Twenty five years ago I was a very silly 18 year old girl having a wonderful (huge smile) time in college and laughing out loud before LOL was an acronym. The first week into school I met a boy originally from Illinois whom I will always remember for being kind and gracious yet at the same time knew how to have fun. We certainly did LOL together!!
Fast forward 25 years……
About a month ago I reconnected with him and although many years have passed and we both are happy as clams in our present lives, the reconnection was as if no time had passed whatsoever and we picked up like we had spoken to each other the day before and had been doing so for the past 25 years ~ the sign of a good friendship………
After perusing his fabulous blog, MARKDSIKES.COM, I realized why we resonated in college; we have similar taste and I guess always have. I love how his blog combines both aspects of design ~ fashion and interiors. Not one or the other, but both. He takes fashion staples and translates them to interiors.
I decided to do a Hadley Court post on him as one of my all time favorite designers and someone whom I know will be in Architectural Digest Top 100 at some point soon. I spoke to him last night and “interviewed” him in an unofficial interview checking into his perspective on design:
Without further ado, here it is:
SLA : Mr. Sikes, (my new term of endearment for Mark D. Sikes) who do you consider your mentor/or whose taste do you admire greatly?
MDS: Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta- they illustrate perfectly my passion of fashion and interiors intertwined. Both of these men are fashion designers, and also have the most perfectly decorated homes. Another mentor is Stephen Sills. He is the master of curating an eclectic mix of furnishings in the most brilliant and beautiful way. I also admire Alexandra and Michael Misczynski’s work.
SLA : What did you learn from them?
MDS: They each represent the idea of elegant living that looks effortless with a deep respect for beautiful things.
SLA : What aspects of design do you feel are of greatest importance?
MDS: Beautiful fabric with the right details, I want to be known for always using the most beautiful fabrics. Every room should have fabulous fabric. Fabric is where a client should splurge.
At the same time every room should have a fabulous antique if possible.
SLA: For someone starting to decorate their own home, where would you recommend they begin?
MDS: I would always say buy books. I believe strongly in books. You can stack them on coffee tables or of course in book shelves. Books create interest immediately in a room. They add depth and dimension. I would also say one fabulous antique per room because you can always mix one special antique with a chair from Ikea or Restoration Hardware. If you could only buy one thing, a really special, fabulous antique, would be it.
SLA : What is your favorite city for shopping?
MDS: Paris, for sure!!
SLA: Favorite Artist?
MDS: I like to mix modern and abstract art with traditional interiors. That’s my look. I love Cy Twombly. I also love Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra, Agnes Martin and Josef Albers.
SLA: Do you have a favorite historical home?
MDS: Givenchy’s Le Clos Fiorentina and La Fiorentina, both on the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in the French Mediterranean and I love Versailles, especially the gardens. In America, I love Monticello, Jefferson’s home in Virginia.
SLA : Random Question: What is your favorite tourist type attraction, all kidding aside?
MDS: I actually love a wonderful breakfast diner; I am not a natural tourist. I love to shop, but I do love a great breakfast at a local diner.
SLA: What is your favorite museum and why?
MDS: I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
SLA: Is there any special exhibit you want to see at a museum?
MDS: I will always love the Greek and Roman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and presently speaking, I am looking forward to seeing the Jewels by JAR exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well.
SLA: Speaking of going places, where do you see your business/brand heading in the next few years?
MDS: Last month I opened a STORE on my website which sells books, men and women’s clothing and accessories- home décor coming soon. The store will be updated daily with new things I find that I love and monthly I will curated new collections or in retail terminology “deliveries” that will have a seasonal and color point of view- a perfect mix of “high and low”, as well as, a perfect mix of classics and trend- one thing you can count on everything will be chic! I am also in the process of designing some of my own products. This online store is the foundation for a physical store debuting in LA at some point and then hopefully a few more opening across the country- I have my eyes on Dallas! I want to create a beautiful and comfortable environment filled with all my favorite things- including serving lots of iced tea and chocolate chip cookies!
All in all, the interview was light, because after all, I was really just talking to an old friend. However, all good relationships should bring us to a higher place and in talking to Mark D. Sikes, I was reminded of an old quote, “ the best things in life are not things”. Yes, Mark will remind us all to bring classics to any aesthetics and how fashion can be translated into any interior. Yes, Mark loves beautiful things, but rather from an artistic sense as opposed to a materialistic perspective. Mark’s real legacy will remain in his kindness, having fun and overall being a true gentleman.
Certainly things do not define Mark D. Sikes, but rather his heart’s aesthetic of putting other’s first.
What I love about Mark’s blog and sense of style is a combination of what I stand for: lovely dressing of yourself, a lovely home in which to live and lovely manners to tie it all together. The art of being authentic and true to self……..Thank you Mark, for bringing the old world charm of gracious living back into our lives. I look forward to watching you continue to grow in your career. As Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca, “Here’s looking at you kid.”
Written by Hadley Court contributor Sarah Aynesworth.