Gilles Clement Life in Westport, CT

Gilles Clement’s Life in Westport, CT

Gilles Clement has his hands full these days with the grand opening of his flagship store in Greenwich and managing 3 other stores and multiple projects. He takes some time off from his busy schedule to sit down with Suburbs 101 to talk about his life in Westport, CT and his interior design firm.

Describe your journey to Westport

I’m originally from Paris.  I moved to Manhattan in 1995 where I had a music production company.   I’m a city person.  But a personal tragedy happened that made me move closer to my family.  Why Westport? It is really because of my parents.  My parents are artists, living in Paris but when they visited friends living on the water in Westport they immediately fell in love with Westport.  So there I was, a Parisian living in NYC, making a move to Westport.  Around that time I also made a career change to design and transferred to Fairfield University to get my BA and Masters.  I started working in design in 2004, doing projects in Manhattan and the suburbs.  My design business was taking off so I decided to open my first store in Westport, House of Clement in 2010.

When you moved to Westport, did you know anyone?  How did you make friends?

I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in Westport.  I made friends taking my dog to the dog park (Winslow Dog Park- 44 Compo Rd North).  I’m also involved in Near and Far Aid and have met people through there.  I’ve made friends shopping at Saks in Greenwich.  Also, through my design business and art gallery, I’ve made some good friends.   My wife and I plan to have kids soon so that will be interesting to meet people through schools.

Gilles Clement Life in Westport, CT
Gilles Clement Flagship store
Photo Credit: ChiChi Ubina

Can you describe your social life?

My social life and professional life are intertwined.  I’m in the service industry with 4 stores and dozens of employees.  I cater to clients 24/7.  As a result, my social life is very dependent on my professional life. 

How would you describe Westport residents? 

Westport residents are laid back and discreet about their wealth.  There is a nice beach lifestyle.  There used to be a lot of artists living in Westport when my parents moved here.  Lots of NYC artists used to come for the weekend because they had a house in Westport but the artist crowd has disappeared with rising real estate prices.  It has been replaced by a younger affluent crowd. 

What are your favorite restaurants in Westport or in the area?

The best restaurant in Westport is OKO.  Brian Lewis is a very talented chef, in my opinion deserves a Michelin star.  I love the sushi with foie gras and wagyu beef, all the fish are fresh from the fish market in Japan.  They also have the best cocktail, you should try it.  It is called One Knight Only.  I also like the Whelk in Westport, Tony’s at the JHouse and L’Escale for the French Riviera feel. 

Gilles Clement's Life in Westport, CT
Gilles Clement Flagship store
Photo Credit: Chichi Ubina

What are your go-to places in Westport or in the area?

Westport is a great town.  There is lots to do.  I like the Westport Arts Center, Levitt pavilion (free summer concerts), Mitchell’s, Westport Playhouse for high quality plays and Compo beach (love the waterfront lifestyle). 

What are some things you don’t like about Westport?

I don’t like that there are very few places to go to hang out for drinks.  I wish there were more bars and lounges to go to.  I also don’t like that restaurants close early.  It is hard for Parisians and New Yorkers to get used to.  There is a place called Artisan in Southport that opens later.  In general, it is hard to get a meal after a 9/10pm.  I also wish there were more stores in Westport.  There are a lot of vacancies.  The cost of commercial real estate is too high in Westport that only the chain stores can afford it.    I also think the new development of SoNo Collection, the new mall in Norwalk is hurting Westport retail. 

Do you or your spouse commute to the city?  What has your experience been with the commute? 

I do around 6 projects a year in Manhattan.  Many of my clients have pied-a-terres in NYC.  I don’t take the train since I’m always carrying stuff to my meetings with clients so I prefer to drive into the city.

Gilles Clement life in Westport, CT
Gilles Clement Flagship store
Photo Credit: Chichi Ubina

Tell me more about your interior design firm.

I have a full-service design firm.  I work with my clients according to their needs and budgets.  I can do a full home renovation, an addition, work on specific rooms or even landscaping.  I have a team of professionals that have worked with me for years so we can tackle any size project.  I also design furniture pieces and do custom cabinetry.  Basically I can create the right look within any budget.  I am creative and can source from different vendors.  I also have 2 art galleries (one in Westport and another in Greenwich) where I curate street art, abstract, contemporary art so that complements nicely with my interior design business. 

Tell me about your design philosophy

As you can see when you visit my stores, my style is more transitional and contemporary.  It is what you will expect to find in downtown Manhattan but not in Greenwich or Westport.  However, I will work with my clients to mix more traditional pieces with contemporary to suit their taste.  As I say “A home is like a woman, I dress a home like a woman.”

Gilles Clement's Life in Westport, CT
Gilles Clement Flagship store
Photo Credit: Chichi Ubina

Tell me more about your new store in Greenwich

We just opened our flagship store in Greenwich (Gilles Clement Design at 120 E. Putnam Ave, Greenwich). I have a lot of clients in Greenwich and Westchester so having a store in Greenwich makes sense for me.  Right now, I have a lot of traditional pieces that have been reinvented in unexpected ways.   I hope to cater to the New Yorker that moved to the suburbs.  The President of Fendi complimented my store and said it is one of the nicest in the country! You should stop by and see for yourself!

About Gilles Clement

Gilles Clement is Paris-born designer and art dealer.  With design boutiques and contemporary art galleries located in Greenwich and Westport, CT, the firm caters to a local, national and international clientele, offering a distinctively cosmopolitan, European urban chic, curated collection that transcends current creative innovations, and yet is rooted in timeless and iconic design elements. 

Reflecting the client personality through his own brand of opulent and edgy design, Clement creates living environments that are comfortable and elegant, as visually splendid as original, as functional as they are desirable. With a drop of whimsy, a spoon of sensation and always seductive, Gilles Clement Designs has garnered a reputation that promises to exceed expectations at every turn. Gilles Clement has design boutiques and art galleries in Westport and Greenwich. He lives in Westport, CT with his wife. Website: Gilles Clement Design Instagram: @gillesclementdesigns

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