Editor’s Journal – October 2018
By Karol DeWulf Nickell, Editor in Chief
The old west is new (again)
Her lengthy email began “My name is Jean Marie Clarke.” Multiple lines and minutes later, I knew she had a deep connection to her restored 1920s Phoenix adobe home and a distinguished, international career in textile design. Today, after two months of planning, we photographed Jean Marie modeling her fashions in this amazing historic residence. Check out our feature here.
As reported by The New York Times earlier this year, fashion designers have fallen in love with the American Southwest once more. What’s surprising is that it’s not American but European houses, including Céline, Chloé, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Versace, that lead the latest reinterpretation of iconic elements. One specific example cited was the showing by luxury shoe and leather goods producer Tod’s of cowhide prints, clay-colored clothing and white leather moccasin booties.
While runway trends are miles and mindsets away from the actual Arizona home, they remind us of how special this aesthetic is. With roots in indigenous cultures, influences from diverse historic eras, and imagery that is inherently reflective of our beautiful yet wild environment, this regional look is distinct from any other in this country or the world.
Thanks to talented designers here and in neighboring states, Southwest style continues to evolve. We feature three innovators in this issue: Virgil Ortiz, Jean Marie Clarke and Julia Buckingham. Each started their design journey in different places. And while their life paths, teachers and mentors, talents and passions are all unique, their creations are equally of this area. With not a single cliché (or cowhide print) among them, their work is authentic and exciting.
Just received images from the 2018 ASID Arizona North Chapter’s Design Excellence Awards gala. So many friends in the crowd and up onstage accepting awards. Congrats to President Tabitha Evans and her team on a job well done!
As a longtime admirer of early American textiles, I was immediately drawn to the new collection of rugs brought to our city by retailer David Adler. Based on early darning samplers from the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the floor coverings combine art and history.
From a loyal reader who wants us to do better:
“I’m a fourth-generation Arizona native who has been living for the past 20 years in a midcentury modern home. So I appreciated it when you expanded the variety of styles shown in your pages from the all-brown-and-beige Southwest ones to more contemporary and colorful examples. But, that’s where the compliments end. Lately it seems as though your magazine has become a forum for the self-admiration of designers and building contractors, and replacing the monthly garden section is such a letdown. Also, publishing only letters about how wonderful your magazine is looks shallow.“
Sent via iPhone
Editor’s Note: Thank you, Stephanie, for taking the time to write us. I will do my best to provide answers to your thoughts. The special advertising sections featuring local professionals you mentioned are paid ads, which are necessary for us to publish an editorially rich and locally created magazine. Subscriptions only cover a small portion of our costs. The monthly, regional garden section is being retooled into a new product—please watch for its launch in the near future. Finally, the opinions of our readers—both positive and negative—are of the utmost importance to us. Your feedback helps us shape future issues and guides us in our editorial content. Thank you again for reaching out.