bit when the guests walked in and the use of red tones sadly confirms that ambiance, which isn’t always bad, but for Sharon’s fashion forward concept, I would have used more neutral tones throughout. In my book, Party like a Rock Star, I caution about the use of too much red for an event!
Where was Sharon’s style? Could we have found it in the fact that she is a mom, or that she went from being a nine to fiver to a full time owner of her own catering company, or perhaps in the fact that she successfully impressed Rocco with a controversial espresso-crusted signature dish? I would have loved to continue with touches of espresso throughout her dining room design. I was dying to drape the room in all white like Sharon suggested, but instead of the red accents and the more literal props such as fashion mannequins and design sketches, I would have loved to use neutral monochromatic tones and textures working within the deep espresso to natural jute shades.
Gradients of whites are gorgeous too. People don’t realize that there a million different colors of white that can layer on top of each other harmoniously, or using a different texture like even a faux fur or a mixed pattern in neutral tones can create gorgeous dimension in a small space.
As I watched the episode something that caught my attention about Sharon was that she served mint s’mores for dessert instead of the regular s’mores without mint. I wish she had taken this type of thinking and variety into her room décor -- the evening might have been more exciting for Rocco and his guests.
In this case, less would have definitely been more in terms of Sharon’s design ideas.
When I first met Frank, he was, as Sharon says, “a douche.” The guy was obviously just over it and completely uninspired by the fashion concept, so I sat with him for a bit and just chilled out, and let him marinate in Rocco’s formal dining room for a bit. Then I saw a couple of pretty dimples come out on his face, and his eyes brighten and he said “I got it!” He told me his wife is his inspiration for almost everything in his life, so why not use this inspiring element to create his dining room environment. I love this!! To me, this is what style is all about and where fashion is born. Frank took something he loves, and wanted to turn into something he could not only share with Rocco and his guests but with the world.
I immediately got to work on Frank’s room. I really didn’t need much from him after he gave his wife’s initial look: lots of '40s Hollywood glamour accents, corsets (HOT!!), BLING! (also so hot!!) And romance. Frank, you had me at the “shiny silver pretty things….”
I brought in a fab, shiny-mirrored vanity table and dressed with awesome '40s era vanity props, pearls, hair brushes, rhinestone hair clips, and diamonds!!
I placed a faux fur run under the large dining table and graced the table with mirrored square vases filled with Black Beauty roses, sterling silver roses, and mini black Calla lilies and on the table were DIAMONDS! Big ones!! I sewed a gorgeous patterned velvet silver and ivory table runner that was a plush intersection for the dining table.
I used a mirrored sideboard to place small glamour photos and the ultimate glam surprise to the room was the gorgeous collection of antique corsets that the Rocco’s guests ended up fighting for. Frank also liked the idea of fashion sketches, but instead of making them look jumbled and like a collage, I focused on high-style simple line drawings in order to streamline the idea.
By the time I was done with Frank's room I most definitely wanted to take a much-needed nap on that gorgeous day bed I found, complete with lush pillows and a greyhound guard dog statue.
For Frank's lighting, I wanted the focus to stay shiny and pretty so I used light lavender tones to accentuate the gorgeous baubles that were used throughout the dining experience. I used a faux silver crocodile charger plate and really lush glassware and silverware to complete the glamour factor.
I love the fact that this room was sooo feminine, even though Frank was Mr. Tattoo guy. What a softie….
FYI I am a huge fan of Nicole Miller, and to express my own style on my wedding day I wore a black and gun metal Nicole Miller dress. Check it out. This is what fashion and style is all about and allows us to celebrate the differences in people.
author of: Party Like A Rock Star