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Nothing says summer like a white dress.  Images of ladies in billowing muslin, or beautiful starlets in sleek body conscious pieces come to mind.  White is an instant glamorizer- a highlighter for beauty. Greek goddesses, debutantes and brides all choose to wear white to dazzle their audience.  White is classic, pure, bright and cooling and we can’t wait to wear it when the warm weather arrives.

What says “Hamptons” more than a white party?   This year’s Holiday House sponsored by HC&G to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® will be held in the Hamptons for the first time.  Its opening night gala invites all to wear festive white.  Gorgeous design, fundraising for breast cancer research, and guests all dressed in white will make for a party to remember.

Images from Pinterest, Club Monaco via Refinery29, Keep It ChicJ.Crew Collection, Le Catch, Lilly Pulitzer, Le Catch and Tory Burch

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“…the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”  L.M. Montgomery, Anne Of Avonlea

This winter has been long, and apparently there is more snow in store.  While we were all at home, nursing colds and chatting online, we discussed with Lynn Byrne of Décor Arts Now how our colds provided us with the perfect cover to stay home.  Because in actuality, we are all of us homebodies.

While we love attending design events, nothing beckons more sweetly than the simple pleasures of a loving home.  Home with comfort foods on familiar china, eaten on a well worn sofa, watching an old movie.  Later, evening promises soothing music with new books and magazines to read in that perfect chair that molds to our body, snuggled up in a throw, next to the fire. When drowsiness beckons, we can simply close our eyes and nod off, or pad up to a serene bedroom to sink into a sumptuous bed. And although a restful day spent at home surely fortifies us to meet life’s challenges, we never tire of waking up and doing the same, all over again.

Images from flickr, homelife.com.au, Unknown, Smitten Kitchen, The Lovelee Girl, Les Design Nerdes, Decor Arts Now,  food52.com, Decor Arts Now on Instagram, Joe Nye in House Beautiful, Young Huh Interiors in House Beautiful and Out Came The Sun.

*Heartfelt thanks to our friend, fellow blogger and parmesan heart chef, Lynn Byrne, for her collaboration on this post.

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We Nerdes truly believe that our surroundings affect our health and wellbeing. When one mentions the word “hospital” or “waiting room,” immediately, many scary images come to mind. Facing illness of any kind is terrible, but when your own child is very sick, there is no greater pain in the world.  What adds stress to caring for a sick child is being in the dispiriting rooms of healthcare institutions that are devoid of any physical or spiritual comfort for those who must occupy them.

Young knows from experience that nothing is more soul crushing than receiving bad news about your child and then trying to care for him and the rest of your family in an institutional medical environment; trying to battle pain, grief and anxiety while having none of the usual tools to care for and comfort a child.  What does any child cry out in a hospital?  I WANT TO GO HOME.  Home is not only safe and clean but comforting, supportive and ultimately healing.

Ronald McDonald House of Long Island provides the comforts of home away from home for families with sick children who need housing near the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. RMH LI is a haven. It provides housing, food, rooms for children to play, places for parents to get a break– all with love, cheer and care from its small paid staff and hundreds of volunteers.

Founding President, Lyn Jurik, asked a favor of Anthony Baratta to refresh the interiors of RMH LI that hadn’t been re-done since the 1980s.  Together with Kravet and C&G Magazines, Baratta came back to her with something even better — Project Design. Designers are always doing show houses.  But, why merely do a show house that will get dismantled thought Baratta.  Project Design has gathered the talents of many to permanently renovate the bedrooms, bathrooms, and all the common spaces of RMH LI — good design for those most in need.

Many say that healing should be examined much more holistically.  It isn’t just medicine that heals us.  Love, chicken soup, a soothing atmosphere — these have been proven to heal though we can’t scientifically explain why.  RMH-LI understands that it’s not only medical treatment that will help sick children, but supporting their families as well.  When an environment is attractive and welcoming, it comforts and reduces the anxiety level of people who are suffering.  Through Project Design, designers bring order, creativity and thoughtfulness to the rooms. Being in these rooms will convey the feeling of being cared for and of hope.

