Cynthia Rowley getting ready to surf in Montauk, wearing a CR Wetsuit. Photo credit: Cynthia Rowley.
By Marie Wolf
She is one of fashion’s most recognized designers—a household name of sorts whom you’ve likely come across on any particular shopping jaunt, be it on the hunt for clothing, eyewear, jewelry, fragrance, office supplies, home furnishings and, yes, surf wear, which she just happens to know a thing or two about.
Luxury is such a personal thing. For me it’s about spending time with the people I love, surrounded by objects that make me smile.” — Cynthia Rowley
Left photo: Cynthia Rowley Furniture. Photo credit: Hooker Furniture. Photo credit: William Eadon. Right photo: Cynthia Rowley. Photo credit: Madi Atkins.
Thrill seekers, fashionistas and those looking for home design inspiration seem to be drawn to the Cynthia Rowley brand—every bit of it infused with a dash of whimsy. From ready-to-wear spilling with ruffled sleeves and hems to quirky floral patterns punctuated with bright, happy colors, Rowley has established her signature footprint in the world of fashion with dozens of free-standing boutiques around the world. In fact, in 2015 the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) recognized Rowley as Designer of the Year. “Brimming with energy, Cynthia Rowley imbues a sense of adventure in all of her design projects,” the AAFA remarked.
I want to create furniture that will brighten your space and make your home a happy place for you.” — Cynthia Rowley
Rowley originally hails from Illinois, where she attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Today, Greenwich Village is home base for the designer. There she lives with her husband and daughters, but, come summertime, you will find her riding the waves and hanging in Montauk.
Left photo: Cynthia Rowley in the studio. Photo credit: Madi Atkins. Right photo: From the Cynthia Rowley Spring ’17 Collection.
HERE, THE DESIGNER SPEAKS ABOUT THE CYNTHIA ROWLEY FURNITURE COLLECTION DESIGNED FOR HOOKER FURNITURE, AND ALSO SHARES HER PERSPECTIVE ON “FASHIONING” THE HOME.
LL: How do you segue from apparel to home design, while keeping each separate, yet relevant?
CR: I talk to our customers every day on social media! We get tons of feedback from all @cynthia_rowley platforms. Plus, interiors and furniture have been a passion of mine ever since I can remember. Like clothes, home furnishings say so much about a person. Just as clothes are an extension of someone’s personality, home furnishings can say the same thing.
How does fashion design influence your design of home furnishings?
I think in all of my designs, whether home furnishings or fashion, you can always find a sense of adventure and imagination. I think everything we design incorporates the same themes: pretty, sporty, artistic and a great sense of adventure, with a bit of curiosity.
Why did you choose Hooker Furniture?
The Cynthia Rowley Furniture Collection offers a vibrant twist on classic designs, by combining unique materials and our original fabrics with the impeccable craftsmanship that Hooker Furniture is known for.
What elements are important to you in designing furniture?
Your home is such a reflection of you, just as fashion is. I want to create furniture that will brighten your space and make your home a happy place for you. I think our line can be housed in so many different homes. I try to make pieces that are special and that you’ll want for a long, long time, from your first home on.
How can homeowners create a “luxury” environment in their own spaces?
Luxury is such a personal thing. For me it’s about spending time with the people I love, surrounded by objects that make me smile. Like an odd-shaped lamp I found in a market or a painting by a friend. I think it’s important to first understand what it is that makes you feel most luxurious at home and then, little by little, collect those pieces that speak to you. I like to mix high-end designer pieces and fine art with thrift store finds, or cushions made from fabric scraps from past collections.
When you are not designing, what do you do during your downtime? Travel? Exercise? Surf?
All of the above! There’s no such thing as downtime for me. I actually spent the holidays with family and friends in José Ignacio, Uruguay. When my friend suggested Uruguay, I jumped straight onto Magic Seaweed [magicseaweed.com] to check the surf report!
Marie Wolf is a freelance editor and writer whose home is filled with many Cynthia Rowley collectibles.