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Six weeks after her departure from Veranda, the former editor-in-chief Dara Caponigro will begin a new chapter outside of magazine publishing as creative director of Schumacher and Patterson, Flynn & Martin. Starting today, she will lead the development of collections, manage the design staff, and work closely with visual merchandising and marketing teams.
"I wanted to think out of the box and find someone who would bring a fresh perspective," said Schumacher ceo Terri Eagle. "It was important to have someone with exceptional taste levels, a love of the luxury brand experience, and a great appreciation for quality craftsmanship and design. It was also important to have someone with experience in many categories—not just interior design. Dara loves and understands fine objects of desire, jewelry, and high-end luxury products."
Perhaps the most important factor in choosing Caponigro for the job, according to Eagle, is that she has great respect from interior designers and understands their needs. "Compared to someone coming from within the walls of a studio, Dara has touched the outside and has hands-on experience in the marketplace. That was really appealing."
Eagle recalled a visit from Dara during the preview of Alessandra Branca's new fabric collection. "I was watching her work and noticed how intently she looked, touched and commented on the fabrics—she has a real vision for colorways. I've personally admired and respected her since we met three years ago; she’s a special lady. As a total package it is wonderful for me to have the opportunity to work with her."
According to Caponigro, "It's become harder and harder to find beautifully made things and I love the fact that Schumacher has stuck to its guns and continues to do just that. But, it is doing that in a way that doesn't feel stuck in the past. It is a company that continues to move forward."
Caponigro's first initiative will be to work on the collections to celebrate Schumacher's 125th anniversary. "I'm going to the archives in a few weeks (I was actually there once in my role at Veranda and it is a treasure trove!) to get inspired. I will also be working on a new advertising campaign that will incorporate my passion for photography and art direction," she said.
What is she looking forward to most? "Learning! To me, that's one of the most exhilarating things one can do. And, of course, I'm really looking forward to working with creative designers who never fail to inspire me. Each magazine that I've worked for (Veranda, domino, Elle Decor, House Beautiful) has taught me a different thing. At Veranda, we took a well-loved brand and moved it forward without alienating the existing reader, growing our circulation in a time when a lot of magazines were down. At domino, we created something from the ground-up that readers found intoxicating. It's really about understanding what the brand is and using that as a launching point for whatever you do."