Rebecca Moses Joins Cindy Allen for Interior Design’s Inaugural ArtbyDesign Talk at PENN1

Marking the debut of Interior Design’s new office locale at PENN1 in Manhattan, editor in chief Cindy Allen hosted an ArtbyDesign talk with artist Rebecca Moses June 23—the first of more to come—drawing a crowd to the building lobby. The event, held in partnership with Garden on the Wall, offered emerging designers an opportunity to connect with each other and learn how one of the industry’s beloved creatives built, and pivoted, her career over the years. “She changes people’s lives,” Allen said of Moses, laying the groundwork for the conversation to come.

Kicking off the discussion, Moses shared insights into her the beginnings of her career, touching on her first pull toward design at the age of 14. “I always wanted to be a fashion designer,” she said. Mission accomplished. Graduating from FIT, she went on to work with Pierre Cardin.

As images of her early designs flashed across the overhead screens, Moses stressed the importance of taking risks, referencing her move from New York to Paris where she made a name for herself by creating her own collection. “When you live in fear you achieve nothing, have to confront fear and step over it,” she said. “What’s the worst that can happen? You fail. But failure leads to discovery.” This mindset powered her career forward.

Cindy Allen and Rebecca Moses.

In Europe, Moses found success—and love. “I fell in love with an Italian man,” she said, noting that this led to yet another new chapter, this time in Italy. As the conversation continued, Moses turned her polished Italian accent on and off as if on cue, providing a theatrical telling of her past as she talked about the evolution of fashion, design, and technology.

Despite the chic storefronts that displayed her pieces over the years, Moses retains a fascination for the behind-the-scenes work done in factories. “I love to understand how something is made, it gives food for more creative energy. That’s what Italy taught me,” she said, noting that there are endless opportunities for growth—even in the darkest of times. After the death of her husband, Giacomo Festa Bianchet, Moses shifted her focus from fashion to art, creating cheeky illustrations for esteemed magazines. Fast forward to the start of the Covid pandemic. As the world shut down, she helped people create community—and feel seen—by connecting with them on social media and offering a portrait drawing in return for a bit of insight into their lives at home. The resulting project, “The Stay Home Sisters,” honors the lives and work of countless women who worked as nurses during the height of the pandemic.

As for the young designers in the room, Moses offered a bit of advice: “You all have a lot of mystery inside you,” she said. In other words, use it!

Emerging designers gather at PENN1 for an ArtbyDesign talk.
Emerging designers gather at PENN1 for an ArtbyDesign talk.

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