LUX / EROS
Photography by Desanka Fasiska and Olivia Malone
Words by Angela Han
Always ingenious and effortlessly cool, LUX / EROS founder and 2001 Academy of Art University design alumna Desanka Fasiska is someone who embodies California cool with a unique aesthetic.
Fasiska, who was awarded a scholarship to study at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris through Academy of Art Univeristy’s sister city scholarship exchange in Paris, has recently made the jump from designing her own line to the creation of two companies: LUX / EROS (www.lux-eros.com), a lifestyle brand and blog journal curated by Fasiska and her friends that encompasses everything from her bespoke products to lifestyle guides and curated lists of recipes, travel locales and products, and Desanka & Co., which offers “creative consulting” for fashion and lifestyle brands.
She also made the great leap from San Francisco to the Hollywood Hills, where she has happily acclimated to the Southern California lifestyle.
We talked with the energetic, irrepressible Fasiska about how she identifies modern California style and infuses it into LUX / EROS, and how she “aims to bring the warmth and carefree spirit of California living” into the homes of her clients.
Her blog features before and after decorating shots in the LUX / DECOR section, along with other categories, including Do It Lux and Cali/Living. Other categories on the handsome-looking site include Ceramics and LUX / Wear, in which she demonstrates her fashion chops, as well as workshops/events and information on how to visit the Lux Lodge.
When we spoke with Fasiska, her enthusiasm, and sense of humor, was contagious. But she is obviously someone who wants to have it all: A true Californian.
180: Tell us a little about yourself.
DESANKA FASISKA: I’m 38 and from Los Angeles. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, but moved here when I was two. I went to Academy of Art University for fashion design and …well, I still work in fashion. I consult for companies — one is in New York and other smaller ones here in Los Angeles. My main gig these days is an experimental space blog focused on California living and positioning myself around that décor. I have workshops, dinners and community building events here at my house.
180: What classes or instructors were the most influential?
DF: Applied Textiles because it was the most creative, liberating and free – feeling course I took. Simon Ungless and Bridget Kelly were my most supportive and inspiring teachers at the Academy. They pushed me to be my best.
180: What was the best thing you learned at the Academy of Art University?
DF: They really pushed me to be as creative and individualistic as possible. It was an incredible time in my life – to be pushed by my teachers and peers. It was an experience that you don’t get to have in the real world, but I take it with me everywhere. It’s one of the reasons I started LUX / EROS — so that I could recreate the feeling of the creative community that you get when you’re in art school.
180: How did your time in Paris shape you?
DF: Paris was the most transformational experience I had in college. I was really fortunate to be able to go to the Chambre Syndicale de Couture! I was one of the first students to get the exchange scholarship through the Academy (I think I went the year after it started). It was not very organized yet, so I was really on my own out there and it was sink or swim. It was hard at first, but I came away with a completely changed and expanded world view and a totally elevated aesthetic sensibility... and my French was on point!
180: What was it like working in fashion?
DF: I enjoyed working in fashion to the extent that I was good at it. I was good at creating it. I like creating things that are three dimensional. I love texture and I love merchandising and all of that. But the actual job is a desk job at the end of the day and it’s just not suited for my personality.
I need to be out in the world experiencing things and going to new places. I couldn’t do the desk job thing anymore…
180: Is that why you got into interior design?
DF: The interior design is on the side. I bought this house and redesigned the house. I’ve been doing ceramics for a while. I always make things for my home, and I make them very DIY, so I realized that it was what I wanted to include into this whole vibe. It ties things together because all these things happen at my home and I also get to showcase it. Because of it, I’ve gotten a few interior design jobs, but it wasn’t my main goal until recently when I realized that I really enjoy doing it.
180: What’s your favorite thing about the work you do?
DF: Connecting to other people—having the workshops, dinners, traveling. Getting people connected in a creative way is a real passion of mine and I found a way to make a job out of it. I basically created the life that I wanted to have.
[Workshops have included sold-out sessions on the art of making flower crowns, crafting inventive holiday cocktails, macramé and copper workshops, and an autumnal supper spread at Fasiska’s home, which has been re-christened the Lux/Lodge.]
180: How are working in fashion and interior design similar?
On the creative level, it is similar because you have to think in a three-dimensional way to project what things are going to look like in advance. It’s different than if you were doing something that’s strictly on canvas. If you’re interior designing, you really have to sometimes take more of a gamble on if things are going to work out the way you envision them.
