Style setter Jonathan Adler isn’t shy about glamour.
“I hate to sound macabre,” he said, “but when you’re about to kick the bucket and looking back on your life, I hope you remember the glamorous moments more than the quotidian ones. My calling in life is to provide those glamorous moments.”
Adler, a famed potter, designer, author and retail force, is known for his iconic designs and a sense of style that skews ’60s and ’70s mod. He has long been a proponent of fearless fun in decorating. But he also prescribes a liberal dose of shine and recently launched a collection that focuses on gleaming brass. We asked Adler to give us the rundown on glitz:
Q: We love your phrase “irreverent luxury.” Please explain what that means and how we can achieve it.
A: I think stuff should all be beautiful, writ full of fab style and impeccable craftsmanship, but it should also communicate a sense of fun. Unfortunately, a sense of fun isn’t often present in the luxury world, so I’m trying to inject that spirit into what I do.
Q: You also use color unabashedly when others tiptoe around it. Is color a big part of glitz and luxury?
A: Colors can trigger emotional responses. An overload of beige can get depressing, so I adore color. Like most drugs, though, color should be used carefully and not excessively. You’ll notice in my work, I use tons of neutrals with pops of optimistic colors.
Q: How does someone go a bit glitzy without looking like they just came into an inheritance? In other words, is there tasteful glitz, and when is it over the top?
A: I think that a room is like an outfit. It all needs a bit of gold to crank up the glamour. A little glitz is good for the soul. Franco Moschino said it best: Good taste doesn’t exist. Good taste is a subjective construct. My taste is my taste, your taste is your taste, and as soon as you can free yourself from the shackles of the idea of good taste, you can start to live.
Q: How can we add glitz to a party table and our homes without going overboard?
A: Candlelight is every fun-lover’s best friend. It makes everyone look a little more glamorous than they really might be. You don’t need to have scented candles going all the time, but you do need to entertain with an abundance of candles.
Q: Any tips regarding luxury and lifestyle?
A: I think everyone should live like royalty, no matter his or her circumstances in life. You are the ruler of your own domain, so you might as well get the most out of it. Think of your armchair as a jewel-encrusted throne, your bathrobe as an ermine-trimmed cape. Every time you open your front door you should breathe a sigh of relief. It should feel like you feel when you hear your favorite song on the radio.
Q: Looking ahead, what design direction are you aiming toward?
A: My husband, Simon Doonan, Barneys creative ambassador at large, nailed it with the title of his bestselling book, “Eccentric Glamour.” We should all be striving to be ever more eccentric and ever more glamorous, and I think about that all the time as I make stuff. I want to make stuff that is life-enhancing and adds style, craft and joy to your life.