Dept: The Good Life
Author: Elyse Glickman
Photos: Adrienne Gunde
Wildflower Linen’s Youngsong Martin strives to make the world more beautiful, one gala at a time.
￼Though Youngsong Martin made a name for herself in fashion design in her career’s “first phase,” it was only a matter of time before her passion for designing unforgettable environments was reignited. This unique talent originated during her childhood in Seoul, where she constantly sought new ways to brighten the sur- roundings of her family’s small home. It resurfaced in 2001 when, while helping her niece make a bold wedding day statement, she found the fabrics available to her “industrial and bland.”
The attention to detail and refinement doesn’t end there. Guestrooms are sprawling enough to feel like a private Tuscan villa. The washroom is more spacious than most studio apart- ments I’ve lived in as a college student, and its gold fittings and crystal lamps made me feel like I was in Pretty Woman. And what does every Pretty Woman do? Take a bubble bath, of course! I have never felt so fancy taking a bath; the separate soaking tub is big enough to fit two comfortably (or in my case, me and my sizeable food-baby from the night’s eating (mis) adventures). By nightfall, I was nestled in exquisite European linens atop a bed that embraced the body just so. Oh, their bed ruined me for life; theirs is the beautiful carriage to my pump- kin back at home.
￼￼It led Martin to found Wildflower Linens, a company that revolutionized the field of special event décor and linens. Her stun- ning tabletop concepts and couture-hewn chair covers have since wowed attendees of the Vanity Fair and Oscars Governor’s Ball after-parties, a DreamWorks premiere at the Venice Film Festi- val, as well as numerous charity galas, weddings and Presidential Library events. “While much of the interior design field focuses on permanent installation, there is a certain artistic freedom that comes with designing interiors for a specific event,” she says. “It is the story of Cinderella, where you have the potential to make any- thing happen. Another advantage is that when I design something statement-making for an event, the chair I am creating the design for will not talk back to me.”
After all that rest and relaxation, I could have opted for an array of activities: a golf outing on the 380-acre, Tom Fazio-designed golf course; dinner at Addison, its AAA 5-Diamond restaurant, or even a complimentary limousine ride within 14 miles of the estate. (I contem- plated utilizing this service to dine at a nearby taco stop. Hey, whether inhaling cabeza tacos or nibbling on caviar, a true lady always travels in style.) Instead, I opted for a beautification day at The Spa, its award-winning, 21,000-square-foot, full-service day spa.
￼￼Youngsong Martin in her studio.
“When planning a look for a one-night event, I focus on what’s on the tabletop rather than the surroundings,” she says. Whether you have an apartment or a mansion, “figure out what things you want your guests to pay attention to at your event. Next, transform those decorative ele- ments into a sensory experience. Guests will be drawn in from the moment they see the flicker- ing of the candles, and colors of the tabletop. Once you have made a statement, guests will focus on that rather than the rest of the house.”
In the coming months, however, Martin plans to expand to a “third phase” of home décor, bringing the glamour of special events to the everyday home. “When planning a look for a one-night event, I focus on what’s on the tabletop rather than the surroundings,” she says. Whether you have an apartment or a mansion, “figure out what things you want your guests to pay attention to at your event. Next, transform those decorative ele- ments into a sensory experience. Guests will be drawn in from the moment they see the flicker- ing of the candles, and colors of the tabletop. Once you have made a statement, guests will focus on that rather than the rest of the house.”
Color is one way Martin likes to make a statement. “We are moving away from the natural ‘eco’ look, like burlap and natural fibers, and are moving back to bright colors like orange and fuchsia, but in a completely different way from a few years earlier when Indian designs were big,” she says. “Today’s patterns integrate black or white ‘non-colors’ with brights.”
From galas to the home to the community, Martin is all about beautifying her environment. Recently honored for her multi-faceted charity work on National Philanthropy Day in Orange County, Calif., Martin believes “that any solid business model should include social responsi- bility. We need to pay attention to other people regardless of how much our business makes. We need to be a part of the community as well as exist within it.”
Summer may bring to mind barbecues and pool parties, but why sacrifice style for a warm weather fête when all it takes is a few details to lighten up any look? Here, some experts show us how we can bring summer to two very different décor styles.