180: How did the idea for LUX / EROS come about?
DF: When I was leaving my last main 9-to-5 fashion job, I wanted to experiment with something that was more lifestyle, interiors, and art space. In 2012, I had a friend that had a gallery space who needed someone to take over for four months, so I did my very first incarnation of LUX / EROS. It was a pop-up gallery in Venice, where I had a bunch of different events like art shows, workshops and shopping events, and I curated a bunch of different things.
I realized I didn’t want to sell art — I really wanted to focus on creative community building events. At that same time, I had bought my house in the summer. So I ended up putting everything on hold because I knew I was going to be re-launching the whole concept in its real, full way.
Last year I built up the website, e-commerce, blog, and launched my first four community events as a dry run to see how things would work. This year is basically the real deal. I have a full calendar of editorials and events projected.
180: How did you come up with the name?
DF: It [means] light and love in Latin. When I was moving away from fashion and wanting to start a new endeavor, I knew I wanted it to be something that was full of light and love.
180: So your home is part of your job.
DF: Yeah, it sort of just happened organically. It’s an amazing house — it just needed some love. It’s an A-frame, just gorgeous. I bought it because my father built an A-frame in the ’60s that I used to go to in West Virginia on Cheat Lake. When I saw this house I was like, ‘Oh my god! I have to have it!’ And I did, luckily. My natural aesthetic was infused in the remodel. It’s my favorite project!
180: What inspired the creative workshops?
DF: I really just wanted to do something with creative community building. I’m also helping put a focus on local California artisans … I want to put the spotlight on them. It’s terrific for marketing.
180: How do you choose the artists you collaborate with?
DF: In whatever project I am working on, whether it’s my creative events at LUX / LODGE or a pop-up off-site, I choose to work with California-based artisans who create beautiful handcrafted products. Most of my creative events center around California living—whether it’s a weaving workshop, an intimate dinner hosted by a local chef, or an invitation to emulate the LUX / LODGE experience off-site with a beautiful and activated outdoor lounge. I’m currently working on a pop-up in San Francisco!
180: Which workshop was your favorite?
DF: I think my favorite workshop so far has been the macramé. I actually have always loved macramé—for my senior show at the Academy I did these macramé pieces and dresses.
180: How do you define California living?
DF: It’s all about being open to new experiences, being effortless, and connecting. I think Californians are really open people and we are really collaborative. We love people coming into our homes, we love to host, and we also have amazing resources at our disposal with the oceans and mountains. It’s just a beautiful state.
180: As a young artist, what are some challenges in launching a start-up?
DF: Doing it on your own. It takes longer when you have to do things within a tight budget and limited resources. It wasn’t until this year that I started getting some help. I reached out and got an assistant and a business manager. But before that, I was winging it. I had to learn how to use SquareSpace, how to produce an event, how to blog. I had to learn how to do social media … I think at the end of the day I really learned that you can’t do it all on your own. It’s hard for me to delegate. I had to learn how to let go and trust that I can be supported if I ask for it.
180: When you’re brainstorming or shaping a concept, where do you go for inspiration?
DF: I don’t really look for inspiration. Inspiration just kind of comes to me because I’m very active and I am always doing something new and having new experiences. I think when you make time for that in life, inspiration always comes to you when you’re connecting to other people, when you’re going on a road trip, when you’re taking time to be by yourself and create art. Just from the space of being in the flow, inspiration just comes. I don’t actively seek inspiration.
180: I read in your blog that one of your goals was to surf more.
DF: I’ve been trying to make that my goal! By the way, I haven’t gone surfing once this year! I went to Costa Rica like three or four years ago because I wanted to learn. Every year I try to, but I don’t live by the ocean, I live in Hollywood. Because of work and building this company, I’ve not made that a priority. You know, thank you for reminding me! What I really need to do is manifest a man or boyfriend that I can go with!
180: What is your favorite way to decompress?
DF: Do I ever decompress? That is the question. I try and make time on Fridays—that’s the day I try to set aside and not work. I try not to make appointments that day. I also try to spend every Friday morning in my ceramics studio. Ceramics is something that really relaxes me because I’m able to just let go. It’s meditative. I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a chemical in dirt that when you touch it, it releases endorphins in your brain. That’s why people are so relaxed when they garden or do ceramics. There’s an actual chemical reaction that happens! It’s almost like I get a little high when I do ceramics.
180: I need to try that!
DF: Yes! You should try it! `