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5 Minutes With L.A. Designer Mary McDonald

5 Minutes With L.A. Designer Mary McDonald

Always-glam L.A. designer Mary McDonald gets candid about French chairs, Auntie Mame and her almost-secret guilty pleasure.

LX: Your collection for Schumacher:

MM: Combines feminine floral chinoiserie and fretwork paired with snakeskin and ’60s geometrics.

LX: Shopping havens:

MM: LA: JF Chen is numberone for antique and vintage furnishings. New York: Score hard-to-find porcelain at Bardith. Creel and Gow is a no-brainer for unbelievable minerals, fossils and taxidermy. Palm Beach: House of Lavande’s vintage jewelry is to-die-for. Lori Jayne Monogramming & More mean “more” when they say it. Who doesn’t love Circa Who for antiques?

LX: A well-designed room should have:

MM: One really good antique or vintage collectible; something large enough to notice like a console or bookcase.

LX: Female decorator muses:

MM: Nancy Lancaster and Madeleine Castaing. Syrie Maugham had a cool thing going on, too.

LX: Summer wardrobe staples:

MM: I’m spending most of my summer in Cape Cod, so am pulling out my Irving & Fine embroidered blouses and linen coats, and a pair of eyelet pants I bought in Capri about 900 years ago. I never tire of them.

LX: You’ll never part with...

MM: A rather large emerald cocktail ring I inherited from my mother.

LX: Favorite fashion designers:

MM: Christian Lacroix for textiles, the simplicity of Bill Blass, the structural femininity of Balenciaga’s draping, and Dior’s New Look.

LX: Can’t live without...

MM: French chairs, Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche, lipstick, a space to truly call my own and lock the door, and a cocktail here and there.

LX: Guilty pleasure:

MM: The Santa Palm Car Wash in West Hollywood has the best hot dog in history... and I hesitate to tell anyone.

LX: Your personal and decorative style:

MM: Personal: Wasp with a bit of Audrey Hepburn meets Auntie Mame. Decorative: Wasp invited Mame, but she in turn invited Peggy Guggenheim unannounced.

LX: Fashion house you dream of having a collection with:

MM: Such pressure, but I’ll say Balenciaga. I wonder if they’ll ask me...

LX: Best gift you’ve received?

MM: A surprise Mercedes 280 SL.

And time is up... until next time.

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