INTERVIEW: Fine Art of Design

by Sarah Scheideman

Let’s start with an intro to the dynamic trio who hold the fort down at the Fine Art of Design….


Name?  Nicolas James Delgado

Astrological Sign?  Gemini 

City where you are from?  Rancho Mirage

Your role at The Fine Art of Design/Stacked Bookshop?

Creative Director

Name?  Luisa Marielli

Astrological Sign?  Libra

City where you are from?  Palm Desert, CA… originally Monterrey, Mexico

Your role at The Fine Art of Design/Stacked Bookshop?
Style Consultant 

Name?  Katie Martinez
Astrological Sign?  Gemini
City where you are from?  Right now?… Palm Springs
Your role at The Fine Art of Design/Stacked Bookshop?
Bookbuyer, designer, owner of Stacked Bookshop

So, when I first step in the door of FAoD my jaw drops.  Your shop is soooo tastefully put together, color coded, layed out, and has such adorable/classy fashion pieces hanging and at all at affordable prices.  Walking into a store like this reminds me of something I would experience at a popular boutique in LA, SF, or NY.  One would maybe even assume that the people running the shop would be veterans in the game, but you guys are all so young! All under 30 years old.  Yet, your taste is so refined and mature – this is what really gets my attention.  I know it’s hard to explain where your good eye and artistic taste come from… but can you explain to me your personal relationships with vintage threads/fashion/boutiques? How does each of your relationships with vintage effect and influence the store?

Luisa Marielli: We are all under 25! Growing up, I much preferred to watch a Cary Grant or Ginger Rogers film to any movie out in theaters. My style icons became the mysterious characters in Jean-Luc Godard films, or the stunning silent film stars. From the beginning, I have looked to the past as a reference.

Where did you get the idea to open a contemporary vintage shop in Palm Desert from?  And, who/what was the tipping point/proof when you knew something like FAoD was needed and would be a success in the desert?

Nicolas Delgado: The city should be the epitome of vintage, and is in a lot of ways – such as: The Parker, Las Casuelas, Hedge, Gypsyland, Repurpose It and Revivals. We were missing a BOUTIQUE in my opinion – a boutique in the sixties, in London and on Carnaby street. A boutique in my opinion is an intimate experience with a personal collection.

Luisa Marielli: I had been collection vintage clothing since a young age. Vintage was always a much more affordable way of having the Chanel, Christian Dior, Escada, and all the greats as part of my life…My appreciation for well made pieces, quality, and design, grew…as did my collection. There is only so much closet space one can have, so from there selling vintage happened, and from there I met Katie and Nicky.

You mentioned to me that your shop is constantly evolving.  Having such amazing merchandise and accessories in your shop at all times has to make for interesting days spent there.  Can you give us a “day in the life of FAoD?”  For instance… I wanna know what’s even the shop’s soundtrack like?

Nicolas Delgado: Wake up and greet my dog Sophie.  Throw my Oxford shirt on and drive in silence to the shop, as I did to school every day here and New York.  Clean up empty champagne bottles from the night before to some light Aretha Franklin “Say a little Prayer.”  Decide to turn off light oldies and watch a projected film – on repeat right now, UNZIPPED with ISAAC MIZRAHI.  I love talkies.  Throw some tunes on as the customers walk through usually relatable classics such as Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Aaliyah, Supertramp, The Supremes … usually I profile the customer from behind my iTunes.  Deeper cuts: The Shangri-Las, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Stone Flower, Edith Piaf and Eddie Vedder.  No one else in store: some disney’s Robin Hood, Webber and Rice’s 1976 Evita and dancing 7th grade hits from Spice Girls and Gwen Stefani.  SILENCE IS GOLDEN after the rush.  Then back to cool music.

Many of the clothing pieces are famous fashion designers…. do you have any local or up-and-coming designers in your shop?  If so, who and what do they do?

Luisa Marielli: Young designers are Shelley Cush with Vuvu Jewelry, Robin Linvill with hand-studded denim. Upcoming: Our very own, Fine Art of Design private label.

Nicolas Delgado: I like to believe when I grow up I will be a patron of the arts, so of course I have the most beautiful paper mache roses from the first artist I commissioned work from in 6th grade, Yajaira Villagomez. After her most notable talent is Katie and Luisa – brilliant minds are my favorite artists.

I know you guys just opened, but, is it possible to share with us some of your future plans??  New features?  Community events at FAoD?  For example, maybe something along the lines of selling Blackstrap Molasses albums?  Cinematheque… etc etc

Nicolas Delago: I want to open a speakeasy / coffee shop, but of course… fashion first.  And we are selling Blackstrap Molasses albums right now, as well as War Drum.

Luisa Marielli: My personal favorite is the return of The Flea Market, a once-monthly outdoor flea style market. Previously we have had women/men’s clothing, records, magazines/books, home decor, jewelry. Vendors will be carefully chosen in order to represent what The Fine Art of Design is all about, thus bringing you affordable thrift finds without all the digging and fleas.

In your opinion, what was out last season?

Nicolas Delago: Forever 21

Luisa Marielli: Feathered earings

What will be in next season?

Nicolas Delgado: the Fine Art of Design

Luisa Marielli:  Big, funky, in your face prints.

What’s a good fashion blog to follow?

Nicolas Delgado: IMAGE section LA TIMES, HGTV and Bravo – I don’t really read blogs but these are probably the most shared media between generations in the mainstream.

