The dictionary should come up with a new definition for the word elegance – the name Sue Wong!
Being invited to The Cedars (the home she named) for an interactive fashion show is like being in the middle of a Great Gatsby film! All that was missing was Mia Farrow and Robert Redford.
Her fall 2013 collection is inspired by the Jazz Age and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Said the fashionista, “Several passages in the book inspired me to translate a generation into wearable pieces for today’s modern women.”
Party guests donned their pearls, diamonds, rhinestones, beads, feathers, fringes, and hats for the Gatsby-themed launch. It was also Sue’s birthday celebration.
The hillside villa holds so much Hollywood history. It’s nestled in a cove in Los Feliz’ hills surrounded by a circular driveway that’s a hairpin turn off a narrow road. Even with directions, we got lost!
We noticed the very tall Kelsey Grammer (in Gatsby-esque light shades) on the red carpet when we entered the mansion with a tall decoupage ceiling with over 1,000 cherubic angels. There’s enough art to fill a museum; the main living room is over 2,000 square feet.
“I surround myself with beauty,” the designer said. “Beauty nurtures me and is a regenerative force. I wanted to be true to the 1920s period of this home.”
Sue purchased the property in 2004 when restoration began. After she was unable to find the art deco needed in Los Angeles, she searched the world for antiques. “I acquired much of my belongings from France and Parisian auctions. The French style is slightly wicked and sexy.”
She also created her own designs including draperies (hand-beaded velvet panels embroidered in Borghese gold thread, made by the same artisans in China that supply her with material for her gowns.) She used the scrolled gold embroidered velvet fabric to reupholster three rococo thrones once owned by European royalty. One of her favorites is a black velvet ziggurat sofa, trimmed in burgundy bullion and swags.
While the champagne and conversation flowed, your eyes got a workout while trying not to miss a thing – the fashion (on models and guests) and the furniture/art/antiques.
In years past, visitors included: Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, and Howard Hughes. Johnny Depp lived here to do Ed Wood research because Bela Lugosi lived here. A Moroccan themed room was named “The Jimi Hendrix Suite” in honor of Sue’s Bohemian days and also because he spent a lot of time here.
Master Romio, a longtime friend, chanted throughout the evening and toasted Sue’s birthday. In-turn, she roasted him and listed his credits including artwork in numerous worldwide museums and friend of the Dalai Lama. Guests were also entertained by Israeli opera singer Michael Peer.
“I do it all. I’ve designed clothing, jewelry, environments, furniture, and garden landscapes. But, I never have enough time to do everything!”
Sue Facter owns a news agency specializing in the luxury brand. Her work appears in USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and Women’s Day Australia, on broadcasts and the web.