As we throw open the curtain of summer, your bed should be high priority on your list of seasonal switch-outs. The down and flannels should be laundered and safely tucked away, cheerfully replaced with natural linens and crisp whites. However, bedding and all its many layers can be tricky. What makes a comfortable (and chic) summer sleep? Here’s what the experts say—and where to find the goods.
Step away from the down. “You’ll want something lighter weight for the warmer months, especially if you’re a hot sleeper,” says Catherine Nicholson of Peacock Alley, a 45-year-old, Dallas-based company whose ADAC showroom is open to the public. “I encourage layers.” If you find it hard to part with the look of your duvet, says Nicholson, go for a comforter labeled “all-season” or with a fill power of 500 or below.
Matelasse is also a popular choice. “A light stonewashed matelasse that’s almost like a blanket is ideal,” says Nicole Wicking from Bovi Fine Linens, a family-owned company with a new showroom in AmericasMart and stocked at Gramercy Fine Linens & Furnishings. Bovi has been producing fine organic linens at a Portuguese mill since 1960, and Atlanta-based Wicking, the U.S. sales manager, is helping spread the line across the country. “Matelasse is lightweight but still comfy—also, washable! Kids and dogs can sleep on it, and you can launder daily if you need to.” Frances Lacefield, founder of local company Room 422, which designs upscale dorm-room bedding, favors matelasse coverlets year-round in the South. “They add pattern and texture to your bed while remaining light.” Lacefield’s suggestion for a totally streamlined bed? “We see lots of customers ditching duvets altogether in the summer and opting for a throw,” says Lacefield. “They’re easier to fold at the end of your bed.”
Silks, flannels, and synthetic blends are only going to trap heat when the humidity hits. Sateen, too, is best for a warmer sleep. When the temps climb, opt for cotton, bamboo, and linen. “Percales rule the summer months,” says Wicking of the closely woven cotton that epitomizes the classic, white sheet. “People love a crisp, cool sleep.” (Bovi’s 400 thread-count sheet sets run around $330.)
But there’s no question that linen, with its luxurious, unfussy vibe, is having a moment. Though linen bedding can cost around 30 percent more than cotton, its relaxed look and soft, earthy feel may suit some best. “If your Saturday morning is the kids jumping in your bed, coffee, your favorite pet by your feet . . . it’s probably not realistic to keep that perfectly starched percale bed,” says Nicholson.
Atlanta-based online retailer Dear Keaton is launching new linen coverlets and shams this summer, including the Logan Collection by Pom Pom at Home (from $103), which features frayed edges and a heathered look. “It’s the season to indulge in linen bedding,” says cofounder Christie Shepard. “It’s highly breathable, and it becomes even softer with each wash.”
Here’s where you want to add a layer. “We release so much perspiration in the summer, so I recommend laying the foundation with a mattress cover that doesn’t absorb any moisture,” says Nicholson. But don’t stop there: Your pillows need attention, too. Start by preventing dust mites with a pillow cover ($25 at Peacock Alley). When storing down comforters for the season, choose breathable cotton over plastic storage bags (or even stash them in pillowcases), as mildew can grow in the feathers over time. While you’re at it, this is a great time to rotate your mattress and launder your pillow top and bedskirt, too.
Cool and cheerful
“I see a drive in the market for bedding that is simple but still has something to it,” says Wicking. “All-white bedding is ideal for summer, but we do a seersucker bedding that’s really popular.” Summer is the best time to lean into color. Coastal hues and playful prints are attractive options when the sun is shining. “I love layers of colorful prints,” says Joelle Klein, bedding designer for Roberta Roller Rabbit, a resort-inspired line with a shop on the Westside. “They look great under the bright light of summer mornings.” The only place in the Southeast to find the joyful scrolling patterns of D. Porthault, the French luxury linens beloved by Jackie O. and the Duchess of Windsor, is Gramercy Fine Linens & Furnishings. The Peachtree Battle shop offers an assortment of high-end bedding lines, including Matouk, Sferra, and Yves Delorme.
