“I had an inheritance from my father,
It was the moon and the sun.
And though I roam all over the world,
The spending of it’s never done.”
― Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls
Image Credit: Jenny Graham // Iceland 2013
Merry Christmas, baby! What do you adore during the holiday season? Hands down, my answer is surrounding myself with a great cast of characters: my family. We share the same kind of funny and not much else can come close to the benefits of laughing with the people you love. So go ahead, get your cast together, be a bit offbeat and laugh the night away. Cheers and love, JBD
Image via Pinterest
With Christmas around the corner and the Winter Solstice behind us, it is a lovely time to acknowledge darkness, while allowing light to continually enter into your life. I felt the majesty of nature while in Iceland and it reminded me of the magic of this season. Have good taste in people; the experiences you live out will be better for it. Look at Mother Nature, she definitely made the right choice in hanging out with Jökulsárlón. This glacial lake is located in Southeastern Iceland, situated at the head of Breiðamerkurjökull, where it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
I became enchanted with the ever-changing natural light in Iceland. To stand surrounded by floating ice, a coastline and majestic mountains is surreal. And quite chilly this time of year!
The wind strength and gorgeous cloud formations are unique to Winter. I truly felt an inner calmness standing on the land.
Image Credits: Jenny Graham
In need of last-minute holiday gifts? Look no further as I introduce you to a Park Slope favorite of mine, Poppy. I discovered this boutique while on a mission for a classy-yet-sexy date dress. After finding the right frock, a friendship began with Poppy’s owner, Leslie McKeown. A creative force, Leslie immediately gave off a welcoming and whimsical energy. I knew I wanted to interview her for JBD. Almost one year later, the timing is right. Enjoy our conversation and pop into Poppy any time!
You have a passion for fashion. Tell us about your background.
I grew up in a very small town in Canada and was a bit of a fish out of water. In a teeny town in the early ’80s without internet or cable television you really had to search for a connection to something more. Fashion and music were my portals to the outside world. On my turntable was Duran Duran, The Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen; basically all new wave. Fashion-wise, Vogue was a major inspiration. In my last year of high school, I did a research project on designer Christian Lacroix’s first haute couture collection, referencing Christian Dior’s “new look” from the ’50s. Needless to say I was the only one with that topic. Also, when I was 14 my mom opened up a clothing store of her own. From very early on I was working on the floor, doing window displays, book keeping and gaining an understanding of the industry.
When and where did the idea for Poppy come about?
Leading up to 9/11 I was working, not very happily, in the dot com industry. As with many people, that event shook up my world and I began to examine what I really wanted to do. There was the aha! moment when I realized that fashion was what I was really interested in. I dropped everything for an opportunity to work with an up and coming fashion label. After a year or two I was ready to do something of my own. Despite being in the fashion capital, I had never found my own go-to boutique. I wanted to create a shop with a homey, comfy environment. One where we would know customers by name and grow with them, where I could curate an edited selection of small known contemporary brands and introduce new ones. Thus, Poppy on Mott Street in Nolita opened in the fall of 2003 and had an amazing ten year run!
Your Park Slope store is so welcoming and well-curated. Are you constantly keeping an eye out for new designers?
Yes! Buying for the shop is probably the thing that takes up the most of my time. I see so many collections each season. In fact, there is probably not a day that goes by that I am not looking at something. Good buying makes or breaks a boutique! You can have the coolest looking store but if its not stocked with things people want to buy (when they want to buy them) it does not matter.
Which designers are your go-to’s?
Lauren Moffatt has been one of my main go-to designers pretty much since the beginning. Her aesthetic is a perfect match for Poppy. I love her as a person and every season she blows we away with what she does from the cuts to the fabrics…
Christmas is around the corner. What five items are perfect for gift-giving?
You can never go wrong with gifting someone a gorgeous, yummy sweater. This season there are so may great sweaters! There is a Paris brand called Fine Collection where all the styles are loose in the body and fitted in the arm, a personal favorite cut. Jewelry is always an easy gift like this inexpensive necklace from Tomboy.
One of the great things about relocating to Park Slope is that the store is bigger. I am able to offer more gift items which is something I have always wanted to do. Going super luxe, this alpaca blanket from Jonathan Adler is amazing.
Accessory every woman should own?
I generally tend to dress in wardrobe building blocks. On the bottom: skinny jeans or boyfriend jeans. On top: white tees or tanks, silk blouses, black blazer, slouchy v-neck sweaters. Fitted leather or denim jackets. A trench in the Spring, a cargo in the Fall, a parka in the Winter. A couple of good dresses for good measure. Very basic. So accessories-wise, it is all about a shoe that makes you feel amazing as well as a great scarf. Oh, and a bunch of necklaces all jangling together.
What will never go out of style?
Jeans, a white tee, great shoes and a great bag! And wearing them with confidence!
If you could meet any designer, who would it be and why?
If we are talking wish lists, it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall during the heady times of Yves St. Laurent’s career in the ’70s and ’80s.
What are your favorite blogs and magazines for style secrets and inspiration?
Much less into magazines these days. Vogue,etc no longer resonate with me. Style magazines I do buy are more home and design related. House and Home from Canada is awesome, Living Etc from the UK is so inspiring. I visit so many blogs. Some include Miss Moss, Garance Doré, Design Love Fest and Le Catch.
What are your regularly visited Brooklyn spots (aside from Poppy, of course)?
