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Introduction to the new Issue / Letter from the Editor

The A-List Style issue of House & Garden is out today and stars the iconic Kelly Wearstler who takes us on a tour of her family home in Malibu

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By Piet Smedy | May 23, 2022 | Design

What exactly is ‘A-list style’, and equally, if not more importantly, how does one achieve it? It is a question in two parts that has come in and out of focus for me throughout this – you guessed it – our A-List issue.

June 2022 Issue photographed by Joyce Park

On paper, the premise is simple enough: an all-access pass into the homes of the rich, the famous and the influential; a lifting of the proverbial veil. I have recently been binge-watching Downton Abbey ahead of the new movie, and it is funny how, even in the early 1900s, people have always been fascinated by how the gilded half lives. While it is all well and good knowing what we want to see, what interests me is the why and the how – as in, how is it useful.To me. As a homemaker.

For starters, mercifully, it does not seem you actually have to be an A-lister to get their interior design sensibilities (nor do you need their deep-pocketed resources). If anything, it is a whole lot more nuanced than that, and though the answer is not a simple one, if I had to sum it all up into a word, it would be: authenticity. A little self-knowing can go a long way. Take social media influencer Nina Suess who, with designer Theresa Obermoser, created a London home that reflects her love of extravagant glamour together with her need for quiet.

Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez’s home in Limpopo photogaphed by Elsa Young

Closer to home, Filipina designer and author Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez, who inherited her love of Africa from her father (he spent his youth in the Congo), has created a family home that celebrates both her Asian heritage and the craftsmanship of the Limpopo region.

Then there is Kelly Wearstler, who, through her numerous television and magazine appearances and online MasterClass series, arguably did for interior design what Neil deGrasse Tyson did for astrophysics. It is such a privilege to step into her private world, the home she and her family share on the Malibu coastline. For Kelly, authenticity came from embracing the natural surroundings without losing her free-spirited, retro-cool aesthetic. We could learn more from these A-lister homes than where to find a great sofa – although I say that is just as important.

Welcome to the new issue. Click here to subscribe or get your digital copy.

Piet Smedy, Editor-in-Chief, photograoged by HJ Bester