Young is so honored to be one of the designers for this project.  She selected a room with a willow tree outside its window that is otherwise rather low-ceilinged, dull and dreary.  Please wish her luck as she strives to transform this room into a place of beauty and comfort.  She hopes the occupants will feel her support, look out onto the willow tree and envision a better time.

Images from here.

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Black and white stripes, chevrons and whimsical patterns were among our favorite spring runway looks to shoo away the winter blues.  60s mod and classic ladylike styles never looked fresher.  The pairing of black and white has been consistently used in interiors because the pairing provides classical architectural structure or striking definition to a room.  Absence of color allows black and white to be mood neutral- an excellent canvas to other colors.  On the other hand, being the most extreme in contrasts, a black and white palate in the hands of modernists is dynamic, psychedelic and anything but neutral. Have rooms inspired the clothes?

Images from: Unknown / Kelly Wearstler for Groundworks  / Mark D. Sikes / Fornasetti Plates / Schumacher / Gio Ponti / Haus Interior / Unknown / Charlotte Olympia / Michael Kors / Chloe / Zaha Hadid / Bass / Nina Griscom / Marni / Gunkelmans Interior Design / Valentino / Unknown / Nicholas Kirkwood / Bunny Williams Home
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As you know, Nerdes obsess over certain things and may have a bit of trouble putting them down.  Right now, we’re obsessed with the ideas expressed by Prada in the MET Costume Institute exhibit  Schiaparelli and Prada:  Impossible Conversations, so we are back again discussing Miuccia’s work in a second post.  Whether or not you enjoyed the conceit of the exhibit (we were “Meh”), we most certainly enjoyed the articulation of Prada’s ideas. Which brings us to say, Miu Miu is control freak and we like it.

Harold Koda and co-curator Andrew Bolton set up the exhibit to focus on the subversion of the ideals of beauty – with sections such as “Ugly Chic” and “Hard Chic”.  While Schiaparelli’s designs fit into these categories, we found Prada’s to be the real stars. In “Ugly Chic” we found Prada’s boxy cuts and 1950’s inspired patterns, while “Hard Chic” featured Prada’s mid-1990s minimalist collections of darkly colored military-inspired clothing with zippers and button detailing (that we wished we could still buy today). Prada told Bolton, “In fact, most of my work is concerned with destroying—or at least deconstructing—conventional ideas of beauty, of the generic appeal of the beautiful, glamorous, bourgeois woman. Fashion fosters clichés of beauty, but I want to tear them apart.”

Prada expresses this sentiment further in her strong dislike of eveningwear. She says, “Eveningwear is defined by the notion of a beautiful woman wearing a beautiful dress, and that combination doesn’t interest me. The idea of dressing for evening seems very old-fashioned. I’m always trying to break the conventions of eveningwear, like using heavy wool for an evening dress.” Prada’s modern woman does not need a gown and high heels to be beautiful. She should feel beautiful at all times of the day. Her clothing should not overwhelm her personality, but bring it out by being easy to wear and comfortable.

We were particularly blown away by “Waist up/ Waist down.”  We loved the contrast of  pairing librarian blouses and armor like jackets with playful and sexy skirts and pants.  “I try to make women feel more powerful without losing their femininity.” says Prada.  While the fashion formula is typically to enhance and expose a woman’s upper body with pants and skirts remaining in supporting roles, Prada’s upper bodies are structured and suggest cerebral focus.  Placing the design daring on the skirt or pants is a slyly creative way to say I am not afraid to be sexy, however, I am in complete control.

As we left the museum and walked down Madison and into the park, we talked about our fall fashion wants, mainly that perfect pair of stacked heel shoes, that is comfortable enough for us to run around town in but also stylish enough to wear to an after-work party.  We need to be serious at work but also want to have fun at night – and it hit us, Prada is our girl.

Quotes and images from SCHIAPARELLI & PRADA: IMPOSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS 
by Andrew Bolton and Harold Koda, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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