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Jonathan Adler promotes 'Happy Chic' at downtown store

Published 7:12 pm, Saturday, December 1, 2012

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  • Jonathan Adler, designer and writer, shows off merchandise for the camera during a Saturday appearance at the home-design that bears his name on Main Street.  Westport CT 12/1/12 Photo: Jarret Liotta / Westport News contributed
    Jonathan Adler, designer and writer, shows off merchandise for the camera during a Saturday appearance at the home-design that bears his name on Main Street. Westport CT 12/1/12 Photo: Jarret Liotta

 

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Touting interior decor sensibilities that evoke both hip style and fun, designer, author and entrepreneur Jonathan Adler visited Westport Saturday afternoon to sign copies of his latest book and officially launch his new home-design store on Main Street at the former site of Achorn's Pharmacy.

"I've always wanted to have a store in Westport," said Adler, who owns 22 others around the nation and in London. "I think it's one of those singular towns that has lots of style and lots of charm."

Dozens of fans came to meet Adler, whose brand focuses on "happy chic" merchandise known for vibrant colors and offbeat -- even kitschy -- themes. Ten percent of the store's sales for the day benefited the Westport Arts Center.

"I've been buying Jonathan Adler stuff for years," said Lauren Paup of Orange, who purchased two new copies of his latest book, "100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life," for the designer to sign.

"I'm always kind of drawn to a mid-century modern aesthetic," she said. "I love his use of color and whimsy."

"My entire philosophy is, `If your heirs won't fight over it, we won't make it,' "Adler said. "I think you should fill your house with things that are really great and that people are going to want for years."

"We're really big fans of Jonathan Adler," said Cari Kingsley of Weston.

"We've just rebuilt our home in Weston and we used some great wall covering from him ... and we're here to say hello," she said.

David New of Westport, a visual merchandising consultant who has worked with Adler, came to see for the first time the renovated retail space that housed Achorn's for decades.

He said Adler's shop offers "a mix of product (with) a consistent taste level, from the smallest items to the biggest, and there's just a great variety of things."

"It's modern, but it's not a cold modern," New added.

David Frankel, president of Jonathan Adler Enterprises, attributes the company's success to Adler being "a prolific creator. He just has this never-ending desire to make stuff."

Also, he said, "I've never met anyone who has the design knowledge and historical design reference that Jonathan has. It's incredible."

"We're children of the '60s and raised through the '70s and '80s, and that has definitely influenced who we are and what Jonathan does as an individual, and us as a brand," Frankel said.

Frankel's only regret regarding the new store is that the iconic Achorn's Pharmacy sign, which referenced "Serving Westport" since the 1950s, was damaged during renovation work.

But a new sign was put up in its place, which reads: "Serving Westport since 2012."

"We wanted to at least pay homage to it," Frankel said.

"Hopefully we're creating a new institution in Westport," Adler said, "and hopefully we'll have a similar tenure."