A Colorful Career

Janet Yonaty sees things differently. For the color-obsessed designer everything she views—be it a flower spotted growing along the street or a cushion spied in the Vatican—provides inspiration for her sought-after trim, textiles and wallpaper.

As a child, Yonaty dreamed of being a fashion designer, but her family discouraged the idea. Instead, Yonaty followed her passion for color into a career designing what she calls the "jewelry of the home." For the past 16 years, she has been at the helm of her euponymous showroom in Los Angeles, which offers trims and textiles of her design and from around the world.

Color is the foundation of her pieces. "Our colors and our color combinations make us different," she says. Yonaty, who was born in Iran and educated in Europe, says she brings a more "European color sense" to the design table. When asked to name some of her favorite combinations, she provides a long list: "I love chocolate colors with a touch of metallic or cream—I also love chocolate with fuschia or turquoise. I like pistachio green with cream colors."

Looking at Yonaty's work, it's clear that color isn't the only thing that sets her wares apart. If, as she suggests, you compare her work to jewelry, then you will find everything here from a causual chain necklace to an elaborate diamond-studded tiara. She sells everything from simple braid to highly decorative tassles. "In the past 16 years, there has been a change toward more modern styles. There's a preference for trim that's more simple," she says. "However, I find that grandeur and opulence are coming back."

And Yonaty would know. The designer's work graces some of the most opulent hotels in the world—including the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the MGM in Macau and the Venetian Macao.

To keep her creative well full, the designer relies on travel, and regularly visits some of the greatest private residences and museums in the world. "Wherever I go, I take my notebook," she says. "And I don't hesitate to pull it out and make a sketch that might inspire me later."

But while a good portion of her work might be sparked by the grand homes of yesterday, she's also creating high performance pieces designed for today. "Here in America, particularly in California, the outdoors is an extension of the indoors, and people are looking for luxury performance fabrics," she says. "But it's not just for outside. These fabrics and trims are so beautiful and feel so good to the hand, people are using them in dining rooms, kitchens and elsewhere."

You might think that a designer who creates embellishments would have a maximalist sensibility. But Yonaty errs on the side of less is more. "At times I have discouraged clients from adding more or more ellaborate trim," she says. "Trim can make a room much more beautiful, but too much or the wrong kind can ruin it."

That kind of client care is the cornerstone of Yonaty's business. "For me, success is creating quality, beauty and client satisfaction," she says. That and keeping her notebook always at the ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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