A word on washing
Wash sheets weekly—but gently. “Don’t wash on high heat, with bleach or harsh detergent, as it will shrink your sheets and break down the fibers,” says Nicholson. A cold wash is best, and the team at Gramercy recommends a linen soap, like Le Blanc Linen Wash ($28).
Dry on low, and remove promptly to prevent wrinkles. (Tip: Invest in two sets to make swapping easy week-to-week.) Wash pillow covers every three weeks, and clean the pillow itself every three months. Clueless about how to launder a pillow? “A fabulous way is to throw them in your dryer—it fluffs your pillows and rids them of mites,” says Nicholson.
Gina Tollese became a DJ because she couldn’t find anyone playing the music she wanted to hear in her hometown of Birmingham. Her talent eventually brought her to larger crowds in Atlanta, where she mixes everything from Jamiroquai to 21 Savage at venues like Space 2 and Revery VR Bar. “I always pay super close attention to the crowd,” says Tollese. “Feeling the vibes of other people comes pretty naturally to me. What I love most is watching people really, really dance to what I play.”
I’ve grown to love my little Vine City, since it’s right on the cusp of downtown and the west side.
In your bag
If I leave the house without some form of a headphone, lip moisturizer, or lotion, I’m turning around. I can’t function without all three.
I love being comfortable, so things that are easy to throw on are a necessity. My favorite sneakers are my Nike Air Max 180s in Ultramarine. They are such a classic silhouette. My overalls (that I probably wear way too much) are from ASOS. My favorite cozy pants are my black and white Adidas breakaway pants—iconic.
Local dance floor
I’ve never been to El Bar without breaking a sweat, and not just because it’s the size of my bedroom, but because the DJs are always on fire.
In my earbuds
Whew, what’s not in there? Currently: Solange’s When I Get Home, Gunna’s Drip or Drown 2, Gavin Turek, Ama Lou, and Larry June.
A London Fog from Octane
Fave Atlanta visit
One of my favorite memories about visiting Atlanta before I moved here was sweating my hair out to DJ Speakerfoxxx’s sets at El Bar.
May I, for a moment, extol the glorious virtues of wintertime? My chin is finally nested in the folds of a turtleneck sweater, no longer shamed by exclamations of “Aren’t you hot?” My stoop grins, flanked by huge pots of white mums. And it is perfectly acceptable to cancel plans with the outside world and curl up underneath a blanket, nursing my inner introvert instead. Or, as I call it, my inner wintrovert.
Wintroversion takes many years of faithful practice. It is a meditation, a seasonal discipline. You must wrap yourself up in the idea of home as you decamp and feather your nest. For me, this means pulling out the downy blankets and draping them over the plush chairs in my living room and at the end of my bed to keep my feet warm. Out comes the cast-iron pot, prominently perched on the stove, eagerly awaiting its marching orders: Soup! Chili! Stock! The kettle, too: Iced coffee is switched out for hot cups of tea—some destined for a mischievous dance with bourbon in hot toddies. The dog, though outfitted in a fur coat of her own, gets a sweater, if only for a season-signaling Instagram. Wintroversion, commence!
During this time, I like candles. Lots of them. If my living room could even vaguely resemble the candlelit setting of a Harlequin romance novel, I would be just fine. A fireplace? Sure. I’ll wrap up in sedentary satisfaction and bask in its warm glow until my face sweats. Give me a stash of friendly, familiar books, a stack of the fall fashion issues I never got a chance to thumb through, and the comforting sound of You’ve Got Mail in the background, on its 100th loop in my living room.
The most important thing you must remember, if you are going to be a proper wintrovert, is that it is a necessary state of rest. It is a time that spans the end of an old year and beginning of the new, which invites metamorphosis. Things slow down, and your body is given the grace to catch up with your life. You have time to think and reflect. Ask yourself: Have I grown? Have I outgrown? This happens to be my last winter in my current abode, a cozy two-story carriage house where I can nearly span the width between my sofa and fireplace with my arms, where guests are all but forced to snuggle. In spring, I’ll be starting fresh in my new, much more spacious house, which I must ponder.
