Milly de Cabrol
International interior designer revels in color
image of milly de cabrol by miguel flores vianna
Your career was launched when a magazine photographed your own apartment—how did you develop the knack that they noticed? I was born in Italy, and I always lived in beautiful houses with beautiful gardens. And my mother was amazing. She always made me look closely at things—that’s how you create this eye for color and beauty. Why is color so important? There’s got to be a strong splash of color. You can start with the color of the walls or an amazing carpet. Or if the client loves a particular sofa, you can work up from that, and color is the catalyst that pulls it all together. What is your favorite color to work with? A favorite is hard to say, I always go back and forth. I love plum—a deep plum, or a pomegranate—and I connect it with a mustard yellow or with red or shocking pink. I also love mustard yellow with a beautiful gray. And I adore orange. It’s Indian for goodness, prosperity. If you look at Hermès or Pratesi, they have orange logos. If it’s blue, it has to be intense, the deep color of the Mediterranean Sea. Have you found that men and women approach color differently? Men don’t take to color as well as women, they like to see things that don’t distract their eyes. Bland or brown they understand, but if you start pushing them toward red or shocking pink, they pull away. Mainly they don’t like orange. They’re very decisive, they know what they like, and when it’s done, it’s done. How is it different for women? Women are easier to persuade. If a woman’s not into color, you can turn her onto it. You put the package together, and she’ll come around. How important is light? I’m a great believer that if you are in a dark place, make it darker—and if in a light place, make it lighter. A dark space should be cozy, like a shawl you wrap around yourself. If you have incredible light, you can make it shimmer like light on water. Why do you say rock stars are your ideal clients? I really relate to people who love and suffer—crazy, amazing, talented people. When they write their own songs and they sing, a lot of it comes from their feelings, their heart, their experiences. That’s what’s different from a movie star who’s given a script and has to become that person. A rock star is about passion and soul. They wear their feelings on their sleeve, and that’s what I give to clients—themselves.