I have long adored the work of Alex Papachristidis and was beyond delighted to finally meet him in person last week. He is so delightful and wears the most infectious smile; you can’t help but like him instantly. Imaginative, creative and surprising are three words that I associate with his work. Not only is he ridiculously talented, but he commands a vast knowledge and familiarity with many styles, regions and periods, a fact that clearly allows him to confidently juxtapose the boldness of modern art with sumptuous elements of traditional décor.
Born and raised in New York City, Alex got his first big project—a large Manhattan apartment—during his first year as a student at Parsons School of Design. A fortuitus coup that quickly led to a second assignment, a Manhattan townhouse, for a couple he met at a dinner party in the South of France.
“Once I started, I never looked back. Growing up I was privileged to travel widely and see many beautiful homes in Europe and America,” Alex reflects. A wonderful gift and luxury that certainly contributes to cultivating the eye, while providing an invaluable background for design. “The greatest pleasure for me,” says Alex, “is when clients tell us we’ve turned their home into a sanctuary, a place they can simply sit back, relax, and enjoy. That’s a dream come true.”
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is traditional but applied with a fresh hand. I am fascinated by mixing the exotic and unusual with classical design motifs. In this economy, it’s important to understand that great style can be found at any price point, and to be able to mix complementary items together.
What inspires your creativity and designs?
I’m inspired by almost everything. Certainly travel inspires me, but I’m also inspired by art and great collections that I see in books and in museums here at home.
What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Friendship. My friends and family are more important to me than anything. It is through them that I learn about myself and life.
Who are your style icons?
Mona von Bismarck, Cary Grant, Pauline de Rothschild, Halston, Renzo Mongiardino, Henri Samuel, Charles de Beistegui, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Hubert de Givenchy, Alexis de Redé, Tracey Hejailan, Fruzsina Keehn.
Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
Cate Blanchett. She has such great style and taste. I fantasize that we would appreciate each other’s aesthetics and together could create a home in which a real movie star would live—old school Hollywood glamour with a fresh modern twist.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
The Windsor Style by Suzy Menkes
Versailles: A Biography of a Palace by Tony Spawforth
The Irrational Journey: A Russian Winter Through the Eyes of an Acute and Delighted Visitor by Pauline de Rothschild
Elsie de Wolfe: A Life in the High Style by Jane S. Smith
Don’t Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford
Alexis: The Memoirs of the Baron de Redé edited by Hugh Vickers
What is your favorite luxury in life?
A beautiful home.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
All my friends and family together celebrating.
What is your most prized possession?
My Yorkshire terrier Theodore (though he wouldn’t like to hear himself referred to as a possession).
How do you see the current economy shaping design trends?
People go back to traditional, classic decorating in tough economic times, because it feels timeless and safe. And because people are staying home more—saving money by not eating and entertaining out of the house—their homes become an even bigger focus. I also think that apartments and homes coming on the market at lower prices will create a new kind of activity, so there will be new work for those of us in the design arena.
Past or present which designers have most influenced your style?
Colefax and Fowler, Elsie de Wolfe, Francis Elkins, Billy Baldwin, Renzo Mongiardino, Parrish Hadley, Jean-Henri Jansen, David Hicks.
Profile by Ronda Carman
Photos by Roger Davies