Kerri Rosenthal is the ultimate artist. Her career began in fashion, but she eventually settled quite prominently into the world of interior design. But, her focus isn’t just on interiors: she’s a painter, photographer, and product designer. Her love of color and pattern shine bright in her art, and her now iconic Drippy Hearts series has been seen in many a home tour. One of the things we love most about Kerri is that she’s always evolving: in Fall 2016 she launched XOKR, a signature collection of fabrics and home accessories all inspired by her art. And now, she’s brought it all to a brick & mortar with her first gallery and design studio in Westport. Kerri tells more:
Tell us about the shop! Where is it located, and what do you sell?
We are located in the heart of downtown Westport, CT (in Sconset Square). The space is essentially my flagship art gallery and interior design studio in the form of a concept shop that that sells all the things that inspire me at any given moment. The art and interiors are merchandised with a great mix of fashion and accessories that I love. The store also exclusively carries XOKR, our signature line of fabrics, wallpaper, accessories and bespoke furniture, all inspired by my art. We mix this with a little Clare V, Linqua Franca cashmeres and Kule Stripes, vintage design books and some great accessories. We also collaborate with artists to create exclusive merchandise for the store that fits into our seasonal concept story.
You began in fashion, but then moved to art full time. What prompted the change?
I think when you are creative, that creativity can morph in many different directions. I started out working for Henry Lehr who is the master of retail curation, I then went on to work for Oilily for 10 years and was totally inspired by their bold use of colors in their textiles and by the amazing design aesthetic of Holland. I left my career in fashion to raise my family but then one day something inspired me to pick up a paint brush and start to paint.
What inspires your work?
Color inspires my work, travel, music and incredible interiors.
We love the new textiles. What was it like building the collection?
Creating the collection of XOKR was very similar to the way a fashion brand builds its clothing collections. We developed 40 signature designs for the collection and broke the collection down into 5 different seasons (Fall, Holiday, Winter, Spring and Summer) what would be creatively merchandised in the store and supported with my art. Each collection become its own “concept”. All of the fabrics were based on paintings and it felt like a very natural process to put groupings together. The Holiday Collection is based on my black and white paintings- with small pops of sunshine yellow and washed mauve. It’s our version of a neutral right now.
Do you have a favorite piece?
That would be really hard to choose- everything I paint, design, create, even purchase for the shop are things I am madly in love with. I could never choose one, but I am going kind of crazy for my Tino chair which is a design based on a vintage chair that we covered in our signature “Drop Cloth” Fabric. I also love our floor blocks and poufs- in any one of our fabrics- they are an easy way to add color and instant fun to a room.
What has been your favorite part about bringing your collection to a brick and mortar?
My work has always been in galleries in the area, but never fully merchandised with my vision which makes having my own space so inspiring. I paint in groupings and now I can show my work the way I have always envisioned it, which I think tells a story and helps the collector connect to the art in a different way. It’s also really exciting that I can now create a world around the art- with furnishings and beautiful and special lifestyle pieces- whether it’s a cashmere sweater, a gorgeous stack of vintage art books or a handmade ceramic tray – we now have curated an environment that truly tells a story. The best part is that when clients walk in they feel at home and want us to recreate this for them which is why we now have our Design Studio (SPACE by Kerri Rosenthal) located right in the shop.