As the son of an interior designer, Michael's youth was spent accompanying his mother to showrooms.
Michael Halpern, head of Halpern Design in New York City, has had a diverse career. As the son of an interior designer, his youth was spent accompanying his mother to showrooms and to her clients’ homes, learning the ins and outs of the design business through osmosis. Constantly surrounded by art and design from an early age, he grew to love the industry for many reasons – “the creativity, the clients and the global travel” are among his favourite aspects.
His dual track education at Princeton University of Creative Writing and Art History led him first into the publishing business, and then into the entertainment business, where he worked in film and television at Warner Bros and HBO in Los Angeles. His transition into the design industry came through the suggestions of friends who admired the work he had done in his own homes.
Michael Halpern draws on inspiration from multiple elements - from topography through to fashion
Throughout his love and experience of design, Michael Halpern draws on inspiration from multiple elements - from topography through to fashion. That’s what makes him shine uniquely, and consequently, bring forth stunning creations. He mostly seeks inspiration from outside of his niche in the world of interior design – travel, typography, fashion, architecture, and jewelry design all feature heavily in his list of influences.
His design icons are an eclectic mix. “David Hicks was one designer I always looked up to in terms of his fearless use of color and his balance of the old and new. Zaha Hadid was another incredible force, and an inspiration to me as a woman, pushing boundaries in the male-dominated field of architecture. Karl Lagerfeld was someone I always looked to, his work at Chanel and, in particular, his use of clean lines, impeccable tailoring, luxurious textiles, and exquisite detailing were complete without fault, and remain unsurpassed”.
There is a conscious step back in his work, from the factory-made middle-market towards an appreciation of fine craftsmanship, original thought, authentic heritage, and intricate detailing
Regardless of the projects that Michael embraces, he’s capable of being a design chameleon of sorts. His designs are “continuously changing, and the inspirations and thought processes behind them are always evolving”. Michael has a knack for transforming each project that he embarks on.
There is a need that he identified for exclusivity, uniqueness, originality, and personalization. No one wants what everyone else has. Designs and objects need to be completely individual, and where relevant, tailored to their owner’s personal wants and needs.
There is a conscious step back in his work, from the factory-made middle-market towards an appreciation of fine craftsmanship, original thought, authentic heritage, and intricate detailing. “You see this in fashion, architecture and interiors as well as all other visual arts,” says Halpern. Bespoke projects, along with customization of every element is the preferred choice of every design lover, and this made him a designer of choice for THE GUESTLIST.
Being serious about design, but also serious about fun, is what distinguishes Michael’s collections.
Being serious about design, but also serious about fun is what distinguishes Michael’s collections. Made to be unique and lighthearted, the quality craftsmanship, bright colours, and intricate detailing create the luxurious and eclectic feel of his collections for THE GUESTLIST. It is clear that the essence of timelessness is also established, through the splitting of the original collection into Seasonless Essentials and Cool Temperature Essentials - each able to be worn across seasons, or layered into different looks, independent of structure.
Crazy paisley in agave and spring green, or greige and grey, is knitted into both the the Titus V-Neck Cardigan and the Tilden Cardigan. Alternatively, if you’d prefer only a spot of paisley, then you can choose the patterned Taz Hat or the Taizen Scarf.
If making a statement is what you prefer, then the Takao or Thor Sweaters enable you to do just that, with words knitted into bold colours across the chest. Transformation is the key when looking at the design behind his Turner Sweater, as it was inspired by an aversion to the commitment needed to choose a tattoo. Instead, Michael says that he “put a sexy tattoo on the sleeve” so that he can “put on the tattoo and take it off whenever I want.”