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Haute Exclusive: Behind the Scenes in the Mercedes Benz VIP Lounge and One on One with the Lounge’s Designer Wesley Cadle

Yesterday as the stiletto-clad masses infiltrated the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week tent at Lincoln Center, awaiting their turn to walk into the Vera Wang runway show, the atmosphere was all-out chaos. A wired energy reverberated through the air as eager attendees arrived, printed their bar codes and awaited admittance to the tent. Even those not attending a show during that time slot were busy bodies; bloggers plugged in at the media station, people visited the TRESsemé station, and the Fashion Café was abuzz with fashionistas seeking breakfast. Truly, there is only one word to describe the scenario: hectic.

So you can only imagine the pleasantry that ensued as I was ushered into the Mercedes Benz Star lounge. For those VIPs with the privilege of being permitted entrance by the gatekeepers of said doorway–they need only walk a short hallway until the lounge opens up into a stark juxtaposition of serenity. Indeed, I found a beautiful and chic, yet cozy haven for the créme de la…Fashion Week can re-charge between shows. I sat down with the lounge’s designer Wesley Cadle to pick his brain. He opened up about creating order out of chaos, this season’s inspiration and his beloved Jack Russell Terriers.

“My inspiration was originally Pucci,” Cadle said. “The idea of a woman in a silk scarf–that’s always a part of fashion. So, its kind of like being wrapped in a silk scarf and I’ve added neutral tones and accented the walls with a fresher color; these fresh cucumber colors. And then of course my new cocktail of choice is a cucumber gimlet.  It has that really fresh flavor in it and that one piece of cucumber that has that outside grain and its kind of a blue green sometimes, and the interior has that [muted] color so its really fresh and pretty and nice.”

Indeed, the room felt a bit like being engulfed in some sort of morph-thing of a Pucci scarf and a cucumber gimlet. The walls boast a larger-than-life geometric print in cool greens, chic steel grays, and warm Cadmium. The ceiling, composed of the same color and print, is painted directly on stunning silk which allows light to shine through. Cadle commissioned artists from Porter Teleo studio to make his vision come to life.

“Everything is in the details; we’re very detail oriented in creating an environment,” said Cadle. This is painstakingly obvious as I glanced around and took in the “I heart MBFW” pillows–a playful detail for Valentine’s Day–and a crystal rendition of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters hanging above the fireplace.  ”That’s what we really are about more than anything else, is creating an environment whether it be an environment to live in, an environment to entertain in, an environment to do weddings. [We also focus on] heightening the senses,” said Cadle

Yes they do. The current lounge, Cadle’s second at MBFW but one of many for Mercedes Benz sponsored events, is not simply a beautiful façade. No, sir–this river runs deep. The scents wafting through the air are strategically selected, Cadle visits the flower market each morning to refresh the stunning arrangements that he, himself designed. The champagne is a flow and spread of food is both beautiful and delightful, I’m sure. But what else would you expect from the genius behind the concept of wrapping fashion week VIPs inside a Pucci scarf?

“We’re always thinking of all the things in an entertainment situation that make your guest feel intrigued.  When they come into the room you want them to smell something wonderful, you want them to see something wonderful, taste something wonderful; all of those things are items that we put into a suite.  You want to really wrap them in those things where their senses are heightened,” Cadle said.

Cadle does not prescribe to traditional, modern, or contemporary styles. He believes in mix and matching and allowing his life to inspire his designs. Georgia-born, with an extended stint as a New Yorker, Cadle once again calls Georgia his home. There he resides with his husband and their two Jack Russell terriers Hannah, the wild and crazy one, and Lucas–almost cat-like and calm. He is lover of the arts and adores gardening and redecorating his own historic house. In fact, he was looking ferns when what would become the MBFW VIP lounge’s color scheme first hit him.

And with a client roster containing the like of Mercedes Benz USA, Exxon Mobil, IBM, CNN, International Olympic Committee, Ted Turner, Jane Fonda, Travis Tritt, and Bobby Bonilla–I can safely assume his method is working.

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New York February / March 2014
New York February / March 2014