Designer Natasja Sadi represents old-school glamour and style, in the same vein as taste-maker extraordinaire Carolyne Roehm. She always looks perfectly put together, as does her home, and turns even the most mundane of events into something special. Off-days do not appear to exist in her vocabulary, yet she carries it all off with such aplomb that I often wonder why I can’t do the same (the easy answer: I think I’m too lazy!). I like to think of Natasja as Holland’s answer to Martha Stewart. Suriname-born Dutch transplant Natasja started off as a designer of one-of-a-kind wedding gowns that are particularly in favor with Dutch society, but aren’t limited to our borders. She’s been dressing women for special occasions, namely weddings, for almost eighteen years now, and launched a gorgeous line for their young daughters and granddaughters in January of last year.
As a one-time client of Natasja’s (she made me a stunning confection for a wedding that I was in a number of years ago) I can attest to her skill as a dress maker and as an arbiter of style. As a guest in her home I can also say that she leaves nothing to chance. Her ability to transform any space into a thing of beauty and make visitors feel absurdly special is second to none. Evidence of this is her home on one of the picturesque Amsterdam canals, of which I’ve included a number of pictures below.
Over a lunch of delicious soup and a delicate salmon quiche, I took the opportunity to question her extensively about a myriad of subjects regarding style, decorating and fashion. For more information about Natasja and her collection, check out her website here.
Name your favorite chair/lamp/design genius and interior designer:
– Any kind of slipper chair. They’re so versatile, not too big or too small, just perfect. I think the best lamp is a chandelier, and that every home should have at least one. I think Charles and Ray Eames designed the most amazing pieces, but I believe Sir Terence Conran laid the groundwork for many contemporary styles and is responsible for how many people decorate their homes nowadays. In terms of favorite designer, I have three: Roger Banks-Pye, Lars Bolander and Nate Berkus.
Which beauty product would you never leave the house without?
– Clinique’s Chubby Stick.
What do you always keep in your bag?
– My iPhone. I’d be totally lost without it!
What is your favorite holiday destination?
– The Great Barrier Reef for scuba diving and a private villa on Bali that belongs to great friends of ours.
What is your favorite restaurant/bar/lunchroom?
– In Amsterdam, Restaurant Anna for dinner and Il Trammezzino on the Haarlemmerstraat for lunch. In New York, I love the bar on the top floor of the Mandarin Oriental in the Time Warner building, and always go to Chipotle for their burrito.
Whose style inspires you most?
– Carolina Herrera and her daughters.
What is your favorite house cleaning trick?
– When I mop the floor, I always add fresh lime to the soapy mixture. It doesn’t just smell good, but it also wards off the bad spirits. At least, that’s what we believe in Suriname.
What is your favorite movie?
– Scent of a Woman. I’m a big Pacino fan. I also love all the movies that Nancy Meyers designed the interiors for. They’re such an inspiration. Think Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday.
Which book are you reading now?
– Stoner by John Williams and The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brené Brown.
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
– Valentino Garavani, no question.
What is your favorite high street label?
– It may not be strictly high street or super hip, but I love everything from Max Mara.
What is the worst purchase you ever made?
– I don’t think I’ve ever made a bad purchase. Even if I never wear a particular piece, I still love everything I own.
Where do you find the best design bargains?
– The Outnet.com.
Which fashion trend do you hope never comes back?
– Pants with low crotches. (shudders)
Which royal wedding dress most inspired you?
– Don’t laugh, but that would be Princess Diana’s wedding dress. Just imagine the impact that dress had on a six year old girl. It’s the reason I got into this business!
Which shoe brand makes your heart beat faster?
– Manolo Blahnik.
What is the one item of clothing every woman should invest in?
– A great coat.
If you could have dinner with any fashion designer, decorator or architect, who would it be?
– Oscar de la Renta. He seems like a real charmer!
If you could live in any house in the world, which would it be?
– Any house owned by Ralph Lauren. I wish he’d adopt me!
What 4-course lunch menu would you offer if you were to receive 20 VIP guests at a moment’s notice?
– First of all, what a great way to start the day! (I swear to you, that was her answer. Most people would have a conniption!) I would start off with fresh salmon tartar, followed by a cold soup. The main course would be a steak – the best the butcher could offer – drizzled with a sauce of ginger, mirin sauce, soy sauce, chili, garlic and lime juice and topped with fresh coriander. For dessert, I would bake my famous lemon squares. The recipe is a secret!
What matters when decorating tables?
– Always keep decorations, like centerpieces, low. It’s really off-putting to have to try to talk around a flower arrangement or candle. Always mix up your china; it’s so much more fun, and finally, when devising a color scheme or menu, always stick with the season.
Who is your dream host?
– Martha Stewart. That’s a no-brainer!
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about entertaining?
– Always start with cocktails! And always seat a person between someone they know and someone they should know.