"Happy Chic" designer and ceramics wizard Jonathan Adler is known for colorful, modernist offerings ranging from high-end to HSN; his pillows alone have inspired hat fashions and sparked controversy. Today Curbed columnist Raina Cox (of If the Lamp Shade Fits) sits down with Adler for a cozy little fireside chat:
Q: You and your husband [Simon Doonan, creative ambassador-at-large of Barney's] are on my fantasy dinner party guest list. What couple, dead or alive, would be on yours?
A: I woulda loved to have dinner with David Hicks and his fab wife, Lady Pamela, who I've actually had the pleasure of meeting in her uber-chic and discreet set—apparently one never says "apartment" or "flat," one says "set"—in Albany in London, courtesy of her divine daughter India. Albany (apparently one also never says "The Albany"—got it?) is an apartment complex originally built for fancy bachelors that I've always fantasized about living in. Anyway, I'd love to have had dinner with them because I find him truly inspirational, not just his work, but the spirit of optimism and fun that I think is evident in all of David Hicks's designs. And I'm a major Anglophile. David Hicks, Bonnie Cashin and Alexander Girard are my holy trinity of inspiration because each of them had a singular and innovative design sense that was fabulously chic as well as joyful and colorful. Love them.
Q: What has surprised you most about working with the Home Shopping Network on your "Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler" collection?
A: I'm a populist; I believe that good design should exist at different price points and I love having the opportunity to do an accessible but chic line for HSN. It's fab. But I'm surprised most by the dearth of accessible and chic hotels in Tampa, Fla.! Please somebody open a flossy flossy hotel in Tampa. Please!
Q: Time travel question: Whose garage sale would you rather scrounge—Jacqueline Susann's or Liberace's?
A: Sophie's Choice, much? Speaking of Liberace, you must read my bloke's recent Slate column about the closing of the Liberace Museum. It's hilarious. And I would especially encourage you to click on the link to the world's largest rhinestone. Def. worth a gander.
Q: What is the most questionable decorating item your husband has ever brought home?
A: He's bizarrely non-acquisitive. I bring home most of the tchotchkes. And, to be honest, when he does bring something home it's always amazing—sorry.
Q: Who were you in a past life?
A: I'm having a tough time getting in touch with my inner Shirley MacLaine, so I'm gonna pass on this one.