ISSUE: Summer 2012
DEPT: Audrey Living
PHOTO: Callaway Gable
STYLISTS: Carpe Diem Special Events and Designs; Rrivre Works, Inc.
FLOWERS: Mille Flori Floral Design
VENUE: Rrivre Works, Inc.
“When you’re thinking of a summer dinner with friends, it is always nice to give your guests the unexpected,” says Slomique Hawrylo, who runs Carpe Diem, an event planning company, with partner Alice Chung. Always consider your surroundings when planning your tablescape, says Hawrylo. If you’ve got access to a great outdoor setting with a breathtaking view, you’re practically done. But if you’re working with an indoor venue, Hawrylo suggests an eye-catching print accenting the wall behind your table setting, like a bold damask design. Setting up a striking backdrop is easy to achieve, she adds. “Just purchase a large amount of fabric from your local fabric store and hang it flush to the wall accenting your tablescape.”
Against a sophisticated black and white backdrop, Hawrylo finds it important to make sure accent pieces are “wow pieces.” She suggests “sprinkling in a little summer brightness with a crisp apple green,” like vintage-inspired stemware and napkins. Don’t be afraid to mix and match modern and vintage styles of stemware in varying shades of your accent color. “Your guests will be impressed by the wonderful play on colors,” she says.
Florist Gina Kim-Park of Mille Fiori Floral Design continued the apple green theme by accenting each table setting with green cymbidium orchid blooms. She also used “modern baroque-style” mirrored trays for the charger. “You can purchase any cool picture frame to use as chargers for any dinner setting,” she adds.
To play off the bold damask backdrop, Kim-Park created an oversized garland with white and black paper flowers. She created one centerpiece with a white paper flower bloom accented with green moss balls, and another utilizing white akito roses meandering down a tall ceramic vase. As for setting up the layout of your dinner party, never feel that you are confined to the conventional table, says Hawrylo. “If you have a unique bar at your home, and you want your guests to experience a modern way of having a dinner party, have the entire evening themed around the bar. Your place settings, conversation and, of course, drinks will all take place at this unconventional table.”
If you’re working with a more traditional dining setting, bring summer inside — in an enchanted-forest- midsummer-night’s-dream type of way. This dreamy tablescape was created around the Montage Table, which features a magnolia tree at the center, by Rrivre Works, an event design and rental company. “Bring the outdoors in with living foliage, and accent with florals in the colors of the season,” says Rrivre Davies, owner of Rrivre Works. If your dinner is outdoors, he suggests building a table around your favorite tree.
If you don’t happen to have a tree in your dining room, “consider a potted tree for your next centerpiece,” says Hawrylo. “Big or small, it can provide an unexpected wow factor.” Kim-Park used oversized glass balls with candles for a whimsical yet modern touch — a crystal garland would work just as well against the hand-distressed texture of the table. She added large succulents with accents of fern greenery “for a more organic feel.”
“We like to take our themes to the max,” says Davies. “Sweet bird dishware and natural linen napkins take the stuffiness out of a formal event without compromising elegance. Layering multiple textures gives the setting a unique, eclectic look.” Pair vintage-inspired “found” dishware from flea markets and estate sales with your existing china to add personality to your table. And never underestimate the power of a napkin, says Hawrylo. “The right color or detail on a napkin can make a table pop. An easy way to add a little flavor to your napkin is by taking two napkins with two different colors and folding it to accomplish a two-tone napkin. This adds character and a little charm.”
Finish off the tablescape with fresh seasonal blooms. For this particular look, Kim-Park used ranunculus, peonies, tulips, fruitilaria and green viburnum in a gold alabaster glass urn, but she says natural florals in miniature vases spread throughout the table work, too.
Award-winning interior designer Surachai Tangsakyuen has created interiors for luxury hotels, spas and personal residences from Egypt to Hong Kong. Here, he provides tips on how to create mood-lifting home sanctuaries.
