A Chat with Design Doyenne HEATHER CLAWSON of HABITUALLY CHIC

There is nothing we love more than a beautifully designed interior – whether it is an apartment, closet, museum or store. In a city as habitually hectic as New York, it’s a necessity. No wonder we can’t get enough of Heather Clawson, interior designer and creative connoisseur behind the much-adored blog Habitually Chic. For five years, the Manhattan-based blogger has chronicled her inspirations, art projects, glamorous daily life and everything chic for the style-obsessed.

Below, we got a chance to chat with Ms. Clawson about her muses and the undeniable fluidity between fashion and interior design.

 

Barneys New York: What inspired you to start writing Habitually Chic?

Heather Clawson: I was working for a very high-end interior designer when I first started reading design blogs.  In 2007, I had my light bulb moment.  Maybe I should write a blog. Back then, not many design bloggers actually worked in design. I thought I could write from an insider’s perspective about all the amazing people, places and things that I encountered in New York, as well as my love of art, fashion, photography and travel.

BNY: Who are your muses?

HC: I have to say that New York is my muse.  Every day when I walk down the street, I see something I could write about on Habitually Chic or inspiration for a new design project. This summer, I was inspired by the chartreuse and blue colors that I saw in Picasso’s work at Gagosian Gallery, and the emerald green pants I kept seeing on people on the street. Stores like Barneys can be inspiring not only for the beautiful clothes, but also for the store design and fixtures. New York gives you plenty of reasons to keep your eyes open and to pay attention!

 

BNY: What words of wisdom should everyone follow when decorating their work space?

HC: The best advice is to keep the things you need on a daily basis within arm’s reach. You definitely don’t want to be hunting for a pen while on an important phone call. Don’t be afraid to use items meant for a different purpose – I have an old silver toast rack that I use to hold my stationery and a mint julep cup for pens. And, an inspiration bulletin board is important for keeping mementos and reminders visible too. Out of sight is usually out of mind in an office.

A few Habitually Chic inspirations

 

BNY: How do you create a sense of calm when decorating?

HC: New York can be such a crazy place, so homes should be a calm place of refuge. For me, that means a neutral backdrop in rooms used most often like the living room, and more fun colors and patterns for rooms like dining spaces.  When the backdrop is neutral, it’s easier to change out pillows, books and accessories when the whim strikes or the seasons change. I also really love the calming effect of a blue bedroom. It’s almost as good as Ambien!

 

BNY: What is the best piece of fashion/design advice you have ever received?

HC: I can’t remember who said it.  It might have been the Duchess of Windsor or Diana Vreeland, but I always remember to “wear something to amuse the eye” when I get dressed.  If I’m wearing a very neutral outfit, I’ll wear a ring with a blue stone for a pop of color or a fabulous necklace. The same advice holds true for design.  When I design a space, there should be something in the room that amuses the eye like a blue upholstered French chair or fun, decorative objects placed around the room.

 

BNY: What do high fashion and interior design have in common?

HC: Fashion and interior design will always be linked in my mind. Upholstery uses many dressmaker details from fashion and even some of the fabrics cross over. Fashion opens up a whole new world of inspiration for me and the reverse is true for many fashion designers. I know many designers who read design blogs and magazines for ideas.  I especially love seeing how fashion designers decorate their homes – they don’t follow any rules, and combine pieces they love to achieve a very personal space.

 

BNY: If you were accidentally locked in Barneys New York overnight, what would we find you wearing in the morning?

HC: I don’t normally wear one designer head to toe, but in this situation I’d take the opportunity to drape myself in as much Lanvin as possible. I love a blouse with a tie neck, so I’d start with this cap sleeve blouse. I’d pair it with a fabulous tweed skirt for a sexy secretary look. It might be chilly overnight so I’d throw on this petrol colored wool coat . Once I was dressed, I’d head down to the fourth floor for these Miu Miu green suede pumps. Then it would be time to hit the main floor for a bag and jewelry. I’d continue with Lanvin for the Happy MM handbag. I’d add some more color with a pair of aquamarine Marie Helene de Taillac earrings, and finish off my look with some Lanvin cuffs.

 

BNY: What items are at the top of your holiday wish list?

HC: I think a Celine bag is at the top of my holiday wish list – each style seems destined to become a classic.

-Kim Anderson

Main image of Heather Clawson courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar


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