Jonathan Adler Really Hates Mauve, Says Color Adds A “Tingle To Your Chakra”

It's no secret: Jonathan Adler loves color. And his Happy Chic collection for jcp is further proof the king of pop knows how to make shades sing. So, when promoting his line for the big-box retailer in NYC, we tapped the delightful designer about all things color and design, including decor dos and don't-even-go-theres!

Tell us about your collection — what were you going for?
"What I was going for was a collection that is chic with really great design and with really happy prices. I wouldn't make stuff that I wouldn't be thrilled to have in my house. [This collection] is super-chic, super-glamorous, and always has a little bit of a twist. Actually, the whole collection is like lemon sorbet for the home — a palate-cleansing, happiness-inducer."

You can see your signature affinity for color. Will these bold pieces translate in other seasons? "The collection is done like a lot of my other work. Some of the bigger pieces are done in more classic, muted tones, and then the smaller pieces are acidic accents that work in every season. That's kind of my decorating philosophy: It's like a very chic and classic foundation with little bits of colorful punctuation. The colors aren't in an overwhelming amount; it's just the right amount to add a little tingle to your chakra."
You're kind of like the unofficial king of color. Are there any hues you definitely avoid? "Dude...the kids are rocking an '80s-comeback thing, but mauve is like the one thing I will never, ever embrace."
So, what color are you championing right now? "That's a tough one; it's kind of like Sophie's Choice. I think orange, which is the color of sunshine to me."
Speaking of things you don't do, there are a lot of decorating or design rules out there. What's one that you think people should just totally throw out the window? "I'm a rule breaker. A rebel without a decorating cause. What is a rule? I don't know what rules are anymore. We're lucky to live in a lawless era; it's kind of great. There are guidelines that are helpful, but it's an anything-goes free-for-all-of-the-world, and I've never been happier to be in it."
So, what's a guideline we should follow? "I think that it's always good to start with symmetry. If you're just starting to ease into something, arrange things symmetrically and then you can start to play. And then when you're arranging objects, the power of three. Groupings of three always create a harmonious composition."
What's a new trend you think people should know about but don't? "I'm known as a colorful guy, and I am, but I think gray is a trend that I'm so happy to see, because it's beautiful. It's a neutral color that bold colors can pop against. When in doubt, think gray as your go-to neutral. It plays so well with bolder colors, so don't disregard gray."
Any trends you just wish would go away, never to return again? "Hmm. [Turns to PR manager.] Brian, what's a trend that I hate?"
Brian: "Mauve?"
"That's not a trend. I'm not a hater. I'm literally not a hater. My sort-of design mission is for people to be able to find their own voice and what makes them happy."
So, when you walk into a home, what's the first thing you notice? "It drives me insane when people push up their furniture against the wall. That's the first thing I notice. Even if you don't have that much space, it's good to give your furniture a little bit of a float. Also, I'm a clean freak. I like a clean place."
Okay, last question, and quite possibly, the most important: How do you compare your decor style with your sartorial style? "You know what, my sartorial style is exactly like my home-design aesthetic, which is that I use lots of white. It's a great basic and neutral for things to pop against. I try to be chic and classic. Like right now, I'm doing a white jean, navy jacket, blue button-up, so it's a little bit nautical-chic, with a couple pops of color. And comfort! It's exactly the same as decorating. It should be comfortable, always classic, and always with a little twist."

Photo: Courtesy of Jonathan Adler.

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