Last February, design superstar Kelly Wearstler traveled from her home in Beverly Hills to Dorset, England, to realize a longtime dream: a capsule color collection for her go-to paint company, Farrow & Ball. “I’ve been using their paint for as long as I can remember,” says Wearstler, who has shared an exclusive behind-the-scenes video about the collaboration, which launches on March 4, with ELLE Decor. “They’re a 75-year-old legacy brand with a modern spirit, and everything is sustainable, which is a huge plus for me.”
At the factory in Dorset, Wearstler spent several days experimenting with pigments to create the California Collection—eight colors inspired by her adopted home state. “California has that feeling of optimism and sunshine, and I wanted to bring that to the world,” the ELLE Decor A-List designer says.
To that end, there are warm neutrals with names like Salt and Sand; a black called Tar, inspired by the blacktop of Los Angeles’s endless freeways; and a gray—Stoked—that calls to mind the stones at Zuma Beach, where Wearstler loves to surf. (Wearstler personally came up with all of the paint names herself.) But the designer also took the opportunity to push Farrow & Ball, which is known for its historic hues, into a range of shades that wouldn’t look out of place in Palm Springs or Malibu—colors like Citrona, a muted chartreuse; Palm, inspired by palm fronds; and Faded Terracotta, which takes its cues from terra-cotta pots and tiles baked in the West Coast sun.
According to Charlotte Crosby, Farrow & Ball’s head of creative, the collaboration with Wearstler gave the company a chance to spread its wings. “It lets us say: We’re not just about old houses,” she says. “These are sophisticated colors that are relaxed and have an underlying warmth and heat.”
The fact that Wearstler set her palette in person, just weeks before global travel became impossible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is not lost on Crosby. The two spent the ensuing year working out the details of the collection via Zoom. “After the year we’ve just had, I think these colors are the perfect antidote,” Crosby says. “They are so uplifting.”
When the final product arrived recently in California, Wearstler immediately began to experiment with the colors at the Santa Monica Proper hotel, which she designed. “One room was Citrona, another was Palm, and the hallway was Sand,” she says. “All of the colors look great together.”
Her advice: “If you want to take a baby step with color, try Faded Terracotta. Everyone looks good in a room in that color. It gives you that nice, rosy glow.”
Watch the video here for a behind-the-scenes look at this exciting new collaboration:
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