I was trying to think of the right song to illustrate this post, and The Girl from Ipenema immediate came to mind. But lo and behold, it's the stage set that got me - it's SO Jonathan Adler!
Are you sorted? Is it playing? Speaker turned up loud? Good.
It all began with an invitation from India Hicks to a party she was throwing for Jonathan Adler, to launch his first UK shop, on Sloane Avenue.
No, let me back up. It began at the beach house, many years ago, when my parents were opening a present from my brother, a lamp or a vase or a pillow, I can't remember what the first one was, and it was from Jonathan Adler, and that's when he was first telling me how amazing his work is.
No, sorry, it goes further back than that: for me, it really begins when I was born. Because from the first home I lived in - in Salt Lake City, Utah - but especially, in our childhood home on Long Island.. every item, every end table, lamp, the whole aesthetic, is SO FREAKIN' JONATHAN ADLER! I mean, in the beach house, we have these three stacking tables with inlaids that I love so much, and the closes I can describe it is the design, below:
So when I got the invitation, and told them what a fanatical fan my brother is, and how excited I was that he's coming to down, then said 'would you like to meet and interview him?'
Halfway into our half hour interview, I realised I wasn't letting him speak, because everything he was saying was making me want to interrupt and say something. Let's face it, I am no Barbara Walters. But what he did manage to fit in was so rich, so inspiring, so thought provoking, that I've realised I'm going to have to deconstruct my experience into a series of posts.
Starting with: 'palm beach on acid.'
Or rather, number 13 on his MANIFESTO. 'We believe in Palm Beach style: Louis chairs, chinoiserie, Lilly Pulitzer, The Breakers circa '72.' I grew up with that influence: all the trips to Florida, the images of Jackie Kennedy, those fabulous Palm Beach women that are not just too rich and too thin, but also, let's face it, too tan - when I started streetstyle shooting, I spent a few days snapping them - they still exist. I love that whole aesthetic: it is the original bling. I remember a school friend named Pam, her bedroom in the family's MacMansion was the size of most people's houses, two walk in closets, one for just her shoes, and it was top to toe hot pink and acid, neon green.
What my brother, uncannily said a few hours after I met Jonathan, is that there are two distinct sides to his work - and the fit uncannily well together, in his two level shop that feels like a suburban home in the late sixties. There's the side that my family homes reflect: the taste of my brother's homes now, of what my husband and I love. And then, there's that.. Palm Beach on Acid, there's no other way to describe it. If you've seen the amazing Tom Ford film, A Single Man, (and if you haven't, why haven't you??), I'd describe the two sides as Colin Firth's character's home - rustic, minimal, beautiful, simple, masculine - and his friend and one time lover, played by Julianne Moore. Her home is spot on that aesthetic.
I was inspired by a post from Lili&Mae, on the relationship between interior design, and fashion. In a period where I'm trying to avoid press days, so I don't bore you guys with shots of merchandise (let's face it: do you really want to see the canapes I've eaten, and how good, really, can one make some clothes on a hanger), what is inspiring me much more is this experience, this store.
The distinction between Jonathan's two styles, two natures, as he explained it to me, is 'unapologetically fancy', and his crafts style. He is, at core, a hand crafted potter. That is his poet's soul side. But the unapologetically fancy side, especially this time of year when we're facing winter and darkness and cold - and Christmas - to me, manifests in glitter and sparkle and yes, a bit of bling, like Chloe's sequin top, or Starrett's Prada shoes.
All photos by me, shot at the new Jonathan Adler shop on 60 Sloane Avenue: during the day, and during the amazing party that night. Thank you to the lovely girls at TCS: Jess, Molly, Emma, for arranging this. But especially, thank you to Jonathan - no, to his parents, who sound like they've raised him with that wonderful spirit, and joy for life, to create with enthusiasm, and abundance. He's like a manufacturer of happiness.