In the mid ’90s Jarlath Mellett, then the director of design at Brooks Brothers, put the storied American brand back on the map by making the colors bolder and the tailoring sleeker. But after two decades in fashion design, Mellett was ready for a change. “It was time for something new,” he says.
With that, Mellett entered the world of interiors. Although he's now dressing homes instead of people, his design approach holds steady. "I see interiors from a fashion-design standpoint," he says. "My aesthetic has a vintage twist in regard to the resources we use, but a fashion twist in how we put the house together. Even the stitching in our fabrics is often driven by fashion."
Mellett cultivated his talent in his quiet hometown of Tipperary, Ireland. “Things weren’t easily available [in rural Ireland], so you had to invent them,” he says. “Imagination was all you had to work with.” Eventually, Mellett found his way to New York to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. His interest in interiors surfaced while decorating his home in South Hampton. “I realized it was another way of expressing myself,” he says.
Recently, the owners of a downtown loft in the heart of SoHo hired Mellett after visiting his design shop in the Hamptons. “The client works in fashion, so we had a common language,” he says. Outfitted in neutral tones, the space is both romantic and earthy, creating a balance between the feminine and masculine. Mellett calls the loft “a little dream.” “It’s something you would never expect walking into this apartment from the streets of SoHo,” he says. “It’s a feast for your eyes.”