The weeks I spend cocooning in blankets are not useless sloth; it is time I need. I swaddle myself as I mentally rearchitect, making sense of the year behind me. Swapping out linen for cashmere is an act of ritual, a signal to myself that with every candle I light, every down comforter I fluff, I am ushering in a season of change. By the time spring’s first bulbs break, I am ready to shed those layers and bloom in the sun. And when my leaves fall off at the end of the year, my inner wintrovert will step in and slow me down. Out will come the blankets, and I will know she has arrived.
Jess Graves is a freelance writer who has contributed to Southern Living, Town & Country, and Garden & Gun.
Perhaps more than any stretch of pavement in the city, the expanse of Ponce de Leon Avenue between Mary Mac’s Tea Room and the Majestic Diner possesses the historic charm, the culinary creativity, and the total weirdness that makes Atlanta, well, Atlanta.
Where else in town—or, really, in America—can you find a 1.5-mile segment of street that’s home to an octogenarian 24-hour diner, a 1960s doughnut shop owned by a sports megastar, a modern French restaurant serving crab crepes with black-corn butter, a city block–sized food hall dishing everything from classic tonkotsu to $32 lobster rolls, two sprawling rooftop bars (one boasting a straight-up amusement park), a cozy strip-mall haunt inspired by Twin Peaks, and, taking the whole thing way over the top, a beloved basement strip club where Lynch himself, along with the neighborhood’s salty regulars and its James Beard–winning chefs, would feel right at home?
Ponce not only has survived the eras with its spirit and identity intact; it has continued to grow and thrive while retaining its idiosyncrasies. The street’s many intersections of highbrow and low remain beautifully confounding, and its conflicting evidence of Old South and New is as intoxicating as ever. No matter your background, your desires, or (for now) your bank-account balance, you can’t help but have a blast on Ponce.
“Ponce de Leon has always been a special place, and, like many special places, it is a place in-between, both an official and unofficial dividing line between many places real and figurative,” says Eric Simpkins, whose first memories of Atlanta nightlife were formed on Ponce in the 1990s and who, in 2017, opened the restaurant and cocktail bar Bon Ton on a Ponce side street. “Whether you are talking about neighborhoods, different races and cultures, countercultures, economic classes, or music scenes, it is a meeting place of so many different ideas and times.”
To fully appreciate the magic of eating and drinking here, you first must understand the two legendary destinations that bookend Ponce’s key corridor. At the easternmost point is one of the oldest continuously operating restaurants in Atlanta. The Majestic Diner’s red neon sign announcing “‘Food That Pleases’—Since 1929” stands as a beacon, and its Streamline Moderne facade provides a wall of windows to the world that is Ponce de Leon Avenue. That world is at its most entertaining in the wee hours of the night, as is the Majestic itself, which is open 24/7.
But even the afternoon shift has hosted its share of memorable events, according to former employee Ana Duckworth, who worked at the Majestic in the early aughts.
“There were always lots of music discussions going on there. It was a wonderful introduction to all the local garage bands,” Duckworth says. “I remember my coworker coming in with demo tapes of new songs his band was working on. A few kids from his band worked afternoon shifts with me. Back then, you got a free meal during your shift, but it was a hard and fast rule that the pork chops were off-limits. One day, I walk in, and those kids from the band are there just chowing down on pork chops! Guess the pork chop incident didn’t really affect their career trajectory. Their band is the Black Lips.”
Near the Ponce corridor’s westernmost point, its other bookend, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, has kept its doors open since 1945. John Ferrell, who purchased the legendary Southern meat-and-three in 1994, has made it his mission to retain a taste of small-town sensibility in the middle of the big city. “We had a customer standing outside who was trying to catch a cab to his hotel,” he recalls. “I offered to give him a ride. He was from the Northeast, attending a dental convention. He thanked me, saying it was a great example of Southern hospitality. About a year later, I was leaving the restaurant, and there was a couple waiting for a cab. I offered to run them to their hotel. When they got into my car, they were laughing. They said, ‘Our dentist was here a year ago and told us that the owner offered to give him a ride to his hotel—and here you are today, doing the same thing!’”
