ESQUIRE MAGAZINE - Article on Shelley Starr

Mark Brashear, Chairman and CEO of Hugo Boss says he’s thrilled to know that Shelley Starr has accepted the offer to design on their behalf. “She’s always impeccable in her style and execution!” …

The great room, on the primary floor of the Esquire Man’s spectacular loft, embodies a quality of timelessness: the perfect moment, captured against a backdrop dominated by the passing of time: loss, rebirth, progress. Like a character out of Schiller or Mann, the Ultimate Bachelor engages daily with the poetry and grandeur of lower Manhattan.

The challenge of bringing interior life to this singular space was given to furniture and interior designer Shelly Starr; her muse and collaborator was long-standing Esquire Signature Space sponsor HUGO BOSS. Together, they have taken a spectacular but wild space, and given it the refined style and gracious restraint that befits a Man at His Best. Elegance and fine detailing are hallmarks of both the Great Room and its inspiration in HUGO BOSS. “The man who wears HUGO BOSS and reads Esquire is the same,” says Mark Brashear, Chairman and CEO of HUGO BOSS, the Americas. “He’s confident, understated, yet elegant. People look to him for inspiration the same as they would towards HUGO BOSS and Esquire. This man sets the style and knows exactly who he is.”

The connection between fashion, identity, and culture is central to Starr’s design aesthetic. Having started her career as a fashion model, Starr is well aware of how fine design is often about the smallest details. As an environmentally conscious entrepreneur with furniture galleries in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, Starr acknowledges that great interiors are about carefully choreographing our experience of form, texture, and light. Together they are about projection: intelligently looking ahead.

“Fashion has served as an endless well of inspiration for me, and moves me into new design periods in my life,” Starr observes. “I take cues from my favorite fashion designers, how every line can clearly represent an appreciation of a woman’s body. I’ve learned from this—for example, when I design seating, I consider the body and how people will look seated in a particular sofa or chair.”

“When I first walked into the loft,” continues Starr, “my first impression was that the space is very theatrical. Although it is extremely modern, with 16-foot ceilings, the clocks give the place the feeling of an era gone by.” Starr tackled the 3,300-square-foot expanse of the great room by dividing it into three living areas, with the seating group in the center serving as the focal point of the room. To the left, another area focuses on the custom bar, with a pair of curvacious club chairs for appreciating the view and a fine cocktail; on the far right, the grouping includes a grand piano and vintage chaise lounge.

The Great Room is carefully curated, sensual and provocative. Every item was either created by Shelley Starr or chosen specifically for this place. Select pieces were brought in from all over the world. “Ultimately,” says Starr, “the materials and the exotic woods that we use shape our designs. It is from this point that our ideas take form and come to life. I imagine the Esquire Man’s guests have been around the world and have refined tastes. When they see fine pieces, they like to talk about them. So I focused on elements that are architectural and very conversational. I sourced several special antique pieces in Europe, like the French 1930s Macassar ebony table with ivory inlay in the entry and an antique hand-crafted table with black lacquer detail from Germany.”

“The Ultimate Bachelor understands style,” says Brashear. “Perfect looks, sophisticated designs, and exclusive materials all populate the rare world of the Esquire Man. He has high standards, is confident and tasteful, and carries himself with class.”

Because of the hard angles in the space, Starr designed the chairs and sofas to be rounded, with low profiles to allow views through the space and the clock windows to the skyline beyond. The materials are soft, with light-brown, Italian calf-suede upholstery on the center seating area, and dark gray mohair on the Art Deco chairs. Starr custom-designed a trio of large silk carpets with West Coast carpet maker Aga John that bring warm color and texture into the room. Overscaled blinds help maintain the height of the room and minimize the low windows, while accentuating the almost endless views through the clock faces.

At the heart of the room is the spirit of HUGO BOSS. “More than just the sum of its collections, the brand embodies a lifestyle,” says Brashear. “HUGO BOSS encompasses adventurous, spirited, international high-fashion while being grounded in exquisite tailoring, materials, and classic styling, particularly in its men’s suiting. Starr’s design for the great room succeeds in bringing the HUGO BOSS brand to life for just that reason: it is appropriately elegant and understated, while incorporating unexpected and exotic details.”

This fall, HUGO BOSS expands its line for the first time to include a home collection, including bedding, bath towels, and bath robes with the same style, feel, and quality as a fine men’s dress shirt. Even if they can’t actually move in to the Esquire Apartment’s great room, with the new home line HUGO BOSS’s many fans will be happy for the chance to bring their favorite brand into their own home decor.

Capturing the HUGO BOSS aesthetic in architectural form, Starr is philosophical about her achievement: “I love using exclusive combinations of materials: exotic woods, crystal, fur, leather, stainless steel, shagreen, velvet, mohair, mink-like rugs.” Starr concludes, “All these materials are rich, sophisticated, theatrical, and all are representative of the space. The palette had to be sexy—this room is for the Ultimate Bachelor after all. The HUGO BOSS man is stylish and confident. He’s into quality, whether it’s his car, his suit, his living environment, or his women.”


   © Shelley Starr Design, Inc. - 8687 Melrose Place - Los Angeles - CA 90069 - (310) 409-7577 -