Last week during Design Chicago at the Merchandise Mart, I went to hear my favorite design personality—the in-demand interior designer du jour, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, speak. Some may recognize him from the hit Bravo TV show Million Dollar Decorators (he jets around the world designing homes and retail stores for celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne, Tamara Mellon of Jimmy Choo, and Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild). Others may know him as the high-end luxury decorator expanding into everything from a furniture line to home accessories, and now a collaboration with Schumacher on a fabric collection.
Bullard, along with Schumacher senior vice president Susan North, addressed a standing-room-only crowd to discuss his new licensed fabric collection. Sporting perfectly coiffed hair and a casually laid ascot, Bullard exuded British wit and charm as he spoke of his early beginnings growing up in London and his paying his way into the clubs by scouring antique markets in South London for antique treasures to resell. He fell into interior design when he moved to L.A. with dreams of becoming an actor. The acting part didn’t work out, but he became friends with a producer who loved his eclectically decorated apartment so much, he asked Bullard to decorate his own home.
I had a chance to view the new collection, which includes patterns such as chevron, ikat, paisley, and embroidery on fabrics of silk, velvet, and linen, at the Schumacher showroom after the presentation. Inspired by Bullard’s world travels, the colors are bold—blues, magentas, oranges, and greens. Bullard signed copies of his new design book, Live, Love & Decorate, and his sweet, sincere personality and warm smile won over the crowd. Bullard greeted every guest with a handshake and asked questions about them. With a copy of his book in hand, I approached his table. The only part of the conversation I recall after complimenting his glittering skull ring was him saying, “Thank you. Everyone needs a little sparkle. My my, look at you. I love the animal print at 11 a.m.” I had a moment with Martyn!