Another selling point for Mary Mac’s: its proximity to one of the first Atlanta outposts of Krispy Kreme Donuts. The shop is so treasured that Basketball Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal had to have it. Shaq commemorated his 2016 acquisition of the Ponce Krispy Kreme with a celebratory tweet: “Ur favorite doughnut just got even HOTTER, baby.”
Just east of Mary Mac’s and Krispy Kreme, the inimitable Atlanta Eagle, a 31-year-old gay bar, is hyped as “a one-stop shop for anyone looking for larger, hairier, and leather-clad.” Just west of them, Bon Ton, Simpkins’s hip New Orleans–inspired joint tucked behind Cuban standby Papi’s, strikes the perfect Ponce balance with its riffs on classic po’boys (including the perfect Nashville hot oyster roll) and on classic cocktails (including the just-as-perfect Smoked Bourbon Mai Tai).
“Bon Ton is a bit of an ode to the idea of Ponce and another great city in Louisiana that is certainly dealing with similar issues,” says Simpkins, alluding to the threat of gentrification. “I think you can be too fancy and nice (never too hospitable), too expensive, too greedy, too selfish, and definitely too boring for Ponce.”
Heading east from there along the Ponce corridor you come to Atlanta’s most literal underground club, MJQ Concourse. Much of the current clientele in the vast subterranean space is barely older than the legendary club itself, which draws renowned DJs and a packed-to-the-brim mix of cool kids. In the pocket‑sized strip mall a few yards behind MJQ’s unassuming entrance, there’s the low-key Bookhouse Pub, named for the headquarters of Twin Peaks’s secret society of vigilantes, the Bookhouse Boys. In similar underdog fashion, it holds its own against its massive, intimidating new neighbor, Ponce City Market. In fact, Bookhouse, with its Native American artwork and bric-a-brac, is where Ponce City Market’s bartenders and chefs knock off after long shifts in the galleys of PCM’s food hall. They find respite in Bookhouse’s tiki-inspired cocktails and its lack of pretense.
“Frank Silva is honestly one of my favorite bartenders in the city,” says Julian Goglia, a partner in Ponce City Market’s the Mercury restaurant. “Murphy Renault, the other owner, is usually there, drinking a soda, splash of cran. So, buy him a soda, splash of cran if you want to brighten his night.”
The Local, another popular bar in a plainer vein, is just a few steps away from Bookhouse and MJQ—but it’s the Local’s sister business, Eats, that earns icon status on Ponce. A quarter-century since it opened, Eats still offers huge portions of greatest-hits comfort food (cornbread, collards, casseroles), served cafeteria-style with an extra helping of nostalgia.
At the other end of the spectrum (and yet only a block away), forward-thinking restaurant and cocktail bar 8Arm offers ambitious compositions such as a dish of refried black beans graced with ramp kimchi and Burgundy truffle, and the Wake the Dead cocktail, a variation on the classic Corpse Reviver that combines VSOP cognac with a bitter red aperitivo and espresso liqueur. 8Arm stays open until 2 a.m. on the weekends, often making it the last stop for danced-out MJQ patrons. It then wakes up with the city as a weekend brunch hang. Skip Engelbrecht, a partner in the operation, has seen some strange things in those long hours.
“There was this guy named Joseph. You didn’t know if he was actually homeless—he could have also been a sound guy for a band. He became a weekly figure in our lives. One day, he comes in and says, ‘Hey, I have to move to South Carolina. It was great knowing you guys.’ A few weeks later, he adds our whole staff on Facebook and starts giving us updates on his life. Then, one day, he’s like, ‘Hey guys, bad news: I cut my finger off. I looked around for it for a while, but I couldn’t find it, so I was like, ‘Fuck it.’ So, I guess now I don’t have a finger.’ We reply, just kidding around with him, ‘Hey man, sorry about your loss. If you find it, send it to us!’ A week later, he sends another message: ‘Hey guys, found my finger, it’s in the mail.’ We were like, ‘No way that’s true.’ A week later, a bloody envelope shows up. And there it is, in a Ziploc bag, wrapped in a paper towel.”
