NEW YORK — Thom Filicia is going into the closet for his new design show.
Filicia, best known as the home decor expert on “Queer Eye for the Straight Eye,” is the host of “Dress My Nest,” a new half-hour TV series on the Style Network that focuses on making over homes. If the market for such shows seems saturated, “Dress My Nest” hopes to score ratings with an usual twist — using women’s wardrobes to determine suitable interiors for them.
In the weekly show, which premieres next Wednesday, Filicia, with the help of style expert Erika Martin, invades a woman’s wardrobe, steals her favorite outfit, dissects it and makes it a guide to redecorate a dull room in that woman’s home in just three days.
“I ask them, ‘Show me your inspiration, your favorite outfit,'” Filicia said. “And they put it on and describe it, from the shoes to clothing to the accessories, down to the stitching. Then we analyze the outfit. I try to figure it into an interior design statement that represents not only that look and feel of the outfit, but also the person I have met.”
The translation is not always literal, Filicia stressed. For instance, those with a penchant for red won’t have to face a boudoir-like room, and lovers of animal prints won’t necessarily end up in a lion’s den, though elements of the outfit could reappear in a sofa or an area rug.
“There are people out there who have a committed sense of style and really don’t have a great sense of interior design,” Filicia noted. “There really is a synergy between the two, and one can help lead the other one. Most people are pretty proficient at dressing themselves, because we do it every day, but people are a little bit intimidated by home decor. They all have a distinct sense of style, but don’t have a handle on interior design.”
Filicia hatched the concept for the show, which is being produced by PB&J Television Inc., with executives from the Style Network. “I really wanted to do something that was focused on women this time, just to change things up a little,” said Filicia, who has been making over interiors for men for four-and-a-half years on “Queer Eye.” That show’s final season will air this summer. On “Dress My Nest,” he is asked to tackle design challenges every week, from one woman who is fanatic about Hello Kitty, to another who is a vintage clothing aficionado.
This story first appeared in the March 21, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Filicia’s success in interior design long predates his success on “Queer Eye.” He established his own namesake design firm in 1998, and recently worked on projects such as Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s main home, W hotels in Atlanta and Los Angeles and private homes in the Hamptons. In that time, he has found the woman’s wardrobe is largely undervalued as an indicator of her aesthetic preferences.
“There is a real connection,” he said. “You’re searching and wondering, ‘What colors do you like? What sensibility do I want in my home?’ People constantly look outward to find the answers. The closest thing people have around them is someone’s closet, which unveils a sense of texture and color.
“Do they like pattern, do they not like pattern? Are they formal, are they inventive, are they conservative?” he continued. “It’s a tangible way to really dive into who that person is in terms of design. All of a sudden you look at clothing and get a lot of information, and then they get comfortable with it because they feel like they own it.”
But what if a victim’s outfit is so bad that she should really be referred to “What Not to Wear”? Filicia stressed that he is not judging an outfit, and while he may make a snide remark, he will go with the outfit and transform it into a “fabulous” interior. And if they hate the end result, then so be it. Filicia has the perfect response: “I would either say, ‘I am the one, I didn’t understand,’ or maybe ‘This isn’t your favorite outfit.'”