A FASHIONABLE LIFE: RYAN KORBAN



It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who's met Ryan Korban, the interior designer for the downtown New York set, that he moved to the city to study drama. But after working in local theater productions while studying at the New School, the ever-animated Philadelphia native made a career-defining observation. "It dawned on me that I had no interest in being an actor," he says, laughing. "I was really into the sets." That fascination, however, was heavily influenced by classmates and fashion-obsessed best friends Alexander Wang and Victoria Traina.

Korban, 27, soon realized that merging the worlds of interiors and fashion was his calling. He designed his first major project, the ornate accessories shop Edon Manor in Tribeca, which he cofounded with his friend Davinia Wang, during his senior year. Call it an unofficial but inspiring thesis. "We opened it in 2007," Korban recalls. "It was an affirmation that yes, I can do this, and that's when people started calling."

Though Korban now counts models Natasha Poly and Jessica Stam as clients (Julia Stegner, pictured here, is a friend), Alexander Wang was one of the first. He hired Korban to design his showroom in 2008, and last year Korban worked on both Wang's cavernous new loft apartment and SoHo flagship store, which has the memorable flourish of a black fox-fur hammock. "We both appreciate beautiful things, but we're not afraid of disregarding their pretentious aspects," says Wang of his friend. "He loves the Carlyle, but at the same time we can chill at the noodle joint in Chinatown."

Korban describes his style as a mix of sex, romance, and fantasy. "I love that Italian look from the 1970s, when tacky looked expensive," he says. Fittingly, his own SoHo apartment has coyote and fox-fur throws, brass-accented pieces from the SoHo furniture company Flair, and shagreen tables and chairs from R&Y Augousti. Korban's rental is, in typical New York fashion, relatively small, but he doesn't see lack of space as an obstacle. "It's not the size or price but what you do with it," he says.

Still, visual decadence is his calling card. "People ask me if we should do silver or gold, and I'm like, 'Both!'" he says with a laugh. Though it's not for sheer luxury's sake. "It's not just to look rich. The fur is always coordinated. While it's glamorous, it's been thought out." But how will he top Wang's hammock? "I really want to do a fur teepee next," he says. "I don't know who it will be for, but it's going to happen."
Harper's Bazaar

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