Green Is The New Black: An Afternoon at the Eco Salon

It’s rare that I blog about private events that I attend but are not open to all. However, last week I was invited to an “Eco Salon” at the Residences at W Hollywood that was so full of nice discoveries, I thought they should be shared.

To begin with, the Residences at W Hollywood aren’t just typical hotel-brand condos. Several of the properties have been pre-decorated by local designers along specific themes; the one-bedroom “Green + Vine” eco residence was a collaborative effort between sustainability advocates Econnect grp, Witness (who use the power of the advertising world for eco initiatives) and Van Patter Design. I was curious to learn more about the space–well proportioned, and feeling very open and indoor/outdoor, even with a lot of people in it. But first I was drawn to the clothing of Stewart & Brown.

As S&B’s Tina Yen (above) told me, the Ventura-based designers use all-organic US-grown hemp and cotton and Mongolian wool to produce an intriguing line of womenswear that bridges casual and couture both in it’s patterns and tailoring—it’s pretty, but unfussy, and easily bridges generational style.

Then I met Karen Stewart-Brown (above) herself, who tells me her background (art school, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, Patagonia) and gives me a one-sheet personality test, a new concept she’s testing called “Eco.n.sultation” which uses psychological traits (and eye colors) to find the best color spectrum for a person’s wardrobe. Karen declares me a “summer” spectrum. “You’re a diplomat, a soother, the opposite of winter,” though my eye color is “Autumnnal.” Karen recommends lighter colors, something I’ve never been big on, then mixes in earth tones, while her assistant Wyatt Hough (below) finishes a concept sketch for me.

When they started in 2002, Karen tells me, “the fabrication we wanted didn’t exist.” She also notes that those of her fabrics which aren’t certified organic are merely ones which don’t need pesticides anyway.

Stewart & Brown is currently available at these Southern California retailers.

Next I wandered into the bathroom/dressing area, where Intelligent Nutrients were giving facials. Founded by Aveda creator Horst Rechelbacher after selling that company in the 90s (but only recently launched because of a non-compete agreement) IN offers a wide line of hair and skin care products, fragrances and nutritional supplements (even an enriched chocolate bar) made entirely of organic foodstuffs. That’s right, you can eat it. Everything is made in a small Minneapolis operation—and many of the ingredients come from Rechelbacher’s own Wisconsin farm.

I didn’t get a facial, but IN’s Kate Martin did give me another test—seven scents (above) based on the seven charkas, to see which one attracted me most. Naturally, I picked “Seductive.”

Intelligent Ingredients products are available a The 3 Graces (located at1309 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica), Barney’s New York, and several Whole Foods locations.

Other stations included Spray Di Sole’s proprietary organic spray tanning systems, Green Line Beauty’s Stacey Stilts demonstrating Colors by Jane Iredale makeup–the only truly chemical-free mineral makeup available, they say (here she’s making up Stewart & Brown’s Elizabeth Herring)–massages from El Leon day spa, and some organic bites from Andrew Swallow’s Mixt Greens restaurants. There are even some of the new buzz brand Kaya’s bamboo frame sunglasses to try on.

Before I left, Econnect grp’s Nora Johnson (at top—have you ever seen such a walking advertisement for organic living?) showed me many of the residence’s LEED certified, sustainable, low impact features and furnishings, including Cisco Home’s furniture, Royal-Pedic’s organic mattress, Hudson’s low-VOC chalkboard paint, PenPencilStencil’s wallcoverings, Balanced Design’s pillows, Union Eighteen’s reclaimed floor coverings and gorgeous Inner Gardens plantings. All so comfortably correct that I wanted to move in immediately.

The Residences at W Hollywood are located at 6282 Hollywood Boulevard, 323.469.8800