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Teri Rudin
Teri Rudin

Event Industry Mourns Loss of Chameleon’s Teri Rudin

The design force behind the iconic Chameleon chair is honored by the industry.

Leading event industry designer Teri Rudin, a creative force behind the famed Chameleon Chair, has died.

She got her start throwing richly detailed theme parties for her son, Ryan, leading her to open party planning business Reigning Parties out of her garage in Los Angeles. Here, she crafted extravagant centerpieces that redefined the San Fernando Valley’s booming bar/bat mitzvah trade. She sold this business to work with leading Los Angeles-based rental company Regal Rents, building up its specialty linen department by sourcing new fabrics and expanding the company’s inventory and sewing department capabilities.

While working for Regal Rents, Rudin met architect Behshad Shokouhi, with whom she collaborated on a new chair they hoped would revolutionize the industry-dominant seating options of the day. Together, they worked to engineer a metal chair with seamless curves, interchangeable parts, and an upholstered look that would transform event seating.

LAUNCHING THE CHAMELEON CHAIR Backed by her former husband, partner and now CEO Jerry Smolar, Rudin and Shokouhi introduced the Chameleon Chair with a splashy debut at the 2005 Academy Awards Governor’s Ball designed by Sequoia Productions. The Chameleon went on to become widely recognized as an exciting new luxury seating product across the U.S.

“Teri’s contribution to the core design theory behind the Chameleon Chair is that it’s shaped like a woman’s silhouette and is built to be ‘dressed’ like a woman, not just loosely ‘covered’ like a traditional rental chair,” says Chameleon management. “Behshad and Teri forged new metallic designs for the chair backs while Teri oversaw the creation of hundreds of skirts, belts, jewels, toppers, cushions and finishes like the chair was the canvas of a prolific artist or a fashion designer’s shapely dress form.”

“Teri Rudin will be so sadly missed,” Sequoia Productions founder Cheryl Cecchetto tells Special Events. “An incredible woman, gentle and strong in the same breath, and a phenomenal talent.  Teri was a creative force to be reckoned with, over the years contributing so much innovative pizzazz to the event world.”

“From her days at Regal Rents on through the birth of Chameleon, she influenced and dazzled events nationwide with her creativity,” says Kelly Murphy, founder of Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based Events on the Loose. “I am blessed to have known Teri and the opportunity to work with her through the years. She was so out of the box when it came to merchandising the products, and the results always knocked my socks off. I would stand back and admire her vision brought to life.  She would then ask with in her soft voice with her beautiful smile, ‘What do you think? Do you like it?’  My answer was always the same: ‘Teri, you are amazing!’  Although I have sorrow in my heart, my memories of Teri will not be forgotten. We have all lost a wonderful woman.”

HONORING TERI RUDIN In lieu of sending flowers, the family asks that donors consider donating to the National Ataxia Foundation, the organization researching the disease that led to her death. For information about upcoming memorial services, please contact [email protected].


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