When I connected with Design Star castoff Tom Vecchione yesterday afternoon, I loved him immediately. What a great laugh! What interesting insight! He’s knowledgeable and articulate without coming off as snotty or above anyone. His quiet confidence stands in sharp contrast to fellow competitors who feel like they have to beat you over the head with their supposed greatness…and I’m not just referring to this season. There’s at least one designer every cycle whose ego surpasses evidence of their talent.
First of all, I did a lot of research before the season aired and I didn’t really find a lot of stuff on you until late last night. I didn’t realize you were such a god of the design world!
If you could see me, I’d be a red face with a big smile, laughing. That’s an interesting way of putting it—I wish the judges saw it that way! Thank you for the compliment. I’ve been doing this for a long time and my heart’s really in it.
You don’t strike me as being the type of guy who spends a lot of time watching TV. Did you see the show before?
I did see the show before—once. I’ll be honest. I travel a lot for work and I’ve spent the last umpteen years growing this company and really focusing on taking it global. I do a lot of corporate, big-scale projects. I don’t have a lot of time to sit and watch TV so I didn’t know the show that well, but I knew it had a great reputation. I knew people were really excited by it and I thought it would be really fun to dive into this other kind of arena that I haven’t been in and just kind of test my mettle. I’ll have fun with it and see where it takes me. It was thrilling–absolutely thrilling. It was like going to design camp! How could anyone give up this unbelievable opportunity to go to design camp? Nobody ever said it was going to be the Survivor of design camp!
Your attire caught a lot of attention. Did you ruin any of your fabulous suits during the making of Design Star?
I really didn’t ruin anything. I’m sort of European this way, but I have no problem if there’s a stain or a little paint on a suit. If it’s good, it wears in–not out! I don’t mind if you see a little paint spot. I have something to talk about when I walk into a client meeting. If they see a beautiful Zegna suit and say, “What’s that little red thing?” I say, “That was the time I was on Design Star!” It’s a great storytelling technique, to have your $2,000 suit splattered with paint! When I was getting involved with the show, I said, “I’ve just gotta be who I am. I’m just going to be the person I am every day.” That’s really who I am. There really wasn’t that much damage though.
Well, you’re a better painter than I am then! But…speaking of paint…
There are a bazillion shades of blue in denim. What made you pick the shade you selected for the bathroom?
I love spas. I love feeling like you’re going into a cave. I love that grotto effect—that dark, rich feeling. I love blue. Obviously, if you take a look at my wardrobe, I have a range from blue to dark gray. That’s my palette. I’d just recently been staying at the Observatory Hotel while I was working in Australia and they had this wonderful pool. The pool was in a sunken grotto. The ceiling was this cobalt—that really, really dark blue. It had all these stars in the ceiling. I would swim every morning before going to work and it just really had these strong memories for me. So when I was thinking about luxury and the Trump brand—and there was this kind of rich blue in the lobby, I noticed too—I tried to interpret that upstairs in the bathroom. I was trying to get that sense that you’re in the grotto–you’re cool, you’re in the spa. It connoted luxury for me. I think in the end, it really didn’t have that “wow” effect I wanted. I opened up that can of paint and was like, “Okay, it’s not quite there, but I’m gonna go for it.”