Walking into fashion designer Julie Mollo’s Clinton Hill pad is like stepping into her zany, retro brain.
Mollo was still a junior at Pratt when she went hunting for an apartment in 2009. The intrepid designer was already creating outfits for clients like Katy Perry, and Mollo knew she wanted a home big enough to create clothes and meet with clients.
She envisioned a cozy garden-floor one-bedroom. But ended up with the opposite — an airy, 800-square-foot fourth-floor loft studio. Without walls to differentiate the many areas of her home-slash-workspace, Mollo used high-impact wall paint and strategically placed garment racks to carve out a living room, office and bedroom. Then she filled it with things that inspire her.
“When you walk into this space, you understand me,” Mollo told Brownstoner on a recent visit. “It’s great for clients to immediately understand what I’m about.”
Half the apartment holds the living room, dining room and kitchen. The other half comprises Mollo’s workspace and bedroom. She recently reupholstered the sofa herself. The Saarinen Tulip chairs were a gift from a friend.
Mollo is the opposite of minimalist. An area of the dining room wall is covered with photographs of Katy Perry wearing her designs, a shoe poster designed by a friend, bolts of fabric, shelves storing glasses and dishes, and a garland of white paper flowers she helped make for a pal’s wedding.
With so many colorful odds and ends throughout the space, Mollo’s fabric storage cabinet fits right in. “I just organized,” she said.
Like just about every object in the apartment, the light-up palm tree has a story. “I was in California last year and I just loved the palm trees,” Mollo explained to Brownstoner. “I wanted one for my house and bought this as a Christmas tree.”
Three garment racks border the far side of the living room, separating it from Mollo’s workspace.
The apartment’s color scheme is dominated by black, white, pink, red and gold. Mollo spray-painted much of the furniture to match. “Nothing here is its original color,” she admitted.
The designer describes her clothes as “fun, flirty, retro, and rock n’ roll.” Many of her garments are reversible, or, as Mollo likes to call them, “retro-versible.”
Her distinctive cat-eye glasses have become a trademark.
Where the business happens.
Mollo admits that her DIY confetti-and-resin desktop was a mistake. “The edges of the confetti pieces are surprisingly sharp,” she told Brownstoner.
Mollo used white contact paper to create the polka dots on her bedroom walls.
Mollo is launching her fall collection — named “Collegiate Swag” — on Sunday, October 11 at Slapback in Williamsburg. You can see more of Mollo’s work at www.juliemollo.com.
[Photos: Barbara Eldredge]
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