It was my pleasure the other day
to speak with creative genius
of Shabby Chic Couture®.
Autographed copies of the new book
are now available for
Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie:
and Flea Market Treasures
Tracing my fondness and deep admiration for Rachel's empire requires time travel to the early 90's
when life centered around babies, nesting, and a relentless love of vintage.
Yaaaaa, I know what you're thinking...get to it, mama!
What is she like anyway?
A wee crumb pour vous: for starters, she is
intelligent, deeply sensitive, eloquent, unhurried, and introspective.
Wanna peel back the onion a bit with
glimpses of Rachel Ashwell's
philosophies, inspirations, and humility?
Even more glimpses from a previous interview with her here.
We first discussed her endorsement of
"looking in the other direction" whether it be
shopping at the fleamarket, stretching
as an artist, or on a journey of
I find it fascinating Rachel is such a keen editor
of lovely yet continues to stumble upon unlikely,
yet consistent additions by gazing in the other direction.
If you are a part of the Shabby Chic®
brethren, you know Rachel's mantra:
Other meaningful terms for her?
("Keep away from mediocrity," she reminds)
I asked about the brand's timelessness
and whether she finds relief in
not having to re-invent each season.
She reminded me that in 2014,
the brand celebrates
its 25th birthday!
Wow. How can that be?
She spoke with passion about
"continuation, rather than reinvention"
and how she joyfully anticipates a whole new generation of Shabby Chic® admirers who will embrace and interpret
for themselves the non-fussy style of Shabby Chic®
In terms of the hallmarks of the brand,
she says "25 years ago or tomorrow, they all fit seamlessly...in my heart, I walk my talk."
Rachel's Shabby Chic Couture® stores
have the same playlist of music pumping,
and I was curious why country music appeals.
She explained she loves the poetry and storytelling
of the genre, just as she appreciates opera.
She favors nostalgic country artists such as
Johnny Cash, George Straight, and Patsy Kline,
and recently in NY was fortunate enough to
attend a private concert by Willy Nelson.
Couture Prairie is Rachel's property book about her
small hotel in Round Top, Texas,
and TEXAS is very dear to her heart.
She is inspired by "The tapestry of Texas living."
and contrasts it with other places she calls home...
for example, the "wide open, easy living" of California
living where "the climate plays a key role" or
"the academic culture in the UK
which was a bit tragic; a bit dark."
Texas has stolen her heart with its colorful community,
spirit of gratitude, and its southern hospitality.
You can't miss the spirit of humility
in her creative endeavors and personal life,
and I wanted to know more about its roots.
As I suspected, Rachel's love of the ocean
and nature is in part linked to her faith.
She spoke about
"the methodical rhythm of the ocean"
and her belief "I am not alone."
In Cali, she can be found trekking 6 miles a day
along the beach, offering prayers of gratitude
"for music, for the land,...".
Since I love Shabby Chic Couture's line of aprons,
I asked what they mean to her.
"I have this thing about washing dishes."
Ha! Me too. Again, a humble chore.
We chatted about how aprons are a nod to
the past and speak of an unhurried life,
a love of home, and unplugging.
Highlights of creating Couture Prairie?
"The prairie came at a time when I lost my mother and was experiencing hard times. Where was I going to end up? I felt this need to put a stake in the ground."
In essence, it was the prairie, a series of 7 or 8 structures
at first presenting as "kind of dark" which would save her.
At her new very un-Hollywood property,
"Emotionally, physically, and philosophically, the light was on me again...it was a soulful feeling."
I doooooo have a deeper understanding
for endurance with the year I have experienced.
Ready to get your copy of the new book!?!
I will share more about its brilliance
when my copy arrives!
snapped at a photo shoot for Rachel's memoirs coming in 2014!
Thank you so much, Rachel, for sharing
thoughtfulness with Hello Lovely once more
(if we spoke Texan, we'd call you
a Darlin-Lovey-Lambchop, and I bet
you'd like it).
you'd like it).
Talk to me in the comment section, peeps!
Isn't she a Darlinloveylambchop?
*photos: Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture®