What happens when a celebrity stylist and interior designer Estee Stanley and Justin Timberlake team up? The result is HomeMint, a collection of home décor items and anecdotes conceived by the two masterminds. While we could sit here and explain their mission, we turned the microphone over to Stanley and Timberlake and let shed some light on their joint partnership. Take it away…
Life+Times: You’re one hell of a stylist and an incredible interior designer. How do you describe what you do, as it seems you’re a jack-of-all-trades?
Estee Stanley: Thank you—you should be the president of my fan club. Your first task would actually be to start one. You could say I’ve definitely become a jack-of-all-trades, but the truth is these worlds lend themselves to the crossover I’ve made. They really do influence each other because it’s always about infusing a sense of style, whether it’s with fashion or interior design. With interior design, I obviously have a bigger canvas to work with, but my approach is the same in that I find an inspiration and go from there to layer and style a look around it.
L+T: How do you define your personal style– when it comes to both your sartorial choices and your taste in interior design?
ES: I guess I should first say that I’m not really into keeping up with trends—in either fashion or interior design. I don’t want any of my clients to ever feel like they’ve spent money on something that dates so quickly they’re embarrassed to have worn it on a red carpet, or have it in their homes. My personal style is comfortable, effortlessly sexy, and eclectic, but collected. That also goes for when I’m styling someone. I never dress anyone in a way that’s too edgy or constrained because I want them to feel comfortable all night long. When I’m working on an interior design, I also want to make sure there’s an element of comfort so that the home is always inviting and a place they want to spend time in. The last thing I want to do is create a space that is so over-designed that it’s almost unlivable.
L+T: You’ve teamed up with Justin Timberlake for your latest venture, a selection of home products that you collectively design together. How did this come about? What makes sense about the two of you pairing up?
ES: Justin and I have developed a great collaborative relationship over the years working on his various homes. So partnering with him on HomeMint was a natural extension of that relationship. It’s really been a new and exciting way to share our creativity and expertise with a much wider community. We both get to design products ourselves for the HomeMint line, and we get to curate an incredible collection of home goods, art and photography. We have amazing limited edition and unique pieces from artists and design studios around the world.
L+T: You’ve said you approach home design in the exact same way you approach styling – accessorize and layer to bring a space together the way you would a look. What have you learned about yourself as a ‘curator’ throughout the HomeMint process?
ES: As an interior designer I’m able to focus on one client at a time, but with this venture I have to think about a wider audience. So the biggest lesson I’ve had to learn is that not everything I happen to personally like actually sells. I’ve come to look beyond what I am really attracted to and think more about what the audience at large might be interested in. That’s not always easy to do because a sense of style is so unique and personal—there’s no universal one-size-fits-all approach. So you have to almost take a bird’s eye view to everything and work to find pieces that can speak to someone on a variety of levels.
L+T: Who are some of your favorite individuals in the world of design – from clothing to architecture to interiors? Who are they? Why do you love them?
ES: This is always so hard to answer. It’s like trying to find that one dinner guest, dead or alive that you’d like to share a meal with. I’ve been influenced by so many people throughout my career, but I have to say there are three in particular that stand out for me right now. Axel Vervoordt —his aesthetic is so moody and sexy, but rustic and classy at the same time. I adore Giambattista Valli for so many reasons I can’t even begin to explain—just look at his collections! He’s like a fashion magician because just when I think he couldn’t possibly come up with yet another stunning collection, he blows my mind. I love Christian Liaigre and how he mixes rustic and modern together. Nothing is overdone and everything seems very lived-in and comfortable.
L+T: It seems like you and Justin are having the time of your lives. How much fun is the HomeMint process? What excites you the most?
ES: We are having so much fun working on our HomeMint line. The best part about it, for me at least, is that it feels like we’re always on a treasure hunt. We’re always looking for pieces and designs around the world from both established and emerging artists. So it’s kind of like we’re searching the world for this great treasure that we then get to share with everyone. There’s something really fun and rewarding about finding that piece and adding it to our collection of great discoveries.
L+T: What are you currently working on?
ES: Well… as a jack-of-all-trades, of course I’m working on a lot of different projects. I’m currently working on a couple of interior designs including a few homes as well as the Hollywood landmark restaurant, Café des Artists. I’m really excited about that. I’m also gearing up to open a new family-oriented restaurant here in Los Angeles. And of course, I’m styling all of my clients including Jessica Biel and Lea Michele. You could say I keep busy…
L+T: What is something you’ll never throw away? Why?
ES: With how much I have on my plate right now—that would be my publicist. She helps me stay on track and she also makes sure I don’t say anything inappropriate… well, she tries really hard at least.
L+T: You’re certainly known for your music and your acting, but now you’re showing the world a little bit about your “interior design” side. What was your first experience with this world?
Justin Timberlake: I’ve always had an interest in architecture and design. When I was a kid, my family owned a real estate development company. My grandfather was a head contractor so, I watched him build houses with his bare hands. As I got older and started to see the world and of all of the different styles of architecture each different culture has to offer, it just kind of stays with you.
L+T: What have you learned about yourself throughout the HomeMint project?
JT: I think what we’ve both learned from HomeMint is how to take designs and mass-produce them with everything it entails… Figuring out designs for pieces that work across the board but still hold true to our eye, style, and sensibility. Estee and I love to curate a whole experience so, it’s been really cool to see all of them come together and work in a cohesive manner.
L+T: Tell me a little bit about working with Estee. How has this been working out?
JT: Estee’s mostly just hell… Haha! No, seriously… We have a similar eye for design and comparable taste in decor. She’s like the sister that I never got to terrorize. We have a lot of fun working together. The thing I’ve probably learned most from E is that… (And this is applicable to mostly everything in life) IT’S ALL ABOUT LIGHTING!!