Looming over Eats’s and 8Arm’s small operations, the mixed-use behemoth Ponce City Market is—depending on whom you ask—either exhibit A in Ponce’s promising future or a sure sign that the end of the street’s gritty charm is nigh. In its original incarnation more than 90 years ago as the Southeastern distribution and retail center for Sears, Roebuck and Company, the building was the nucleus of life in the city. Sears closed the retail center in 1979 and cleared out a decade later, after which the city bought the building. The vast majority of the 2.1-million-square-foot structure lay mostly dormant for decades. But after it was scooped up in 2011 by real estate investment company Jamestown (whose partners saw value in its adjacency to the then-forthcoming BeltLine Eastside Trail), it transformed not just Ponce but the entire Old Fourth Ward.
The once-quiet fortress of red bricks now houses hundreds of residents (two-bedroom lofts can fetch $3,700 a month), along with trendy offices, a mall’s worth of high-end shops, and that teeming food hall of 30 or so restaurants and stalls, many from big-name chefs and James Beard winners.
One of them—chef Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia, Star Provisions, and Floataway Cafe—already had fond recollections of Ponce when she decided to open W.H. Stiles Fish Camp in Ponce City Market.
“We used to celebrate birthdays and other milestones with the Floataway staff at the Clermont Lounge,” she says, “although I rarely would touch a glass to my lips there (bottled beer only, out of the bottle).”
No place on Ponce better encapsulates the singularity of the street than the Clermont Lounge. Many of its performers have been disrobing at the strip club for upwards of 20 years. None of them is more famous—or speaks more loudly to the perseverance of Ponce—than Blondie, a 60-something dancer best known for her ability to crush beer cans between her breasts. (She also, as Quatrano and countless others can attest, uses them as instruments for pummeling a customer’s head.) “We did totally enjoy the shows,” Quatrano says, “especially when Blondie motorboated [my husband] Clifford for his birthday.”
For decades, the hotel above the endearingly sleazy lounge was one of the dodgiest destinations on Ponce. Now, like Ponce City Market, it’s been radically redeveloped. The swanky Hotel Clermont has rooms that can go for $250 and up on the weekends and a line out the door for its rooftop bar. And nestled between the hotel and the lounge is one of Atlanta’s finest new restaurants, Tiny Lou’s, with a modern French menu and a name that nods to a legendary burlesque dancer who once worked downstairs.
Mercifully, the hotel’s renovation left the basement lounge largely untouched. Without the Clermont, there would be no Ponce as we know and love it.
“I’m proud to be a part of the legacy of this street,” Blondie says. “Who knew I would be working here 40 years, shaking my booty?”
Thomas Raab studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology before landing his first job at DKNY as a menswear designer. After seven years with the brand, he was lured to Atlanta by Sid Mashburn and appointed head of men’s design. Now the design director of the avant-garde, Miami Beach–based clothing line Alchemist, he develops menswear, womenswear, shoes, and handbags. When he’s not at home in Atlanta, he’s sourcing fabrics and visiting factories in New York, Los Angeles, and Italy. Next up? His own label, TAR (his first initial plus those of his wife, Angelica, and daughter, Rio), which combines the sport of American workwear with the precision of Japanese tailoring.
I grew up in Greenlawn, New York, which is part of the Huntington township, between Manhattan and the Hamptons.
I never leave home without my MacBook Pro, headphones, Rhodia notebook, plastic toothpicks, breath spray, tape measure, and a spare T-shirt—typically a concert tee.
I wear tons of black.
I spend an inordinate amount of time at Lenox Square, which is the best spot in Atlanta for people-watching.
David Bowie and my wife, Angelica, who is the most stylish person I’ve ever met! She is the VP of design and color at Spanx. My all-time favorite designer is Rick Owens.
In my earbuds
My current heavy rotation is Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, Simon & Garfunkel, Bishop Briggs, Franz Ferdinand, and the Club Acoustic playlist on Spotify.
Hopefully, one day, I will visit my biological origins in Vietnam and Thailand.
