Designer Spotlight: Christiane Lemieux on Her Inspirations and the New Collection
Designer Christiane Lemieux, whose new collection — LEMIEUX et CIE — launches online shortly finds inspiration in historical design, and design and art history. “I believe that design is a continuum that builds,” she said. “I look to history to be inspired and sketch from there.”
LEMIEUX et CIE lived in her mind for years (the following photos showcase the collection). “Having a bit of quiet during the pandemic allowed me to articulate my vision and get it out into the world,” said Lemieux. “The challenges in the last two years were numerous and unusual — from personnel to production. One day, I think we will all look back at some of the silver linings in all of this and be amazed at what we accomplished in spite of the overwhelming odds against us.”
Right now, one of the biggest challenges is the supply chain and the ongoing issues resulting from the pandemic. “If you had asked me two years ago if creating and producing a new line in the midst of a global pandemic was even possible, the answer would have been a resounding no,” offered Lemieux. “Thankfully, our industry has been resilient in the face of crazy challenges. I am confident we will continue to work together towards the new normal.”
Lemieux started her career at Parson’s School of Design, where surface design was one of her favorite subjects. “I started with fabric design and moved into designing all home categories after graduating,” she said. As her career progressed, she founded several companies, including: Cloth & Company (co-founder), DwellStudio (purchased by Wayfair, where she served as the Executive Creative Director for several years) and The Inside, a direct-to-consumer home furnishings brand.
Now, Lemieux is a designer, entrepreneur and an author. She writes for “Architectural Digest,” “Apartment Therapy” and others. Her first book “Undecorated” (Random House/Clarkson Potter) appeared in 2011 followed by “The Finger Things,” in 2016. Two more books are slated for 2022, “Provenance” and “The Everything Home.”
She also published her first business book, “Frictionless: Why the Future of Everything Will Be Fast, Fluid and Made Just for You” (Harper Collins Business) in 2020. “I wrote a business book because above all — I am an entrepreneur,” said Lemieux. “I wanted to share my learnings and insight with everyone who aspires to start a business. I think when one person learns and shares, we all learn.”
Christiane Lemieux on "Ellen's Design Challenge." Credit: Courtesy of HGTV.
Lemieux also shared her knowledge, inspiring other creators on “Ellen’s Design Challenge” — a furniture design competition show on HGTV — for two seasons as a co-host and a judge. She enjoyed the mentoring aspect, but found the process taxing. “I am not an actor, so it was a huge challenge for me to learn scripts every night and deliver them on the show the next day,” she said. “TV is completely different because it’s constant and very demanding in terms of schedule. There is no down time and you have to learn and react very quickly.” Still, she enjoyed the experience and would do it again.
One of her favorite things to do is travel, where she gathers ideas from all the designs, architecture, art and antiques she sees. “Since I also love to eat everything, a big part of my travel is eating,” she said. “I like to make eating part of my adventure! Paris is her favorite place to visit since her parents live there. “Plus, the art, architecture and culture always inspire me and I always want more,” she added. Lemieux likes interacting with the stories history present, and that goes into her work. “I love that every project, design build, piece of furniture that I create has its own story,” she said. The people who live with the work are the central characters and our job is to write the best visual story possible.”
Such stories feed her imagination: “Creativity is really about being endlessly curious, learning all the time and bringing new learning and ideas to every aspect of your life,” she offered. “These things translate beautifully into the work and beyond … You are never ever going to be done so don’t look for the finish line - the beauty is in the process.”
Featured photo: Christiane Lemieux on "Ellen's Design Challenge." Credit: Courtesy of HGTV. All other photos (unless otherwise noted) are courtesy of LUMIEUX AT CIE.
Check out Fabrics & Home's other Designer Spotlight profiles, including last month's piece on eco-conscious textiles designer Julia Masci.
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