Since I live four blocks from the shop, this ‘hood is my world! Faves include Prospect Park and Annie’s General Store for gifts and unique home pieces. For restaurants: Blueprint and Stone Park Café both on 5th Avenue and for bars it’s High Dive on 5th Avenue and Mission Dolores on 4th Avenue. Cycle Bar has crazy hard cycling classes just around the corner from my house. Another favorite is The Community Bookstore on 7th Avenue.
Best advice you’ve received?
In terms of business, my mom always said that her approach was to treat someone coming into her store as if they were coming into her home. Not only is this being welcoming and warm to everyone that enters, it extends to creating an environment and an attention to detail (music, décor, lighting, scent) that would make someone enjoy being there and to return.
When in doubt…?
Notes: For more details, check out Poppy here. // This interview has been edited & condensed. // Images courtesy of Leslie McKeown.
Before I unlock a series of posts dedicated to Iceland next week, let’s take a look at our own backyard. My brother’s girlfriend helped launch the Natural Areas Conservancy, a new non-profit formed to protect and restore New York City’s 10,000 acres of forests and wetlands. These natural areas are a vital resource for all New Yorkers, improving air quality, buffering communities from storms and flooding, and providing incredible recreation opportunities. With the holidays upon us, I’m mentioning this important and natural gift. Please consider supporting the work of the Natural Areas Conservancy by making any amount of donation. No amount is too small! Donate and get more information right here.
Image via Natural Areas Conservancy
I have been back in the states for a couple of days. The Icelandic experiences and memories I’ve been fortunate enough to collect feel sacred. Many of the extraordinary images and humble moments captured on camera are downloading as I type this blog post. While I’ve granted myself a bit of time before the supernatural awesomeness that is the magical country of Iceland is up on JBD, I do hope you enjoy a walk on the wild side via the photos my new pal, Daði, took on our journey through Vatnajökull National Park. They show a sliver of an entire week of living deep in the power of nature, circled by inner balance.
Image Credits: Daði Guðjónsson
Well, kids, I’m off to Iceland. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. JBD’s future creative content will include the Blue Lagoon, the Northern Lights, a glacial hike, small plane rides to big mother nature moments, live concert shenanigans in below zero temps, and a slew of interviews with Icelandic designers. Have a wonderful week!
I think a lot. I think a lot about the fact that all of us are on this awesome planet for a time unknown. And when I remind myself of this fact, it inspires me to keep at everything that feels right…to trust myself and maintain balance within my life. At an early age I was taught (by example of my mom and dad) that if you don’t try, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know the magic that awaits you. So get out there and embrace the three P’s: patience, practice and perseverance. Your existence will thank you. xx, JBD
I couldn’t tell you the last time I went inside of a mall to shop. Perhaps 1990-something? I cherish local boutiques as well as well-curated websites. Amazon Fashion is a go-to online destination for holiday party dress inspiration. I clicked and clicked, thinking I wanted a sparkly number, but then this Rachel Palley simple beauty caught my eye. Stay tuned because I’ve partnered with Amazon Fashion to create a must have look this season. Which means, kids, some real life JBD action photos are coming to a screen near you. In the meantime, check out Amazon Fashion right here.
Image c/o Amazon Fashion
Mr. Jamie Davidson is the man behind Strong Suit, an Arkansas based tailored collection of suits and sport coats. The debonaire Mr. Davidson is a true Southern gentleman, one who knows Southern sensibility and style will always resonate in the market. You may have already spotted his designs if you’re a fan of Breaking Bad. Characters Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) each donned Mr. Davidson’s other line Tre Vero, which is sold in over 160 Dillard’s stores nationwide. Read on and remain stylish!
NAME: Jamie Davidson
DAY JOB: Designer
HOMETOWN: Little Rock, Arkansas
CURRENT ‘HOOD: Little Rock, my grandparents’ home
HIDDEN TALENT: I’m a paintball mercenary.
SONG ON REPEAT: Beyond Belief by Elvis Costello
INSTAGRAM OR TWITTER: Both. @jtothehd
COCKTAIL DU JOUR: Don’t drink.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 3 WORDS: Not that tall.
TELL US ABOUT STRONG SUIT: Strong Suit is a new tailored clothing line I started aimed at a guy who wants a modern fit with classic fabrics. The trick is we are offering canvas front old world quality garment for under $600.
DAILY UNIFORM: Jeans. Blue and white Bengal stripe shirt. Navy sweater or blazer.
TOP 5 PLACES TO SHOP: Sid Mashburn. Stag. Context. Coffman’s. Locker Room.
I LOVE A WOMAN WHO WEARS…Anything Agent Provocateur. But you have to have an engineering degree to get it off.
IT’D BE A DREAM TO DRESS…If I could just get my friends to dress well I’d call it a victory.
YOUR LINE, TRE VERO, HAS BEEN SEEN ON BREAKING BAD – WHAT IS NEXT? Well, there is more Tre Vero, but obviously there is no more Breaking Bad, unfortunately. It was a fun quirky thing. We dressed both Walt and Jesse. It was total serendipity. Tre Vero is exploring vintage plaids and garment dyed bottoms for the foreseeable future.
VACATION DESTINATION? Casa Colonial Beach & Spa, Dominican Republic
WHAT WILL NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE? Navy blazers and Bar-B-Que.
For more Strong Suit, Tre Vero and all things Jamie Davidson, click here.
Images c/o Jamie Davidson. Note: this interview has been edited and condensed.