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It can be said with certainty that Sam Allen was born with good taste. The Connecticut-based interior designer was just 19 years old when his career skyrocketed, being tapped to participate in the late Albert Hadley’s “Room With a View” show house. From then, he has been infusing his impeccable style and love for design in his work at his company, Sam Allen Interiors. Here, he shares his style icon, his inspiration, and what his dream closet looks like.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’d say that it’s “fresh traditional.” I like crisp, modern neutrals with a personalized edge, nodding toward trends without being a slave to them. My personal style idol is Brunello Cucinelli; his clothes are so luxurious and beautiful, but there’s strong substance behind his style.
What’s your daily uniform?
As a designer of course my presentation is very important to me, but I’m always so busy that everything has to be streamlined and functional, so I lean towards neutrals. On an average day you’re likely to find me in white APC jeans, cream Common Project sneakers, a white Cucinelli oxford, and always my Rolex Daytona. In the event of a chill I may throw on a vneck with suede elbow patches.
How does the way you dress inform or inspire your business?
A strong personal style is definitive—it determines your dress, your business, your interiors and your lifestyle. So I’d say it’s more that my personal style influences both my dress and my business. I always pay attention to details, I always try to keep things fresh, and I’m always influenced by the classics. Beyond that .... The color orange is a bit of a signature of mine.
Where do you find inspiration when designing your spaces?
Everything begins with my clients; I get inspired by their lives, their personalities, and their needs. Once I have that information, inspiration is never far behind. I can’t always pinpoint where inspiration has come from—I draw from everything around me. I’m very visual, and I keep a mental catalogue of images from travel, culture, and art. [See one of Sam's projects below.]
What’s the most cherished item in your closet?
Everything by Brunello Cucinelli. His pieces are simple but not plain. Luxurious, but not showy. Understated but lovingly created. You can sense his business philosophy from those details; it’s rooted in humanist philosophy, invested in giving back and making the world a better place. And what would we never find in your closet? I love things that are fun and show personality, but I really just don’t have time for things that don’t work seamlessly into my life.
Finish this sentence, you can never have too many...
Minutes of the day!
If you could design a no-holds-barred, no-budget dream closet for yourself, what would it look like?
I’d model it after a beautiful tailor’s studio in Italy, with lots of Loro Piano men’s suiting fabrics and luxurious suede. I’m visualizing rich wood, natural light and high ceilings.
Whose closet would you love to raid?
Bradley Cooper, JFK, and, of course, Brunello Cucinelli.