Stephen Webster is arguably one of the most visible designers in the Couture community. The introduction of “Rock Vault” to Couture last year created a huge buzz, he was recently knighted by the British government, and his witty sense of humor and unabashed desire to have a good time (even at the expense of my own personal phobia), make him a vibrant figure throughout the hallways and ballrooms of Couture. It should come as no surprise to anyone then that Stephen’s answers to our “Viva Las Vegas” series are some of the funniest and randomly useful we’ve received yet. This is a man that doesn’t do anything “small.” Herein, check out how Stephen Webster Vivas Las Vegas:
How many years have you been exhibiting at Couture?
SW: 2014 marks fifteen years since Stephen Webster first exhibited at Couture. I remember it well…not as well as my wife who gave birth on the second day. It was very distracting as I had a client with me at the time (I’m not saying that her water broke in the booth or anything). She was in Queen Mary’s hospital in London where I left her a few days before. When I received the call with the news of our child’s arrival, I told the client who told another and before I knew it the whole show cheered. It was an amazing moment. I sold three rings and a pendant. Got to love Couture.
What’s your packing strategy?
SW: There is a fine art to packing for Vegas. With temperatures of up to 200F outside and -25 inside, the best thing is to pack for a skiing holiday in the Sahara.
Sporting and protective party attire will be required as the Couture show involves a lot of social events which need to be prepared for. Until the mid seventies dressing for Vegas was a simple matter. A powder blue, loose fitting, suit paired with an open neck shirt, and a lightweight trilby hat conformed to most day dress codes; along with a tuxedo for after dark festivities.
Nowadays it’s far more complex. Just take Gannon, the Show Director, who debuts a new look every day. It wasn’t long ago when no more than two members of show management were allowed in a room at one time due to the potential of static arcing and subsequent combustion due to excess polyester content.
To be honest, the best thing is to stick a baggage tag on your wardrobe and bring the whole thing.
What’s the oddest thing you bring with you?
SW: The oddest thing I brought with me once was a beard. Grown in an attempt to give me the hipster look, it backfired from the start as it was white. As a conscientious type I hung onto it as long as possible but in the end had to let it go. As far as I know it’s still behind the sink in room 3558 of the Wynn Executive Tower. I also have brought seven emerging jewellers from the UK. Unlike the beard they were a success, so much so that this year I’m bringing nine.
Favorite restaurant in Vegas?
SW: There are many restaurants in Vegas; in fact every famous chef from every country has a Vegas branch. Sometimes it’s very difficult to decide which cuisine to choose from each night…there is however a solution: Not many people know but the Flamingo hotel on the strip still offers “The Global Buffet.” $8.99 all you can eat. Quality food from the far flung corners of the globe, from Chinese to Italian with surf and turf on the side. One tip is to arrange iceberg leaves so that at least half extends beyond the edge of the plate, this will increase the ‘plateform’ allowing up to double the global delicacies to be mounded each trip. If that’s not your bag, or those conscious of their waistline… Yellow Tail in the Bellagio is excellent for raw fish.
Vegas beauty routine?
SW: A beauty regime is essential in Vegas; the combination of dry oven like heat and freezing air conditioning has the same effect on ones skin as an industrial strength dehumidifier or a pack of Marlboro reds.
Most expensive moisturizers get sucked into those open pours faster than you can say “Dyson.” Something with a trans fat base is required. I find goose or duck fat (available at the Flamingo buffet) work as part of my nightly regime and diesel mixed with a light foundation (determined by skin tone) can work for up to 18 hours for the day.
Average number of hours you sleep during Couture?
SW: Average number of hours I sleep varies on the conversation. If it’s particularly challenging, consisting largely of small talk, I can nod off for up to fifteen minutes at a time, many years ago I perfected the art of sleeping with my eyes open.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
SW: This year I am looking forward to hosting the nine emerging designers who are collectively known as Rock Vault. The buzz and energy surrounding the debut of this mentoring initiative at Couture 2013 was electric, it reminded me of my first years at the show which believe it or not, I cherish.
What are you dreading this year?
SW: This year I am dreading the Parasol Bar at the Wynn at 2:20am. Like middle earth or the jazz bar in the first Star Wars movie, the Parasol is surrounded by a magnetic field which attracts life forms from Mars, Uranus and 47th St.
SW: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Breeze.
SW: Black Jack Taffy