Luisa Marielli:  The shop’s blog keeps up with all our fashion icons and design inspirations,  I also keep a personal Tumblr of all things fashion, it’s simple and purely inspirational:

I love fashion for it’s “movements”.  What do you think the next big movement in fashion is?

Nicolas Delgado: The Sustainable Individual – vintage and minimalism.

Luisa Marielli: Everyday style. With the popularity of lifestyle (street, party, personal) photography, the importance of always dressing your part becomes even more important. It doesn’t mean you have to “dress up,” it just means your dress should always represent or speak of what you are about. Good jewelry, funky hair, good vintage, are always a great conversation starter.


Gimme all the links to everything about/associated with FAoD:

Then I wandered into the left hand corner of the store… and peaked in to Stacked Bookshop, an extension of the Fine Art of Design.

Here is where I sat and had a conversation with book shop over, Katherine Martinez.

INTERVIEW: Stacked Bookshop 

a conversation between Katherine Martinez and Sarah Scheideman


Where did you get the idea to open a used/vintage/small press book shop in Palm Desert from?  And, who/what was the tipping point/proof when you knew something like Stacked Bookshop  was needed and would be a success in the desert?

Katherine Martinez: I wanted a space to share ideas and talk about literature.  The closing of Borders isn’t any indication of low readership or interest. Amazon, Alibris and Abebooks (I never noticed they all started with “A”, I wonder what that means), these are extremely successful right now because the internet has opened up this more affordable, more international library that even the largest corporate bookstore can’t compete with. Independent publishing is at a new height in all arenas of art.

Rather than signalling the end of bookshop culture, I believe that it speaks to an opportunity for ideas to reach new areas and create these new locations where people can find each other and continue the conversation outside of the city.  This is a specialized store that offers suggestions, inspiration. We can connect online but ultimately I believe people crave these connections in person. We aren’t total bots yet.

What is the relationship between Stacked bookshop and Fine Art of Design?

Katherine Martinez: This kinda ties in with my last answer… Bringing the conversation outside of the city.  When I found myself living in the desert and missing all the projects that my friends were always working on or spaces where you could go and meet people. One of the first really good nights I had out here was when Luisa opened up this workspace she had been renting out for photoshoots and had a night party selling her personal women’s wear collection.  She had beautiful pieces and had presented them creatively.  Around the same time I decided to have a book trade/sale in my studio and basically spread out a small library across my dining table, floor, patio. Nicky was living in the same complex and happened to be switching apartments that week and said he would open his doors to sell vintage home the same day – it just happened to work out so that we made it a miniature “flea market” across the Desert Gardens Apartments. Luisa came that Sunday afternoon and stayed pretty much the whole day, we all talked over champagne after the rest of the visitors had left and started planning the next one before the day had ended.  By the third Flea Market we had grown to eight vendors and that is when the store space came about…

What’s your favorite novel in Stacked Bookshop at the moment?  Favorite art book?  And why?

Katherine Martinez: I would recommend anything from Wakefield Press right now. They are this independent publisher and have some interesting translations.. I will be getting in a lot more from them this month. Art books, there are some really good ones in right now – I would say choose from the selection we have in from the Brooklyn Museum. Like Next Flag – the African Sniper Reader.

What is your background in Literature?  How do you know so much at such a young age?!?!

Katherine Martinez: I studied literature at Uc Santa Cruz and University of Sussex in England but I think education comes from curiosity, most resources are free.


How would you describe the smell of an old book?

Katherine Martinez: My great aunt’s house. This old warehouse my mom would take me to when I was little because they had free books.  An ex who gave me an old Jack London book he fetishized. My high school library. I think memories are more attached to the smell than else. Though, my friend told me there was someone in Venice selling old book as a cologne scent.


Can you tell us about your upcoming zine project that is in the works?

Katherine Martinez: We will be taking in a new collection of zines and are looking for local contributors. Right now we have one coming in from Isabel Lederman who is a poet in Santa Cruz.  She is painting hers and there will be a very limited number of them for sale —  they are handcrafted and should be checked out before they all sell.  FFFF! will be coming out by September hopefully, which is a music zine that plays with theory from a musicology graduate student. And there is also a rumor circulating that the maker of the Coachella Valley Arts Scene will have a special publication coming out in the fall…

The local contributors also may be involved in a larger digital zine project in the works — but that is still a bit of a secret.

Can you tell us about future projects, community events/outreach?  

Katherine Martinez: We will be hosting different literary events during season, author readings.. discussions.. The first is probably in September for the release of FFFF!

Currently, we just started up again the Cinematheque Palm Springs on Sunday nights at 8pm. Our curator, Los Angeles playwright John Steppling, introduces the screening and then holds discussion after. It is a really cool series if you are interested in film studies and there isn’t anything in the area like it. We are lucky to have it happening in such a central location now. Anyone looking for the schedule can find it on our Facebook page.

Also Bri Sherman of Feminism Matters will be hosting her reading group at the store starting Tuesday, August 2nd (I believe – but check the Stacked website). There will be more coming up as we become settled – it is a good idea to keep checking back on Facebook and the site to stay involved. We have some good stuff planned.

Gimme all the Stacked Bookshop linkage:

Official Website:
Stacked Bookshop’s Facebook:
Cinematheque’s Facebook:

This store is a must.

Make sure to go check it out.  Support your local business and meet some really cool, young, artistic, interesting, funny and all around inspiring community members while you’re in there.

Here is the address:

73717 HIGHWAY 111, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Here are the hours:

Tues – Sun:11:00 am-7:00 pm

Here is the linkage: