Today we are delighted to welcome a delightful addition to The Glam Pad team… Natalie Aldridge, our newest Contributing Editor! A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Natalie spends her days as Junior Interior Designer and Project Manager for Sarah Magness Design. At night, she freelances for publications such as Guest of a Guest and creates works of art for both personal pleasure and commission. She also enjoys needlepoint, collecting antiques, and travel. Natalie’s style can be described as an irreverent combination of whimsy and tradition. She draws heavy influence from the past and has a passion for neoclassical elegance, old-world glamour, and eccentric characters. A self-proclaimed Old Soul, Natalie’s classic, timeless style is reminiscent of an iconic Hitchcock Blonde.
In the past, Natalie has worked for John Rosselli & Associates and Scott Sanders Interior Design. She has also worked for Lilly Pulitzer as well as the London-based French Connection. She has collaborated with entities such as The Holland Society of New York and House Beautiful magazine among others.
Let’s get to know more about Natalie!
Q: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in interior design, and what brought you to New York City?
A: I started developing a keen awareness of the arts as a child. I always involved myself in art classes, fussed over my clothing, and sought out aesthetic experiences. I knew I wanted to do something creative. I grew up in the Midwest where I felt out of place and longed for space where culture and creativity rained paramount. Rather than dueling on this, I spent much of my time developing my artistic ability and personal style. Something very pivotal for me was taking sewing classes from a local woman, Mrs. Quilling. I would ride my back after tennis lessons to her home where she would teach young girls of the town how to sew from her basement studio.
It wasn’t until the teen years that I realized being an interior designer was an actual profession and could be studied. I toyed with the idea but ultimately opted for the fashion industry. At eighteen I moved to New York for university and began working in fashion. I quickly realized while I love the art of fashion, I did not enjoy the industry and began wiggling my way into the interior design industry. I ultimately graduated magna cum laude from Parsons School of Design and have been growing my career in interior design since age twenty.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of interior design, and why did you choose it over fashion?
A: The intimacy of interior design is one of my favorite aspects. Whether one is designing a singular space or entire home for an individual, developing a deep understanding of their lives and building personal connections is vital to producing successful work. Interior design at its surface is cosmetic but on a much deeper level, interior design is the psychological art of living well.
At one point in history, it was commonplace for a man or a woman to have their clothing tailored to their bodies making for an intimate experience. This is rather unusual these days which has led to a distinct lack of intimacy in the fashion industry. While I adore the art of fashion, the personal intimacy and scale of work in interior design won my passion.
Q: How do you define your style?
A: Timeless with a dash of irreverence. My affinity for old-world sensibility and glamour has informed the timeless aspects of my style. My penchant for the creative, the wacky, and the wild drives the irreverence. Think Grace Kelly meets Auntie Mame.
Q: After a year of Zoom meetings and sweat pants, do you think glamour will make a comeback?
A: I sure hope as much! Then again, I have been trying to bring glamour back since I can remember, and it will be on my headstone. I am truly tired of people dressing like they have been plucked from the Great Depression. I think as a society we have forgotten our manners and lost our panache. Dressing well is not only a form of self-expression but self-respect.
The current trend seems rather confused. There seems to be a push and pull between designers who are looking towards the excitement of a post-pandemic world and those who have a grimmer outlook. I hope that as we move into better times that fashion follows. I feel a personal duty to inspire others to bring glamour into their lives.
Q: Who are your favorite designers (past and present)?
A: That’s a tough question! For interiors – Tony Duquette, Jacques Grange, Jean-Louis Denoit, Beata Heuman, Jacques Garcia, Martin Brudnizki, and Madeleine Castaing top my list.
For fashion – Dior, particularly during the 1950s, Valentino, Miu Miu, old school Prada, Carolina Herrera, Bob Mackie, and Pierre Cardin. I am also in love with newer designers like Markarian and Emilia Wickstead. I could go on. There are many designers I love for different reasons and at different periods of history.
Q: And your favorite trendsetters/style icons for fashion inspiration?
A: I tend to go back to historical figures for inspiration- Diana Vreeland, 1960s Catherine Deneuve, Princess Diana, Marie Antoinette, Doris Duke, Françoise Hardy, Edith Sitwell, Salvador Dali, and Isabella Blow.
Some of my favorite contemporary trendsetters include women like Alexa Chung, Jenny Walton, and Camille Charriere. I think those three ladies are true trailblazers with impeccable personal style.
Q: What are 5 everyday luxuries you could not live without?
A: Airpods, my laptop, a moleskin notebook, fresh bed linens, and good coffee.
Q: I love your artwork, please tell me about your inspiration.
A: I think I have a perverse attraction to chaos and oddity. As much as I am timeless and a magpie for old-world glamour, unexpected juxtaposition fascinates me and fuels my imagination. Much of my artwork is an exploration of my current obsessions or bits and pieces of ideas I am fiddling with. I go through phases of mediums as well. Most recently I have been working in multimedia collage. I adore placing bizarre pieces floating around my head together to create a composition.
Q: What are your favorite movie houses, and your favorite movies for overall inspiration?
A: I am huge on art house kind of films, old Hollywood, period pieces, and documentaries. Some of my favorites include The Eye has to Travel (2011), Blue Velvet (1986), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Auntie Mame (1958), Valley of the Dolls (1967), Marie Antoinette (2006), and An Education (2009). I also adore anything Wes Anderson especially The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
*Click here for more of Natalie’s favorite movies for creative inspiration!
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I’m such a history junkie so I love to check out different streets, buildings, neighborhoods, etc. in New York that I have read about and studied. I could moonlight as a tour guide. When traveling I also love to read about obscure history and off-the-beaten-path places to explore in whatever city or country I am headed to.
I delight in working with my hands and exercising my artistic muscle by painting, building something, sewing, needlepointing, anything hands-on really. I am always looking for a new medium to take up and starting a random project.
Antiquing is also a big thing for me. I am on continuous hunt for my next treasure. I think high-end hoarder is the proper terminology. I may have to take out a storage unit soon.
We are thrilled to have Natalie on board and look forward to an extra dose of Glam at The Glam Pad! You can follow Natalie on Instagram at @nataliealdridge and check out her blog to read her design musings and purchase her fascinating artwork.