Sara Eliason on the Visual Conversation of Color

Friends — Today on the blog I am delighted to feature color guru and interior designer Sara Eliason. Sara’s a color expert who has delivered a Tedx Talk about creating a better relationship with our environments.cropped headshot 2

In the Q&A below, she speaks of color as a visual conversation we are constantly engaged in, whether we know it or not. Her idea of elevating the home to altar status and adorning it as a show of love, gratitude and connection to the spirit really resonated with me. And don’t miss her thoughts on determining your signature color palette. It is sure to have you thinking hard about the hues to which you are naturally drawn.

What follows is a super interesting, in-depth dialog. As a fashion designer who also works with color, I find Sara’s message fascinating. This is a read so worthy of your time and attention, as I know you will enjoy Sara’s insightful take on color and environment.
XOXO, Elaine

ET: What is your background and how did the interest in color and design emerge?

SE: My interest in color and design emerged in early childhood, possibly as far back as kindergarten. I have memories in early childhood of conversations around color – for instance I remember an argument that my mother and uncle had when I was about 5 or 6. My uncle was much younger that my mom and so was still a teenager at the time. He got ready to leave my grandmother’s house in a pair of red athletic shorts and a purple T shirt. My mom told him he couldn’t wear that because purple and red didn’t go together. This really struck a nerve for me, and I have honestly spent way too much of this lifetime considering if and how red and purple work together. I’m pretty sure I’ve worked that one out!

As a child I was obsessed with my surroundings and the little details that went into them. Years at school were spent considering the wall colors on the cinder blocks and thoughtfully considering what about them worked, and how they could be improved. I noticed spaces and the materials that made them and how lines and colors interacted, and by the latter half of grade school I was lending a hand at decorating for my mother’s friends when I was meant to be employed as a mother’s helper for the little ones. I had subscriptions to magazines like Victoria and spent my savings on decorating schemes for my bedroom.

By the time I got to high school, I knew my strength and interest was in the arts, but I wasn’t sure how to go about making that a living or a life. I was also torn between the love of art, design, fashion and hands-on work. I had dabbled in all of them and it was hard to know which one I loved most. Twenty years later, I’ve cultivated all of them really, and incorporate all of them into my work. I cannot live without nurturing all of those pursuits.

The initial foray into a career was not so much a matter of decision as a stroke of luck. In my early twenties, I had already spent several years working in banks and financial institutions and it was clear that spending days in a cubicle – no matter how well paid the position or how wonderful the colleagues, was not going to get me out of bed every morning. About two weeks after my first son was born, I needed a little escape from the house and I stumbled into a decorative painting store. They offered classes and sold materials and understood a great deal about finishes and materials from Europe and I was smitten. I took every class that  I could, and painted everything I could get my hands on, and then began teaching classes and taking the odd decorative painting job and before long I had a little business going. Read More

Elaine Talks Inspiration Behind the Fall 2016 Collection, Brainy Chic & Awakening To Your Senses


Hey guys-Blog Editor Alyce Eyster here today! Inquiring minds want to know all the exciting details about the Fall 2016 collection, so I sat down with E to get the scoop…

AE: What was the inspiration behind the Fall 2016 collection?

ET: For inspiration this season we turned to nature and looked closely at what surrounds us. The stillness nature provides can be a healing, even exhilarating experience. It brings to mind a favorite quote by Andy Goldsworthy, “We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we have lost our connection to ourselves.” (And for a closer look at how my design team works, check out this great post.)

Margo and CamAE: Tell me about some of the features of the collection and how they appeal to the senses.

ET: This collection was especially designed to appeal to the senses of touch and sight. It is full of interesting texture, prints and rich colors. In apparel you will find custom prints invoking nature like a feminine leopard print that we chose to print on a soft, supple Georgette fabric. Then we play with the modern and current in a digitally simulated Python print in silk.

With handbags and shoes, there’s a fun combination of various textures — haircalf, suede, python, and soft snake skin embossed solid leathers — that summon depth and interest.  And the 70s color palette offers warm hues of burgundy, mustard, rich cognac and deep blues.

From the sound of heels clicking against a wood or stone floor to the smell of our leathers, I like to think our collections appeal to all senses except taste. (I haven’t figured that one out yet, but the closest I get is a sip of wine while you shop in any of our boutiques! ;-))

Fall3AE: What’s the most classic piece? The trendiest?

ET: Classic-leaning gals will go gaga over the Fiona bag. It’s retro chic but modernized with suede trim and a gorgeous Python print. For something a little trendier, check out Cam, a golden ocre, haircalf saddle bag; Margo, a new signature solid suede gogo boot; and Sadie, our new Moto-inspired bootie.

AE: If you could dress a celebrity in this collection who would it be?

ET: I would love to dress Emma Watson. She’s got that brainy-chic, academic look that pairs perfectly with the collection.

AE: If this collection was a place, what would it be?

ET: With its lush, green rain forest that is home to everything from pythons and jaguars to lovely butterflies and bright poison dart frogs, definitely the Amazon jungle.

And if you missed it, here’s the collection in a video.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, I’d be thrilled if you’d share it. And don’t forget to follow and subscribe to Join the Collective!