The Guava Cheesecake ice cream at Queen of Cream
When off the clock
I’m singing karaoke on Buford Highway. I also love going to concerts at Lakewood Amphitheater and watching movies at the Tara theater on Cheshire Bridge.
TAR’s oversized camo leather tote is made in L.A. with European leather and converts to a backpack. Price upon request, tar-usa.com
Becoming a mother fueled Jaycina Almond’s career. The 23-year-old became a full-time model only after her daughter, Syx, was born in 2017. It was a decision of necessity: As a primary caregiver, she needed a flexible career. She quickly garnered campaigns for the likes of BeautyCounter, Dôen, and Target. Somehow, she found the time to publish a book of poetry, In No Particular Order (Amazon, $9.99), which outlines her journey into motherhood. Next up, Jaycina—who has a soft spot for vintage and 40,000 followers on Instagram—is launching a subscription box for expectant mothers called Tender, which delivers a selection of items handmade by other working moms and gives 10 percent of its profits to local mothers in need.
Hometown Lexington, Kentucky
Neighborhood Old Fourth Ward. My daughter and I just moved here from Reynoldstown. We love the splash pad.
Skin care secret I do a facial steam every week with a cheap steamer from Amazon, followed by the Aztec Secret healing clay mask, which I mix with apple-cider vinegar.
Favorite accessory I have a gold ring that spells out my name—surprisingly, I got it made at Zales!
Go-to kid-friendly spot Indoor playground Hippohopp is a lifesaver.
On my playlist
“Khlorine” by Smino, all of Wet’s new album, and “Loving is Easy” by Rex Orange County.
For most of my twenties and into my early thirties, I ran a lifestyle website called The Love List, where I featured interesting Southerners driving our culture in food, music, and the arts. Ten years ago, on the hunt for story inspiration, I stumbled across a vivd, painted riff of Audrey Hepburn’s famous profile, butterflies fluttering around her iconic Givenchy sunglasses. The artist was Ashley Longshore, a New Orleans-based force of nature whose levity, power, and sheer clarity of vision was obvious even then, before Instagram came along and she amassed a following in the hundreds of thousands.
Fast forward to now: Ashley is a bona fide celebrity in the art world—her bawdy, tongue-in-cheek approach to pop art has fixed its filterless lens on icons such as Vogue editor Anna Wintour (painted in the reflection of her sunglasses: “No Fatties”) and a grinning Lil Wayne to huge, rhinestone-bedecked messages, such as “I do not cook. I do not clean. I do not fly commercial.” She has been embraced by everyone from Blake Lively (an early fan) to luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman. Also a darling of the fashion world, her first Atlanta show is at Jeffrey in Phipps Plaza, where her renderings of Birkins and bottles of Veuve Cliquot will mix amicably among the shop’s glossy white displays of Gucci, YSL and Balenciaga. In tow will be 50 pieces of new work from the artist, as well as glittering pieces from her Liberace-worthy limited-edition Judith Lieber collaboration. Longshore will be signing bags with purchase in-store from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, October 18 and from 1-4 p.m. on Friday, October 19.
You’ve managed to become a huge success by being unconventional as an artist in just about every way, including circumventing galleries altogether. How do you think the lessons you’ve learned in business can translate and apply to any woman in the work force? Once you figure out who you are and what you want, you go for it. When you figure out that formula—the one for being you—and be confident and fearless about that, you can really make it happen in any industry. So many people said I’d never make it. I can chose to let those emotions weigh me down or I can get in my studio and paint. My paintings are money I made. Money is power. And it allows me the freedom to lay in bed butt-naked, buying Gucci, watching Mean Girls for 10,000th time. This is a country of freedom, [and] during a time of so many incredible female entrepreneurs, the rules are there for you to invent. Just go do it, girl. Do you and don’t apologize. It means I can roll into your luncheon, drop F-bombs the whole time, pull out my black Amex, pay for the whole thing, and then go back to work!
