The city was quiet on Monday evening, Sept. 29. Most New Yorkers were either celebrating Rosh Hashanah or feeling too down on the economy to venture out for a social gathering. But on the third floor of Christie’s in Rockefeller Center, socialite and interior designer Celerie Kemble welcomed friends to a private party hosted by Elle Décor in honor of her new textile collection for Schumacher.
“Other than the whole market-falling-to-pieces thing, this is sort of the perfect day,” Ms. Kemble told the Transom. “Standing in the room tonight, looking around, it’s like seeing candy on the walls!”
Ms. Kemble’s patterns and textiles were displayed on the walls of Christie’s like works of art. Each had an elaborate, carefully chosen frame; a description sticker underneath; and a finely dressed guest admiring it through round designer spectacles, glass of Champagne in hand.
Ms. Kemble, a 34-year-old Harvard and Groton grad, has been in the business since she was 24; her mother, Mimi McMakin, is a prominent interior designer. But unlike her social peers, Ms. Kemble has earned a reputation for having, well, a real job. One guest who has worked with the designer told the Transom that while Ms. Kemble certainly belongs to “that social set”—she’s married to money manager Boykin Curry—she’s the type of gal often seen carrying a rolled-up carpet on her back.
“She’s very influenced by the tradition she grew up with, but she’s also very mod and forward-looking,” said Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Elle Décor. Ms. Russell was limping about on a broken ankle that she fractured on her way to attending a dinner at the home of interior designer Jonathan Adler (who recently wed The Observer’s Simon Doonan).
Ms. Kemble said she hopes that her work fills a void in the design market. “One of the patterns is an imaginary take on all the flowers I wish existed,” she said. “And then I also have a lot of fun with a little bit of glimmer and a hint of shine. I used to think of it as too much, but as fashion has taught me, a tiny piece of too much can be the spark in the room.”
The designer’s favorite fabric in the room was a boxy white-and-brown pattern called “Betwixt.” “My fantasy would be to upholster all the walls of the room in it!”