LOS ANGELES After seven years as a designer and product manager for companies such as Betsey Johnson, Trina Turk, and Guess, Kate Fujimoto wanted to channel her creative energies into a different project. “I was getting a little frustrated with the corporate structure and felt that my aesthetic didn’t necessarily match up to some of the companies I worked with,” she says. After planning her own wedding, Fujimoto began to consider a career in event design. She took on small events at ﬁrst, including a few for C magazine. The publication’s design and style editor, Andrea Stanford, was so impressed she recommended Fujimoto to friends. With a growing client list, the budding designer launched Kate Fujimoto Event Design in November 2007.
Fujimoto often looks to the venue ﬁrst— much like she used to look to the human form—to ﬁnd ways to enhance its features. “I have learned from my experience with designing clothing that every detail can add nuance, so I don’t leave any angle untouched,” she says. “I ﬁnd enjoyment in what others might ﬁnd tiresome: the ﬁnish on a runner, for instance, or the sizing of a pillow.” For the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s May 2008 collector’s committee gala, Fujimoto chose a gray palette to complement the vibrant reds that border the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, as well as a charcoal sculpture that was the dinner’s centerpiece. “She was sensitive to Renzo Piano’s architecture and the museum’s galleries,” says Marietta Torriente de Leon, Lacma’s major donor event planner. “Her eye for design came through in her work.”
But as C’s Stanford points out, Fujimoto’s work encompasses more than just stylish elements. “She has a true focus for details,” says Stanford, who turned to Fujimoto to plan a launch party for jewelry designer Susie Fox last March. “We had several writers and editors in attendance, and she had pads and pencils so they could all walk away with their notes and observations.”
Fujimoto hopes to take on more fashion industry events, such as magazine parties, product launches, or promotions for young, up-and-coming designers. “Companies that are fashion-forward give me more opportunity to be creative,” she says. She also plans to hire an additional set of hands. “My hope is to build up to the point where I can hire a partner who can handle the logistical end of things while I focus on design.”