2011 October 4

La Vie En Ruffian: Lunching with Louise

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Brian, Louise and Claude. Brian, Louise and Claude.
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Who are the Ruffian boys dining avec this week? Brian Wolk and Claude Morais put on their reporter hats once again...

We recently had the honor of sitting down with Louise Camuto, creative director and president of marketing at Vince Camuto at our favorite lunchtime getaway Le Caprice. There are very few women whom we ever met in New York who possess her rare collection of exquisite qualities namely her cultural recherché and her intellectual bravada. As creative director at Vince Camuto she is not only responsible for a vast array of crucial design decisions but also oversees the images, store interiors, and the marketing of this quickly growing lifestyle brand.

Brian- Was your family interested in fashion growing up?

Louise- Actually, it was first about interiors for me. I grew up in a manor house in the Swedish countryside that my parents ran as a hotel, restaurant and zoo for children.  We saw guests ranging from Swedish aristocracy to the president of Kenya; quite a diverse crowd. My mother had great style and a love of clothes. She passed away 2 years ago, but I love this picture of her (see gallery), she had been nursing that lamb around the clock for weeks.  She’s my inspiration and my hero.  She would travel to Africa and would come home with a big leopard skin and mount it on the wall. The 70’s were the time for all that. In her décor she was very eccentric. I had great respect for my parents and their dreams.  They worked very hard to make something fabulous and inspiring. They have passed that ethic onto me; I try to keep passionate and focused on creating beautiful designs, making something memorable.  Not unlike you guys.

Claude- So, this was the beginning of your interest in Interior Design?

Louise- Yes, watching my parents collect over the years, and the way they put things together is what sparked my interest in interiors. At a young age, I would move the furniture around and always had an interest in special design. Interiors shouldn’t be stagnant, they are a living thing, whether moving furniture, placing fresh flowers, or lighting a candle. 

Brian- Why did you come to America?

Louise- I wanted to live in the states, so I decided to study at NYU, that was the start. I studied interior design for several years.  I’ve found that design is design whether it is shoes, interiors, bags or clothing. The creative process is the same and that’s what I love.

Claude- When you are working and being creative, do you have a neat or messy desk?

Louise- It’s messy, but when I begin the project it needs to be neat.

Brian- In Sweden it seems as if there are two very distinct design aesthetics, the very classical, and the more stark and modern, which school do you fit into?

Louise- I loved the classical look for a long time. I love the 18th Century. I love the Swedish Gilded Era, and the nuances of grey with gold leaf. I used to think of myself as a total classicist, but then I started to discover and appreciate Swedish textiles from the 50’s. This was the start of my fascination with Mid-Century Design. I have been re-doing our home in the Hamptons for the last five years, which has allowed me to play with both of these aesthetics.

Brian- Do you collect anything? Any particular tchotchke that you love?

Louise- No, I like to remove the tchotchkes… at our offices and design studios in Greenwich, I spent a year and half on the total renovation of a 1970’s modernist glass building.There I found it important to have a unified design aesthetic.  It allows everyone to concentrate and not be distracted, like a clean canvas.

Claude- I totally agree, when we do fittings we do the same, no bright colors, and we prefer if people wear black and white. It’s the work that should shine, like a white gallery with amazing paintings.

Lunch is delivered, we all order the Chicken Milanese which is divine. John Demsey and Glenda Bailey, who were coincidentally dining at Le Caprice, come to our table and visit to say hello.

Claude- Do you like cook? What are your favorite things to make?

Louise- Once a week Vince and I have a special date night and I usually cook classics like a roasted chicken, but my specialty is in the sauce, a reduction of vegetables, which is pretty delicious!

Brian- As a creative director, you have to travel quite a bit, what are your essentials?

Louise- Its become quite a routine. I have packing down to a science. I like to pack my clothes into dry cleaning bags, it’s a great trick to avoid ironing, and I don’t fold very much.  I need to unpack as soon as I arrive and unpack as soon as I get home. It makes me feel settled. I also never leave home without a great piece of statement jewelry.  And I love collecting new pieces in my travels.  Whether it’s designer, or a one-of-a-kind vintage find, I am inspired by big, eye-catching pieces that can stand on their own as a piece of art. 

Claude- I am exactly the same about the unpacking thing!

Brian- Do you have a beauty regime?

Louise- I tend to vary my routine, but am loyal to a few products. Guerlain bronzer which always gives you an instant tan when you are feeling a bit pale and Givenchy Rouge Interdit Shine in “Voluptuous Nude” is always in my bag, when you’re in a hurry running from a meeting to dinner, it gives you just a hint of color and the perfect amount of gloss!

Claude- Do you have hobbies?

Louise- Vince and I collect furniture; it is something we’ve been doing together for many years.

Brian- Ok a small Swedish Questionnaire..

Claude- What is your favorite hotel to visit in Sweden?

Louise- One of the newest places to stay in Stockholm is Hotel Nobis. It is in the absolute heart of the city. It’s the perfect blend of old world structure (formerly a palace) and the best of modern Scandinavian design.

Brian- What’s your favorite Swedish Meal?

Louise-I know it sounds cliché, but meatballs. I also love Swedish Buns; it’s what you eat when you have coffee. They are delicious.

Claude- Ann Margaret or Greta Garbo?

Louise- Greta Garbo, she is iconic

Claude- Volvo or Saab?

Louise- Volvo every time!

Dessert arrives- Scandinavian Berries with Warm White Chocolate Sauce

Don't miss out on all the boys adventures in our Gallery and follow Ruffian on Facebook and Twitter!

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