Say hello to NYC's Fifth Avenue's most wanted window stylist. If you know the brand D.L. & Co. (think beautiful, very decadently boxed candles) then you will already by acquainted with the work of founder Douglas Little. What you may not know, however, is that the man is also a master of visual communication and storytelling. When Bette Midler throws her annual Halloween bash each year, it’s Douglas Little that gets the call to decorate. From styling the midnight supper, a tradition born by Caroline Astor to evoke the height and glamour of the Guilded Age in New York, to creating window displays for the likes of Van Cleef & Arpels to Barney’s New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Jim Thompson. His artistic creations and holiday displays know how to wow a crowd. Specializing in the world of luxury, exclusively for The Chosen Club, he shares his top 10 secrets in how to create an incredible holiday display.
tell a story
I start all of my design projects with a story. The "story" will inform every design decision you need to make and will create a harmony between the various elements. The hardest part is deciding what your story is going to be. Be true to yourself and what you love but push the envelope and try something new and different.
PLAY WITH SCALE
Working with objects that are out of scale can add much needed drama to your decor situation. It can be as simple as adding oversized bows to your Christmas tree or finding some fantastic prop or antique and adding it into the mix. In my New York apartment, my tree "story-line" has been bird nest. Its such a fun and whimsical story line to play with as you can bring in all of the things a bird might "feather" its nest with- string, metallic threads, eggs, paper, wood, twigs, grass etc. I love adding an element of surprise, like taxidermy peacocks.
live a little
I am a huge advocate of working with live and natural materials. It adds a layer of beauty that is unparalleled. It also adds the wonderful aroma of the natural materials which adds to the show-stopping effect. Don't feel like you have to stick to the traditional evergreens- explore new materials such as succulents or moss. You can achieve the same traditional forest green color working with unexpected materials with new surprising textures and shapes.
re-purpose, reuse, recycle
You do not need to spend a fortune on fancy materials to create something show-stopping. Working with humble, recycled or re-used materials can add a major "wow" factor. I once strung hundreds of regular old, clear, drinking straws together to make a garland that was textural and had an "icy" look. Try working with coffee filters, paper plates or coat hangers for an element of surprise and whimsy.
Never underestimate the power of COLOR. Red and green is a fantastic "go-to" for the holidays however, if you want to shake it up and try something bold and show-stopping try working with a color palette that is unexpected. This year I was commissioned to create a candy colored holiday tree for client that was spectacular and completely unexpected. I worked with colors inspired by hard candies and placed them on a white tree. try working with an all red theme, black and white or all shades of green.
Don't forget to look up. Adding decoration that your guests walk under gives your concept a magical and three-dimensional effect. It does not need to be elaborate, it can be as simple as yarn or ribbon that is thoughtfully draped. One of my favorite examples of this idea was a party that I worked on for the 111th birthday of Bergdorf Goodman. Enormous clouds were created that hung above the guests in the ballroom creating a surreal and fantastic effect.
Take the floor consideration. What is the color and texture of the floor in your decor area? This is a great opportunity to bring in something fun and whimsical- could you use live grass, Persian carpets, hay or anything else.
The element of surprise is possibly the most important when creating a show-stopping concept. Look for ideas that are "out of the box" and create a whimsical effect.
find your light
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF GOOD LIGHTING! This should be applied to all things in life. Take your lighting into heavy consideration, your lighting can make or break your decor. I love using all white lights on my tree. I must use 10,000 small white lights on my four-foot tree. What makes it special is I use a dimmer control. When incandescent lights (not LED) are dimmed they glow the most fantastic, warm, amber, white color.
SHIMMER, SHINE AND SPARKLE
Shimmer, shine and sparkle are a vital aspect to spectacular holiday decor however, consider the materials and look for new finishes. Perhaps working with vintage mirror, or mica or mylar for a new and unexpected finish.