While it’s no secret that fashion and home design trends often intersect, few interior designers hold this truth as closely as Susan Maxwell. his devoted follower of fashion has built much of her six-year-old business-called Suz Maxwell: Life-Style-Space (312-409-8565; suzmaxwell.com)-on translating her high-society clients’ tastes to their living rooms; she hits the runway shows each season to stay on top of what the fashion houses are doing that might inspire her own houses. Here’s what three fall shows in New York’s Bryant Park had her thinking about for spring decorating projects in Chicago.
Urban Safari Behnaz Sarafpour
What Maxwell Saw: Lots of organic fabrics and materials, large botanical prints, earthy colors, and natural stones for embellishments. "And many of the models wore these great straw hats," says Maxwell. What She’ll Bring Home: "Those straw hats had me thinking of rattan chairs (1) from Baker’s Maguire collection [at Baker Chicago, 825 W. Chicago Ave., 312-733-0353] and big bamboo bowls (2) from Bambu [at the Museum of Contemporary Art store, 220 E. Chicago Ave., 312-397-4000]," she says. For funky affordable art, Maxwell likes taking photos of fabrics, abstracting them by blowing them up really big, and then framing them. "A fern pattern would work well for this safari look," she says. For a less obvious interpretation, Maxwell recommends Kyle Bunting’s raw-feeling hair-on-hide rugs (3) (at Manifesto, 755 N. Wells St., 312-664-0733).
Muted Glamour Doo.Ri
What Maxwell Saw: A muted color palette-soft shades of gray, lavender, blackberry, and sage. A mix of silky and sheer fabrics, classic draping, and layering. Balloon hems and crystal embellishments. Soft, curvy forms. What She’ll Bring Home: "I would layer a bed or drapes in different tones of the same color and let the bed skirt or drapes balloon at the bottom," says Maxwell. "I would also use crystals for trim on pillows or the edges of placemats-but nothing dangly-almost like piping, for a modern look." Shown here, Baker’s graceful Abigail ottoman (1) (by special order through the Baker store) and silk taffeta curtains (2), lined and interlined to provide body, from the Curtain Exchange of Naperville at Design Pointe (1320 N. Rte. 59, Naperville, 630-718-9750).
Color Blocks Cynthia Steffe
What Maxwell Saw: Large geometric prints in A-line and pencil silhouettes, with bold bursts of color over white, gray, and black. "It was sort of a modern take on the 1960s," she says. What She’ll Bring Home: Graphic, drum-shaped fabric lampshades (1) from Alluminare.com (shown here, the Lounge Club pattern); bright-colored modular seating, such as Roche Bobois’s foam-and-fiber Mah Jong collection (2) (Roche Bobois, 222 W. Hubbard St., 312-644-9080); and the super-geometrical Opus Shelving System (3) (at Design Within Reach, 1574 N. Kingsbury St., 312-482-8661; see dwr.com for other locations).
Photography: (Steffe and Sarafpour Models), Dan Lecca, (Doo-RI Model) Luis Banuelos Arechiga, (curtain) Curtain Exchange