Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, behold, because today you are in the presence of organizing royalty. Melanie Fascitelli is the president and creative director of Clos-ette, a design firm she founded in 2002. Clos-ette’s team includes both designers and architects who work to construct luxury closets based around client’s wardrobes.
Melanie is considered to be the closet designer to the stars, having worked with countless celebrities including Eva Longoria, Julianna Margulies, Michael Jordan, and countless others around the world. She has been featured in Vogue, InStyle, People, Town and Country, and Forbes, just to name a few. Melanie has also designed a line of storage solution products called “Clos-ette Too,” and written the closet guide book “Shop Your Closet: The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Closet with Style.”
Today, Melanie shares with us her approach to organizing, some closet tips, and how she feels about her work. Read it, love it!
Organizing a person’s closet is really very intimate work. Not only are people allowing you access into their private world, but they are doing so from a position of vulnerability. They are showing you a space in their home that they may not feel proud of, that they need help with. As an organizer, what has this experience been like for you?
As an organizational designer (we are not truly just organizers) I so enjoy the experience of getting to know each individual client and customizing a program and method which works for them. It’s problem solving, and puzzles you figure out each piece by piece. I love it.
You launched Clos-ette in 2002, meaning you’ve been at this officially for a decade now. How has your approach to organizing evolved over the years?
Well, we truly go at our designs from a mathematical approach, combined with that geometry is the X factor of the architecture of the home or space and the wardrobe. That has become so much more defined and refined over the years simply by so many projects and so much experience. We have now officially designed more than 500 closets.
You were quoted in a New York Post article as having said that the idea for Clos-ette came together during a phone call over lunch one day when Vogue asked to profile your company that wasn’t yet in existence. You told them you’d call them back, and promptly scribbled down the company name and logo on a restaurant napkin. Two months later, Vogue had a legitimate company to profile. How were you able to pull off launching Clos-ette in that short time period, and how do you feel now as you look back on how it all came together?
All I can think is it was like that song Eminem sings. I knew I needed to take a shot here and I needed to just do it…it didn’t magically come together. It took a lot of hard work and of course some luck! I’m so glad I didn’t think it through too much and I just dove in though, that is my personality and in this situation it worked out really well. I’m a serious doer. Probably why I married a thinker.
In your book, “Shop Your Closet: The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Closet with Style,” you introduce “The Ten Commandments of Hanging,” which include “Thou shalt banish wire hangers from thy closet,” “Thou shalt have matching hangers,” “Thou shalt color code,” and “Thou shalt not hang thy clothes with strangers.” These are all ways to, in your words, “merchandise” your clothing. What have you found to be so effective about this approach?
It is a conditioning system, very similar to a diet regimen that works, like Atkins or Dukan Diet. You give a client an easy system, one that works and they practice and use and they become organized.
Which of your ten commandments do people most struggle to abide by, and what do you think it is about that particular commandment that makes it difficult to obey?
Thou Shalt not hang clothes with strangers. People just get lazy about separating and putting like with like. It needs to become a habit to hang shirts with shirts, pants with pants, suits with suits and so on.
Similarly, what single commandment is most effective for transforming a person’s closet?
Thou shalt have matching hangers!!! An instant makeover! Having the same style hanger helps with the uniformity of your closet and allows all your clothing to hang in the same manner.
You love to use the term “edit” to describe the act of purging items from a closet. Can you share why you think that term is fitting?
Like an editor for a fashion mag serves her magazine with her best curated version of collections, an edit of one’s personal wardrobe can transform a closet and make it merchandised and shop-able!
You seem to know the importance and benefit of keeping your possessions pared down to the essentials, yet your work brings you into contact with people who, presumably, have some pretty elaborate closets. How do you reconcile this?
I do edits with these clients, get into their psyche and figure out what they need their edited closet to be. When I do private client work I get the opportunity to do a VERY custom set of rules for that individual.
What’s the most memorable closet conundrum you’ve ever solved?
Figuring out how to organize the costumes of a performer. Usually a musical performer is always a big challenge or a vintage collector who wants to have a half functional closet and half display!
Someone who has devoted their lives to perfecting other people’s closets must have a killer closet of her own. What features of your own closet do you particularly love?
I love my Clos-ette too Signature blue hangers available at www.clos-ettetoo.com. I love the color blue and I love the way they look against my teal colored closet! I also love my clos-ette by nanz hardware in brass…available at www.nanz.com_ AMAZING!
What’s your favorite piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to others?
Don’t be lazy. Organized closets and great style takes practice and condition. Work the ten commandants and you will have the closet of your dreams!
Are you drooling over your keyboard or is that just me? I think Melanie is dead on when she says laziness is what stands between you and an organized closet. What’s your favorite take-away?