NJM Q&A: Happy-Chic Tastemaker Jonathan Adler

Admired for unbridled use of color and graphics in home furnishings and accessories, Jonathan Adler is an iconic designer, potter, author and bon vivant.

Jonathan Adler Luxe Living Room
Mix, Don’t Match: This bright and breezy living room, luxuriously layered in classic Jonathan Adler style, sports the season’s hippest new furniture, draperies and accessories.

He’s one of today’s hippest trendsetters. Admired for unbridled use of color and graphics, Jonathan Adler is an iconic designer, potter, author and bon vivant.

Hailing from the rural Cumberland County town of Bridgeton, he touts irreverent luxury and hotelish comfort at home. “Surround yourself with things you love, no matter how eclectic, and your home will be happy,” he says.

Adler’s line of home and fashion accessories is available through 25 Jonathan Adler stores, 1,000-plus retailers around the world and on jonathanadler.com.  Rather than surf his website, we recently caught up with the man himself.

What comes first? The style or the color palette? It depends. Some things positively scream for a chic chartreuse or a beautiful blue and wouldn’t look right in any other color.  Other times I’ll be obsessed with a particular palette and go from there.

How important is color in your everyday life? I like pure color and am always true to my palette. Happy colors are the most effective nonprescription antidepressants on earth. Beige is a bummer. When you’re about to kick the bucket, you don’t want to look back and see an endless haze of beige. You will want to remember your persimmon breakfast room or your blood-red library. People who are afraid of color are afraid of life.

Do you wear a lot of color? I wear color on top, but always white jeans, all year long. As a potter, I work with a lot of white clay, so I don’t have to worry about it showing up on my pants.

Where do you find inspiration? I keep my eyes and my mind wide open. I am lucky to live in New York, where I can walk out my door and be surrounded by the best people, culture and food in the world. In the summer, I also paddleboard for two hours each morning. It’s contemplative and burns squillions of calories.

What’s your next big thing? More stores, more products, more everything. I never say no to an alluring collaboration, and our latest is limited-edition eyewear with TOMS. I’m excited to dress up glasses with some of my favorite icons, colors and materials, while supporting TOMS’ One for One initiative to give sight to someone in need for each pair sold.

What still makes you weak in the knees? I’m obsessed with brass—jewelry for your home that’s warm, twinkly and glamorous. It gets even better with age. Other things that make me feel that way would be anything Italian from the ’70s—and my husband, Simon, of course.

Adler, author of four books including 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life, is married to Barneys creative ambassador Simon Doonan.They reside in Manhattan with their Norwich terrier, Liberace.

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