ISSUE: Fall 2011
STORY: Anna M. Park
Award-winning interior designer Surachai Tangsakyuen has created interiors for luxury hotels, spas and personal residences from Egypt to Hong Kong. The New York-based Thai native obtained his master’s in lighting at the Parson School of Design and is currently the chief interior designer at the international design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman. “Your home environment should be your sanctuary; it can have a huge impact on your mental and emotional well-being,” says Tangsakyuen. Here, he provides tips on how to create mood-lifting home sanctuaries.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Here are some stories
From Audrey mags old and new
For your enjoyment
‘Cause Audrey loves you!
Cover Feature | Hannah Simone of New Girl
Feature | Mother Superior
Plugged In | The Reeducation of Cherry Truong
Mind & Body | Detox and Cleanse
My Story | Balancing Life from Uneven Bars: Anna Li
The Awful Truth | Isn’t it Bromantic?
Entertaining | Dina Yuen
Cover Feature | Keeping Up with Kaling with The Office‘s Mindy Kaling
Feature | Booze Control
My Story | Dying to Be Me: Sarah Yeung
The Awful Truth | Grading the Hall Pass
Cultural Collage | Blog Spotlight: Cakies
Cover Feature | I Dream of Jenna with Glee’s Jenna Ushkowitz
Plugged In | The Fire Within book review
Personalities | Tim Kang
Personalities | Diana Reyes
Personalities | Brent Chua
Personalities | Rachael Yamagata
Personalities | David Chiu
Personalities | Rebecca Wang
Mind & Body | Audrey staff samples Supplements
Beauty | Lighten Up with brightening cosmetics
The Awful Truth | How the Internet Changed My Sex Life
Entertaining | Surachai Tangsakyuen
Cultural Collage | Through My Pen
Cover Feature | Unbound with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan’s Li Bing Bing
Plugged In | Daughter of the River Huong book review
Personalities | Ashok Amritraj
Personalities | Dilshad Vadsaria
Personalities | Jared Eng
Personalities | George Takei
Personalities | Priscilla Ahn
Personalities | Anjula Acharia-Bath
Mind & Body | Lose the Plastic with Angela Sun
Beauty | Sunscreen Special
Beauty | Cargo’s Judy Yonemoto
My Story | Patty Chang Anker
The Awful Truth | Dates of Glory
Entertaining | Royal/T’s Picnic Cocktail
Entertaining | Nami Design
Cultural Collage | Through My Lens: Desert Refuge
Cover Feature | New Munn Rising with Olivia Munn
Plugged In | The Devotion of Suspect X
Personalities | Steel Magnolia: Anisha Nagarajan
Personalities | Late Bloomer: Randall Park
Personalities | The Queen’s Speech: Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai
Personalities | The Storyteller: Jon M. Chu
Personalities | A Joyful Noise: The Go! Team
Personalities | Dream Weaver: T.V. Carpio
Audrey Style| Audrey It-Girl: Kelsey Chow
Mind & Body | Food Fail: Natalie Minh’s Nutrition Failures
The Awful Truth | The Back-Up Plan: How To Be a Good Wingman/woman
Entertaining | Japanese Cocktails
DestinAsian | Travel Gear
Cultural Collage | Through My Lens: Poppy Fever
Feature | Paradise Found: India’s Wellness Retreats
Plugged In | Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong
Personalities | On The Rise: YouTube Sensation Joseph Vincent
Personalities | The Glamorous Life: The Motivational Ruby Veridiano
Personalities | Party Time: Food Network Star Aarti Sequeira
Personalities | National Hero: The Green Hornet’s Jay Chou
Personalities | Soul Barer: Singer Heather Park
The Awful Truth | Dating for Dummies: New Year’s Resolutions
My Story | An Uncertain Education by Lianne Lin
Beauty | Lash Royalty’s Elizabeth Le Pek
Entertaining | Kabuki’s Master Sake Sommelier Yuji Matsumoto
Entertaining | Hot in the Kitchen with Kelly Choi
Through My Lens | Last Look of Winter
Feature | Something Old, Something New … Something Red?: Asian Wedding Superstitions
Personalities | Radical Reboot: Hawaii Five-O’s Grace Park
Personalities | Girl Next Door: Pretty Little Liar’s Shay Mitchell
The Awful Truth | The Office Grind: Intra-office Dating
My Story | The Giving Tree
Feature | Hip Hop Groundswell: Far East Movement
Feature | The New Rhythm Nation
Personalities | Comedian Steve Byrne
Personalities | Host Jeannie Mai
The Awful Truth | Going the Distance
My Story | Gianna Driver’s Cycle of Hope
Plugged In | The Surrendered by Chang Rae Lee
Feature | A Quiet Revolution: O.A.R.
