Gaux Girl - Dara Caponigro

2018-02-24

Aesthetics are important to Dara Caponigro, and as the Creative Director of Schumacher and author of the newly-published book, The Authentics, Dara's editorial eye is unmatched in matters of both interior design and personal style. During our visit to the Schumacher showroom - an aesthete's mecca in its own right - Dara showed us fabrics from the latest Schumacher collections in two of her signature navy dresses, which she paired with our Midnight Heel.

After oggling over Schumacher's signature prints and textures (which we first glimpsed with Gaux Girls Alyssa Kapito and Vivian Muller), we joined Dara for a walk through Manhattan's design district, chatting about her recent book release and the muses who inspire her life and work. Read on for more from our visit, and to see how this design insider styled The Heel in Midnight.

Meet Our Gaux Girl:

I'm the Creative Director for Schumacher, the prestigious fabric and wallpaper house. I've been at Schumacher for four years now which follows a career as a magazine editor. I'm a working mom - which hasn't always been easy -- I say it's an exercise in self-deprivation -- but it is gratifying all the same. I've also got a new book coming out which I co-authored with photographer Melanie Acevedo. The Authentics pays tribute to creative individuals (interior designers, architects, actors, artists, jewelry designers, etc.) who march to the beat of their own drum. They are truly inspiring - I still get the chills when I read their interviews because they are so honest and forthcoming about what makes them tick. Authenticity is very important to me as the creative director at Schumacher - it's something we are relentless about, and it plays a big part in my personal life, as well.

From Veranda to Schumacher, how have your positions within the design industry inspired your definition of smart design? What do you consider to be smart design at this point in both your life and career?

I remember when I was twenty-something and had my first magazine job and thought I knew everything. It was back in the '80s, and it was the height of over-the-top decoration. My initial reaction was to scoff at it because I grew up in a clean, modern house and had minimalist leanings. But, I learned so much from the decorators of that day -- Mario Buatta, David Easton, Tom Britt. Was the decorating at that time my personal taste? No, but, I learned to respect wholeheartedly what these people did and how much they knew, and I grew to appreciate design from many different eras. 

This is all a long way of saying that I think smart design has to come from a place of knowledge, of an educated eye, no matter what your taste. Otherwise, you wind up in the world of the gimmicky, which to me is one of the worst places you can go aesthetically. It's something we think about all the time at Schumacher, too, because we have such a range of product given that we've been around since 1889. Each January we launch a collection that comes from our archives, but we also have a design studio that creates original, contemporary patterns. What unites all of it? That same educated eye.

You’ve mentioned that heels are a core element of your everyday style. Why is this particular style your perfect pair of shoes and what role do you think they play in the modern woman’s wardrobe?

I've always loved a heel, and this one is just the right height and the perfect classic shape that goes with pants, dresses, and skirts. It speaks to everything I've mentioned above - it's smartly designed and not gimmicky.

A change in seasons often signals a change in aesthetic. How often does your eye or design preference evolve and what inspires you visually? 
Fall is my favorite season! And, I love fall clothes because they tend to be better constructed, less casual and more of a statement. Jeans and t-shirts have never been my thing - I've always loved "to dress" and fall is a great excuse to do so.  To me, it's a time to buy a new wardrobe, re-decorate, re-energize.

Who is a gaux girl in your life that you always look to for musings, style or inspiration, no matter the season?
My mom. She is 85, endlessly creative and always looks amazingly pulled together. I love how she's not afraid to break the rules - she's the only woman her age that I know who owns a pair of camouflage pants.

What does being "a girl on the go” mean to you and where do you hope you’re going next?
Being a girl on the go means listening to my inner voice, being open to the people and world around me and making sure that I continually learn new things. Not sure where I'm going next -- I like to let life surprise me.

Gaux and change the world by taking the time to be really good at something.

Dara wears The Heel in Midnight

Photos by Bridget Badore for Margaux

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