i’m so glad the ‘MDS Interviews’ are back and i’m even more thrilled that the first installment this year has been with Howard Slatkin.
I can’t even tell you all the emails and notes i received of people going on and on about Howard. i think it’s not just because of his beautiful work, design and details from another time, but because his kindness, authenticity and generosity comes out in his words.
to celebrate his thoughts and his ideas, i decided not to add in pictures for part 2 of of this interview…i went back and forth, but somehow i think the images distracted from his answers and the beautiful way he expresses himself.
howard is a treasure, i hope you enjoy discovering all of his favorite things…. i just had to ask him what he loves, and now of course, i know i will love all these things too. enjoy!
HS- Mauve, and all it’s myriad shades and nuances, is a color I am drawn to. I like mystery colors and mauve is one, it can be dusty pink but also pale lilac. But green is my perennial favorite color for rooms——not necessarily a green room, but touches of green. I don’t know of any room that doesn’t look better for a touch of green in it, and there is endless variety. Don’t believe me? Bring in a plant and see its transforming power in a room. Green brings life to a room, it’s our association with grass and trees and the joy of nature. And green goes with everything.
And blue & white, blue is a color I am always drawn to, be it in Chinese porcelain or fabrics. Like the color green, blue has powerful positive psychological effect, blue has the association with the sky, with the sea; with peace, tranquility and happiness.
MDS- What is your favorite Flower?
HS- The flower that is in bloom in my garden at that moment, I suppose. But roses in their infinite variety hold a special allure to me, perhaps because of their fleeting blooming period they make me really take notice of each bloom, be in the moment, and also the history of them has great romance. And is there anything as beautiful?
MDS- What is your favorite Book?
HS- War & Peace, so much wisdom and so much depth, the whole human experience is right there between the covers. It has fascinated me since I was a teen and every year I still dip in and read parts of it; I sometimes think I know the characters as well as I know my friends, maybe more so. And of course the romance of Tsarist Russia holds some allure, although I know it was a horrific dictatorship that should not be romanticized. But the novel conveys images of all the palaces I have visited and that have inspired me: Pavlovsk, Tsarskoe Selo, Ostankino….and the lives lived in them.
MDS- What is your favorite Restaurant?
HS- La Chaumiere, outside Villefranche-sur-Mer in France has so many happy memories and has enormous charm, and honesty yummy food in a magical setting. In New York it is Morandi, my idea of a film set of a village restaurant, for lunch. In London it’s Mark’s and a new one, NAC- North Audley Street Canteen, where the food is as delicious as food served at home and the ambience so comforting, and it’s fun to see the smart young crowd that goes. In Paris it is le Voltaire. I like restaurants that have been around for years and are not the hot new place. But I always, always, prefer to dine in someone’s home and have food cooked at home—mine or a friend’s. Not keen on restaurants and go when there is really no choice, I go as a last resort. Too noisy, too public, food rarely what I like. And I loathe the “hot” new place, the place where there is a scene. To paraphrase Jane Austen, for real comfort there is nothing like dining at home, mine or a friend’s.
MDS- What is your favorite Accessory?
HS- Flowers and plants, nothing enhances a room as much and no room is successful without at least one little flower in it. It’s a sign that a room is loved. Scented candles is also something I cannot live without in a room, a beautiful scent adds great allure, it lifts the spirits. The glow, crackle and scent of a roaring fire adds so much to a room- instant magic!
MDS- Gift to give or to receive?
HS- Books- Always and forever! It is the gift of a whole world, and scented candles from my sister-in-law Laura Slatkin’s company, Nest Fragrances. They are the best- magical scents and they really infuse a room.
MDS- Who is your favorite Artist?
HS- Pablo Picasso….after all these decades of admiring his work he still astounds, still surprises, still gives comfort and still gives enormous pleasure. A close second is Henri Matisse, although there is nothing ‘second’ about him one bit.
MDS- What is your favorite Indulgence?
HS- Giving gifts to friends and family. And Starbucks frappacchino is my guilty pleasure. But I suppose my Norfolk terrier Winnie could be an answer as well, she gives me so much joy and happiness every single day. And in return I try to make her as happy as I can.
MDS- What is your favorite Store?
HS- Czarina in Monte Carlo. The owner, a close friend, describes her shop as a “souk” and in a way it is, a great assortment of the most beautiful things for home (and jewelry) that she discovers on her travels. It’s that rarest of shops: where the owner lives beautifully and knows what makes a home special and what is needed, and also where the taste is very personal. All my favorite things for tabletop, for gifts, for home come from this shop over the past twenty years.
MDS- What is your favorite Vacation spot?
HS- Being in my own homes. Nothing even comes close, alas. It spoils me to go places, let me tell you.
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