You speak often on social media about haters—naysayers, social climbers, trolls. How do you push through that negativity? If someone has a negative option about what I do, it hurts, because wanting to be liked is human. But here’s the deal: you can’t make everyone happy, so chill out! I have to be very confident in who I am and what I’m putting out there. People on social media now channel their road rage to the internet—it’s really no different. It’s just anonymous noise. My best gift is to just to put positive shit out there, because [things are] so scary and depressing right now.
Social media has been a major player in your rise, and you didn’t do it by abiding by algorithms, pretty grids, outfit selfies, or by enlisting an agency. What’s the secret sauce? My approach to social is that it’s my daily journal. I am putting my optimism out into the world. Sometimes, I wake up and give myself a pep talk. People need to know that, too—the challenges [I encounter]. I’m very real. Social media is a great tool. It isn’t the answer, but it’s a tool. And its fun, man! It’s my world! It’s Ashley Longshore World!
Describe Ashley Longshore World; I think I want to move there. Man, in Ashley World, it’s fun. You gotta be silly, play, embrace perversion, and profanity—things a 15 year old would like. I don’t ever want to be pretentious and turn my nose up at things that bring me joy. I want to keep learning and be a student. My clients respond to that—because people who buy art see themselves in it.
Fear doesn’t seem to be in your vocabulary. How do you keep getting to that next level? I want to be successful, so quitting will never be an option. True entrepreneurs don’t quit. When things go wrong, that’s when I learn, and I learn how to teach other people [those lessons]. If you know who you are, then you’re never gonna give up on yourself. Giving up on yourself is the worst thing you could ever do.
Have you ever paid a price professionally for being so outspoken? It’s hard for me to post things sometimes about how I feel politically, to be bullied about politics. For example, I posted that I didn’t think children should be separated from their mothers and I got so many nasty, harassing emails and comments. I was just like, my god. I am still finding the confidence to say, “This is how I feel.”
You’ve definitely become super involved in the fashion world: Bergdorfs! Judith Leiber! And now Jeffrey. Fashion is clearly one of your muses; tell me what the impetus for your humorous approach to fashion was and how you plan to keep evolving that. Fashion to me is fun. It isn’t stuffy. It’s self-expression. For me, that is a black T-shirt every day, hands covered in jewelry, two Rolexes—one that says “time for business,” one, “time to party”—and massive sunglasses. You know why? That’s how I’m feeling. Fashion is just funny, so why not have a sense of humor about it? I think the fashion world has embraced me because I’m not a size zero and I love me some me. I love to take risks. This is my interpretation of my life! People are buying a piece of my soul.
Okay, you can’t always have been this confident. When do you think you really grew into yourself as a person and hit your stride? When I found painting, I was able to build a fort between myself and what was hurting me in the world. At some point, I realized I could put things that were upsetting me or making me feel insecure into my work—that I could let the painting say what I was thinking, and let people react. When I realized some people felt the same way I did about things, there was a connectivity that made me feel very brave. The people that support me make me brave.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in business? What is the smartest move you ever made on your own behalf? I don’t believe that entrepreneurs should focus on the mistakes they’ve made. I’ve been doing this for 24 years—anything that went wrong was a learning opportunity. The lessons I’ve learned have been more about trusting the wrong people, but even those have led me to be much smarter about handling my business. They’ve prepared me to do deals with global companies.
What question do you think you’re always trying to answer with your work? Anything that worries you? I’m always trying to answer the question of becoming the ideal American woman. What does that mean? Who is she? I am still searching for that. As far as fears, I don’t have fears about the work I do—if anything, I worry about not having enough work. I work my ass off so I can be prepared when I get a call from Bergdorf Goodman and I say, “Okay, I can ship 500 paintings.” My career is a series of events where preparation meets opportunity. You worry less when you’re prepared. Your fears die down. You want to know what I do worry about? That Uber Eats won’t be delivering the thing I want to eat today. I worry about that.
Finally, it’s fall, which means cooler temps, which means we’re allowed to curl up and hibernate with a stack of books. In September, celebrated Atlanta interior designer Suzanne Kasler is releasing Sophisticated Simplicity, a tome replete with a litany of previously unseen, lavish interiors in her signature classic style. Here, she shares a handful of design books that have influenced her, plus a new title she is looking forward to. “Each time I look at these books, I see different ideas and inspirations,” Kasler says. “Some have been in print a long time and still inspire!”
