If you’ve been in a designer’s studio or showroom, you know it can be a hectic place: samples being trafficked, an intern or two running around, and a flurry of activity surrounding the creative mind at the center of it all. Designer Victor Alfaro’s space is different. It’s a small pool of tranquility, floating six stories over Chelsea.
“What was important to me was that, when you walk into the space, I want to you to feel as if it’s my home,” Alfaro told us recently on a sunny afternoon when we stopped by for a visit. “A lot of people walk into an office and it feels like work. For me, it’s my life. I don’t know how to separate the two, so this is just another space that I inhabit.”
Alfaro, an industry veteran of more than 20 years, brings the same thoughtful consideration to both his space and to his namesake collection, an approachable but austere mix of sumptuous fabrics and modern lines. Scroll on for a look inside the orderly space and the orderly mind behind it before popping over to Barneys.com for a closer look at the fruit of Victor’s design labors.
“I’m an extremely private person. But here, it’s OK. You can walk around—you can feel who I am here.”
“Contemporary art is something that inspires me a lot. I find that it can be very timely as far as what I’m feeling or what I’m attracted to at the moment. As a designer, it’s very important to be able to capture that zeitgeist,color and texture, those abstract elements. The contemporary art world is very in sync with the design world.”
“A friend of mine came in last week and said, ‘You know, I work down the block, and I have to resist the urge to bother you. I always want to stop in because your space looks so zen and so tranquil—it’s very relaxed here.’ So I said, ‘Come on in! Just don’t bring your bad vibes.'”
“The space consists of the finished collection up at the front, then the next collection being formed in the center. The side walls have half-formed thoughts, the embryos, where there’s no real identity yet.”
“You won’t see inspiration boards for me ever. Some people do them very well, but I don’t want to be restricted and bound by them, or design to them. I don’t want to design like that because women don’t dress like that. I design for a variety of needs and lifestyles, and when you are so specific about who your inspiration is, it can be limiting.”
“I am very disciplined about my process, especially the fabric selection, which is very crucial. You choose fabrics based on what you’re trying to say, and sometimes you just choose things that you like without knowing why. It’s an instinctual thing. It’s like when you’re cooking and throw things into the pot, and eventually you hope it tastes good. It may end up too salty or too sweet, but you have a certain hand that’s consistent. When people say, ‘Oh, it looks very you,’ I don’t even know what that means, but it shows a result of my usual ingredients and process.”
“First fabrics, then color, and then I always identify what silhouette looks fresh. The rest is very methodical, but it’s fun—I’m having a really good time.”
“I have hundreds and hundreds of photographs, they’re all archived,but I only want to look at them sometimes. So I’ll walk in [that little closet], look at them, but then shut the door. I don’t always want to have things out. Sometimes you just want to have nothing. The space feels like a home because you don’t see everything out. You don’t see how it works—you just know that it does.”
“I come here, and I close the door and start reading or listening to music. I read every single morning and every single night. I read and just feed my brain. I meditate. I do exercise every day. For me at this age, the design process needs to include time for myself. I think you have to nurture yourself otherwise nothing comes out.”
“I’m not a person who ponders too much about decisions. I can sit at a table and make color decision and shape decisions really, really fast. I don’t take a long time to make decisions in my life about anything.”
“When you walk in here, you get a sense of who I am and the aesthetic that I have, and that translates into my clothes, too.”
“What you see in my office are the things that I’m working with at the moment, the objects that I want to look at now. I’m always looking for a gallery or a painting or an artist that triggers something and that opens the brain for inspiration. For these past weeks, it’s been these contemporary art auction catalogs. All the other books there are birthday gifts that I recently received, photographs that I got, things that I want to live with for the next few months.”
“I love when I walk in here and I see some of my favorite things, like my favorite chairs and the lighting I love. And I love that it’s quiet. I’ve designed the space so that I can really enjoy quiet here. I soundproofed the back office, and it’s so quiet that even the reception on my phone doesn’t work here!”