Personalities | Thao Nguyen and Get Down Stay Down
The Awful Truth | Gaming the System
My Story | Veronica De La Cruz’s Fight For Life
Entertaining | In the Kitchen with Jaden Hair
Feature | Protecting Our Youth
Feature | The Spicy Trade
Girl Talk | Gleek Appeal: Jenna Ushkowitz
Audrey Man | New Moon’s Justin Chon
My Story | A New Direction
Plugged In | Thirsty For More: Park Chan-wook
Stylemaker | Seventy Two Changes
Girl Talk | A Wave of Love
We’re going to be constantly updating this archives page with our favorite stories from past Audrey issues so continue to check back when you have time. If you want to read the issues in print (and really, who doesn’t) and keep a little bit of Asian American history in your archives, check our shop to purchase back issues. But hurry — they sell out fast!
For Master Sake Sommelier Yuji Matsumoto — the first in the U.S. — sake is more than just sushi’s sidekick. Appreciating Japan’s native drink is all about “designing taste.”
ISSUE: Winter 2010-11
STORY: Anna M. Park
Master Sake Sommelier Yuji Matsumoto pours the Oyama sake into a white wine glass. Holding the base and stem, he swirls, then sniffs. Fruity. Tart. Perhaps a hint of pear? It’s a familiar scene at any wine tasting, but for sake? Indeed, says Matsumoto, one of only 60 certified master sake sommeliers in the world. In sake, it’s all about taste, he adds, as opposed to varietals or regions.
In fact, Matsumoto gives seminars on “designing taste,” informing the industry on brewing standards, mill percentages and aging. He’s a man who takes his work seriously, so you have to give Kabuki restaurants real cred that it’s got the U.S.’s first (and until recently, only) master sake sommelier on board. Matsumoto oversees all of the 14 Kabuki restaurants’ extensive sake and cocktail menu, making sure to complement Corporate Executive Chef Masa Kurihara’s newly unveiled menu of both traditional and innovative Japanese cuisine. Started in 1991 when owner David Lee opened the first Kabuki in Pasadena, Calif., today the 14 Kabukis in the western U.S. include restaurants in Las Vegas and their newest location in Brea, Calif.
Master Sake Sommelier Yuji Matsumoto’s Plum Orange Tokyo Mojito
7-8 mint leaves
2 oz Jinro Soju 2.5 Takara Plum Wine
1 oz bar syrup
Dash of Yuzu juice (a Japanese citrus)
2 orange wheels
Muddle and mix the first five ingredients. Top off with club soda and garnish with orange wheels.
How many times have you heard this one: “Ya know, [insert Asian group here] are the Irish of Asia!” Well, this St. Paddy’s Day, I’m turning this around. The Irish are the Asians of Europe, and to celebrate, we’re making soju cocktails.
We recently got a bottle of Ty Ku Premium Liqueur in the office (strictly for professional test kitchen purposes). Besides its nifty light-up bottle, we were intrigued by the company’s claim that the liqueur only has 72 calories per serving. Now, I’m not the biggest soju fan, but I could get my St. Paddy’s day off to a good start with Ty Ku Premium Liqueur. It’s soju, but it’s mixed with Asian super fruits like mangosteen and goji berry, which are full of antioxidant good stuff. And when you’re looking forward to the one night of the year where drinking is celebrated, you need all the antioxidants you can get.
But the best part is that each Ty Ku cocktail purportedly has just 100 calories per serving. Much better than the pint of Guinness I was planning on nursing the whole of the night. My Asian eyes will definitely be smiling. What are your St. Patrick’s Day plans?
1.5 ounces TY KU Liqueur
0.25 ounces Soju
Squeeze of lemon
Shake in a cocktail shaker and pour into a martini glass.