Adopted Rock sis Ellianna Placas has long held a place in SO ‘s heart. From sipping cocktails at Rockhouse, Negril, to catching up with her New York buddy Cecile Levee, we’ve had some pretty good times. Little surprise that Jamaica holds equally fond memories. What has she been up to of late? Lots, of course! This is one woman who understood how to pivot before it became a thing…
“I am lucky because I live a life of magic!” shares Ellianna Placas. It’s no idle boast. She’s worked for magazines, including Elle Décor, House Beautiful, New York Magazine , Oprah , and Essence . The clothing line she designed was bought by Harvey Nichols and Saks. Cameron Diaz and Nicole Richie were fans. But why not continue the name-dropping of some of the talented women she’s been fortunate enough to work with — Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Kerry Washington, Janet Jackson, and Oprah! Creativity is always a collaborative effort.
“Fashion is where I honed my eye, fell in love with the beautiful hand of luxury textiles, and appreciated the craftsmanship associated with pure luxury,” she continues. “My first magazine shoot was for Elle Décor — Global Glamour — Fashion designers take their runway hits back home — featuring Hèrmes, Missoni, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, and Etro. I attended Salone Del Mobile, met with Mr Armani, and on the same trip styled a shoot of Loro Piana’s beautiful home with a view of the Italian Alps. I have been handed the most extraordinary opportunities for my entire career. I feel so much gratitude that people trust me, and I have been able to deliver on that trust.
“Taste is intimate and innate. Style is a symbolic outer referencing of our inner lives, layering clothing, and accessories to tell that story. Interior design is how we expand ourselves and our vision into our space, be it home or business. My work is to distil my clients’ aesthetic dreams and create beauty beyond their expectations. Sometimes, I paint the entire picture for them because they want my vision. I identify the client’s needs and objectives, then apply my knowledge and instinct. Trust is imperative as, without it, you cannot create at the highest level. I love what I do because it brings joy to the client. I believe the essence from which beauty is created informs its nature. My practice is based on purity, the desire to help others.”
Placas made the decision to return to university “because I was craving my artistry… My freelance projects mirrored my fashion experience, including creative direction for a lingerie brand, developing a beauty brand, and wardrobe styling for high-profile personalities. I was attracted to interior design because I know the value of creating and fostering beauty in any environment. Beauty is uplifting”.
Interior design and Parsons, The New School of Design were a no-brainer because the programme is focused on interior architecture and sustainability.
“I cried,” she recalls upon the arrival of her acceptance letter. “I was embarking on an exciting journey where I would learn and grow in an international community. The programme is extremely demanding and expects excellence from its students. Therefore, it has an excellent reputation globally. I aligned my creativity with its purest nature as I investigated process, materials, form, line, texture, function, and sustainable design.
“Travel and photography are part of my creative process. Between semesters I was in Greece, loving the history, islands, and culture. I visited India for joy and colour. Mughal history was dedicated to luxury.I heard romantic stories illustrating their commitment to beauty, for example, extracting essential oils, dowsing courtyards, and filmy cotton curtains with the fragrance that was then caught on the breeze and filled the air. I visited Uluru, in the centre of Australia, and was taken by the monumental scale of the natural rock formations, the vibration of The Dreaming and its ancient architecture.
“Fashion and art continue to inspire. I admire Gabriela Hearst, whose work is sophisticated and timeless with sustainability at its core. Maria Cornejo experiments with new fabrics and works with indigenous communities on her architectural clothing designs. Since I saw the Hilma af Klint exhibit at the Guggenheim, I have been fascinated by female artists who, until recently, have been excluded from the historical art narrative. The drone photography of Greek architectural designer Costas Spathis feels very free.”
Design is about focusing on the senses that contribute to experiencing a space to its fullest potential, the aspects that seduce us as humans. Light, sightlines, bringing the outside inside, colour, and textures, the most beautiful, luxurious materials. I like a sophisticated environment that incorporates art and playful elements. I included some Chris Wolston chairs for the rooftop performance space garden area of a boutique hotel project.
A partition wall I designed using rotating panels of custom-made ceramic-edged mirror, reminiscent of pearls and surfboards, interacts with the inhabitants and nature, setting the tone for the waterfront space.”
.Placas recently finished a creative consulting project with an interior and art gallery in New York. What’s on the horizon are interior design projects in Miami and Manhattan. She’s also ready to pop on a plane wherever she can help someone live a life of beauty and joy.
interiors • fashion • beauty
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