Dwellings: Living with Great Style by Stephen Sills and James Huniford (released in 2003)
The famed designers—whose client roster has included Anna Wintour and Vera Wang—teamed up with former Elle Decor editor-in-chief Michael Boodro for a tight, indispensable guidebook for any design lover. Images reflect their timeless, classic style, and just the right amount of text provides useful insight on designers’ philosophy and process. Gorgeous architectural detail and wall treatments abound.
Style by Saladino by John Saladino and Barbara Stoeltie (released in 2000)
Architectural designer John Saladino is widely known for his mastery of light, scale, and drama, mixing the old and humble with the flashy and new. “This book well reflects his special style,” says Kasler. It’s out of print and something of a collector’s item, but copies can be found on Amazon and 1stdibs.
Victoria Hagan: Interior Portraits by Victoria Hagan (released in 2010)
An iconic designer best known for a knack of looking outward and relating interiors to the surrounding landscape and architecture, Hagan works to weave the view from outside in. Colors and silhouettes are sophisticated, elegant, and unexpected. It is required reading for anyone interested in the new American Classic aesthetic.
New Read! Inspired Design: The 100 Most Important Interior Designers of the Past 100 Years by Jennifer Boles (coming in October)
The authoritative writer and blogger Jennifer Boles has been thoughtfully documenting the interior design world on her website, The Peak of Chic, since 2008. So, it’s appropriate that this Atlanta native is the one to compile such a definitive list. As designers from Sister Parish to Kelly Wearstler are named off, lush photos of their most important rooms accompany their profiles.
Daniel Zimmerman believes in paradigms, primarily standing on the shoulders of giants. “It’s so interesting to me that thousands of years ago, artisans were using similar methods to those I use in my studio today,” he says. The artist and interior designer counts classical architecture, mythology, and ancient Egypt as key inspirations for his work, which includes thrown forms, terracotta and porcelain pottery, and sculpture.
Formerly a designer with Musso Design Group, Zimmerman and another former Musso colleague, Seth van den Bergh, recently launched their own design firm, the Drawing Room. “We live for clients who have a great appreciation for arts,” says Zimmerman, who particularly enjoys creating custom pieces for designers or his own clients.
Some of his most popular pieces include his tiny terracotta flower pots, sized deliberately to fit the miniature orchids from Trader Joe’s. He embosses them with hand-carved stamps or gives them a simple glaze.
Zimmerman’s ancient-influenced art stands in contrast with his modern, whitewashed studio on the Southside, the centerpiece of which is a gleaming Skutt kiln. He knew he wanted a Skutt, but unable to afford a new one, he scoured the internet until he found a used one nearby. Unfortunately, it was in terrible condition. “I watched hours of restoration videos on YouTube and spent several weeks restoring the parts,” he says. “I’m still working on a name for her—any suggestions can be sent to my Instagram.”
Daniel Zimmerman ceramics are available at Interiors Market, 55 Bennett Street, interiorsmarket.com.
This French apothecary staple, with little oil molecules that dissolve makeup and debris, eliminates the need to rinse your face at night. One small victory for lazy people, filed next to dry shampoo.
While they have no place on drapes anymore, they’ve found their way to my ears. I’m listening.
Kit and Ace
Taking the city by storm. My favorite super-wearable, minimal, comfy-cool brand is new to Ponce City Market and now opening at the Shops Buckhead Atlanta.
Parking at Ponce City Market
As I just mentioned, Kit and Ace is now opening at the Shops Buckhead Atlanta, where I get three hours of free parking, thank you.
Have y’all heard of this app? It allows you to retouch selfies beyond the point of recognition. I’m all for a nice filter, but no need to go melted Barbie doll.
The latest get-skinny fad, à la Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba. This medieval organ scruncher needs to go away in favor of some good old-fashioned crunches.
Illustrations by Claire McCracken
This article originally appeared in our Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Style Book.
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