W ith a hugely successful lifestyle and homeware brand, designer Julia Amory is best known for her beautifully patterned textiles created using India block printing.
Tell us about your route to where you are right now, this isn’t the career you started out in…
I've always been passionate about art and design and growing up never fathomed I would find myself in finance post college. However as fate might have it, I did and learned a tremendous amount while working for a large investment bank. In my late twenties I got back in touch with my love of design while working on the concept for my husband and I's wedding in Southampton – I saw a hole in the market for readily available beautiful and affordable linens. I worked to design the first print, which we used at the wedding – it was a huge success and really helped to quickly establish a cohesive look and mood for the party. While on our honeymoon in Paris, it dawned on me that this might actually be a business. Five summers and many product launches later, here we are.
As a concept, Julia Amory celebrates colour, pattern and exquisite craftsmanship through the lifestyle products you offer. Can you talk a little bit about the ethos of the brand?
Thank you! I really believe that a beautiful home contributes to peace of mind. I've been heavily influenced in my life by family members who have lived beautifully and believed very strongly in the importance of collecting and creating an elegant home that serves as the nucleus for family gatherings. I think there is both a joie de vivre and a certain level of imperfection about the brand that is so important...think elegant, but never uptight. Ballgowns and bare feet.
Do you remember the first piece that really ignited your passion for jewelry?
My father is from Germany and I have been lucky enough to receive several pieces from my great grandmother that were given to her by my great grandfather, including an art deco diamond brooch with a pearl center. My mother would let me play with some of the jewelry when I was young and I gave it almost mythological status in my mind. I later wore the broach as a debutante and later adhered it to my bouquet at my wedding. After college I did a stint at Christie's as an intern in their jewelry department – that didn't do much to dispel my love of fine jewelry and the passion only continues.
What is your relationship to jewelry? Do you wear it every day?
I do...I have a very strong emotional connection to much of my "everyday" jewelry. Gold bangles from Tiffany that my grandfather would give me for special occasions, a gold Cartier watch I bought for myself in my thirties, a Brent Neale sapphire and diamond ring I recently had her make using stones from a piece I inherited...jewelry helps me to feel "dressed", even if I'm in a white t shirt and jeans. I have a nostalgic appreciation for the permanence of investment basics when it comes to jewelry.
Julia's Picks from Fine Jewels Geneva
What advice would you give someone who wanted to dress and style a table for a special occasion? Do you have specific dos and don'ts?
The first "do" would be to embrace the fact that there are no "don'ts"! For those who feel intimidated by the process, the best place to start is with a beautiful tablecloth and coordinating napkins - just add plates. If color terrifies you, an easy rule of thumbs is to choose something in the same tonal family i.e. mix a pale blue tablecloth with a deeper blue Portuguese plate. Fresh flowers and tapers are a must. I love a colored tapered candle in a coordinating color. So much of what I use on my tables is rinse and repeat, meaning I use the same objects over and over and it certainly doesn't always have to "make sense": pretty porcelain vegetables, real fruit, vintage bud vases, you name it I'll put it on the table. It's all in the spirit of fun!
You have homes in New York, the Hamptons and Florida. Does your interior (or personal) style differ in the these locations?
I am a lifelong, born and raised, New York City girl but we recently left New York and are now located between Long Island and Florida where we are renovating a house. There is a gravitas to New York that has always made my "city style" a bit more formal; you will not catch me in gym clothes on the street in the city. When I'm in New York, I dress. The same goes for my interior taste – slightly more formal. The Southampton house is far less formal, much more lived in and certainly more sunwashed. For Florida, I'm embracing all things Island – interior shutters, high gloss floors, and lots of white.
Julia's Picks from Handbags & Accessories
If you could trade wardrobes with any figure, whether historical or from the present day, who would it be?
Historically – Marie Antoinette, because why not! I have always been fascinated with the French invention of the fashion industry and the intertwining relationship of politics and dress. As my more practical pick I would say Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and would best describe my personal style as "CBK does Palm Beach".
Aside from jewelry, what else do you collect?
Clothing I currently have no place to wear...and dachshunds (if my husband permits it)
What’s next for Julia Amory? Can you talk about any current or upcoming projects you have in the pipeline?
We're launching a second collection of our children's collaboration with Smockingbird as well as a fun project with Pamela Munson both of which will be debuting this summer!