John and I are simply mad for Jana Phipps, a dear friend, the most knowledgeable person we know in the “trim” space, and the force between the Trim Queen blog and social media presence. Jana knows everything about trim. And we mean everything.
So here’s a little more about this design-world force from her bio:
“Jana Platina Phipps is an embellishment expert known for her refined vision in the use of trimmings in home furnishings and fashion. She is a designer and agent for Classical Elements, which supplies trimmings and drapery hardware to the home furnishings industry, customizes private label programs for interior design distributors, and sells to retail stores nationally. She also develops custom trimmings for NYC-based fashion companies sourcing the finest European materials. Affectionately called ‘Trim Queen’ by her clients, she started her blog in 2013 and uses her social media channels to chronicle how the design community uses trimmings creatively. She was one of ten chosen to blog at High Point Market for the Design Bloggers Tour, Spring 2017.”
Here’s what we asked, and what we learned:
- Madcap Cottage (MCC): You are known as the Trim Queen. What sparked your passion for trim?
Jana Platina Phipps (JPP): Fresh out of college, I was working as an assistant to an accessory designer in NYC and went to source some soutache braid at a trimmings factory in the Garment District. An older Italian lady named Ginetta led me around the turn-of-the-century factory, and when I saw some exquisite gold metallic braiding slowly being spit out of a gritty whirling machine from messy spools of yarn, I fell in love. I had never seen anything like it in my life and was so enamored that months later I took a job as Ginetta’s protege. I was the first college-educated employee they ever had, the rest were union, and I would eventually build a multi-million-dollar home decor division for them.
- MCC: What are five easy ways for the consumer to bring trim into their own world, from home decor to fashion and accessories?
JPP: Trim Alchemy is what I call the process of transforming something ordinary into extraordinary using trimmings. For decor, make a ‘pillow cuff’ that wraps around your cushion, voila STATEMENT PILLOW! Add a bead fringe to the edge of a lampshade, and you’re now EMBELLISHED. Hang some tassels from your drawer pulls, SO DESIGNER. Hem your jeans with fringe, doll up your jean jacket, use a favorite ribbon as a hatband, tie a tassel, or pompom to your summer tote for Insta-COUTURE! Hot glue bling to your headphones, SO DOLCE! Adding trim is an easy way to personalize your wardrobe/decor, and I promise you will turn heads and make new friends as you walk down the street in your MODERN EMBELLISHMENT!
- MCC: What inspires you?
JPP: CREATIVITY! I love seeing what people make—whether interior or furniture designers, participants in my workshops, or children—and am fascinated with why they choose certain materials and applications that they do to create. This creative process applies to fashion, cooking, photography, writing, dancing, music, playing sports… All are forms of self expression. It is so interesting and helps me grow. Oh, and travel inspires me, of course. ‘Experience is an interior decoration’ has been a personal motto since I was a teenager.
- MCC: Favorite city and why? Is there a “trim” moment in that city that really sends you reeling, a favorite restaurant or museum, for example.
JPP: Venice is my favorite city hands down, from its history as a hub of the Silk Road and mastery of the decorative arts to its seafood specialties, lagoon allure, and beauty. Venice engages my senses on every level. I hope to create a body of art there one day. (I studied at Ca’Foscari for a year exchange in college). My favorite museum is the textile collection at the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo, full of Venetian passementerie and embellished costume of the 16th century. The silk yarn used in Venetian embellishment is so saturated playing to the richness of the jewel-colored canals… Tessitura Bevilacqua is another favorite with its antique handlooms still weaving exquisite velvet: It will be on the Venice Maker Tour I am planning for 2018. Venice is a city that is dedicated to preserving its artisanal heritage, lacemaking, glass blowing, and gold leafing, yet embraces modern design with the influential La Biennale.
- MCC: How would you throw an easy dinner party for someone hesitant about entertaining at home? And how would you add some trim to the mix?
JPP: To quote Maya Angelou, ‘People may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.’ Keep this in mind when entertaining. The food is not the star of the show, you are as the host or hostess. Be attune to your guests, get out of the kitchen, and create the soiree! I try to prep everything ahead of time so I just need to serve. If you aren’t a cook, order in, who cares, and you won’t either after a cocktail! A gorgeous charcuterie platter is a big hit and a fun cocktail concoction is always a crowd pleaser. I created my signature ‘Fringe Fizz’ with champagne and simple cranberry syrup, served in vintage coupe glasses. Make the food look beautiful on your china or platters, and use cake stands to create varying heights for a thematic centerpiece. I like to mix patterns and colors for an informal vibe, it’s not fussy and makes people feel more relaxed. My favorite chargers are from Julian Mejia Design. I love to wrap trim or a ribbon around a napkin adding a vintage brooch for panache. Edge a table runner with gold fringe to add some texture and glam. Create a playlist on Spotify and blast the Bossa Nova! People will notice your thoughtfulness and creativity more than the food. Plan ahead so you can enjoy the eve entertaining your guests, they will remember how you made them feel.
To learn more about Jana and to see her work, if you are not already following her on all social channels, be sure to do so right this very second!