Continuing on with the exploration of what is on the mind of our designers, today the spotlight shines on Joel Woodard. Mr. Woodard is a respected interior designer with credits that range from the Kips Bay Showhouse to House Beautiful to collaborations with Albert Hadley, one of the most respected of all interior designers. Mr. Woodard, as so many before him, found his way to his métier via Seventh Avenue where he worked beside Mr. Beene and Arnold Scassi.
Today, you get to find out what he is all about ……
1-What is the most treasured possession in your wardrobe?
An old Hamilton wristwatch that belonged to my dad.
2-What is your most sterling trait?
I am fiercely loyal to my closest friends – to the death even. Some might disagree here but they would be wrong.
3-What is your bliss?
Although I make my living as an interior designer (I formerly worked for a few well-regarded fashion houses on Seventh before I had my own concern), I have to honestly admit that, for me, time stops and joy resides when I am drawing clothes.
4-What is your guilty secret?
I am addicted to Peanut M&M’s and Glee.
5-Where is your ideal home?
I vacillate between something extremely modern and spare – ala glass box or one-room barn in the country to a flat in London. I prefer wide open fields to the beach.
6-If you could not be a designer/retailer/etc.:, what would you be?
I can’t imagine. . . .
7-What is on your bedside table right now?
A mercury glass table lamp, my Blackberry, some books of poetry that I read for inspiration.
8-What do you wear to bed?
Honestly, a classic, all-cotton grey sweatshirt from Walmart. No one would ever know if you didn’t tell them (and there’s only one someone who might need to know).
9-What if any, book are you reading now or last read?
The Complete French Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe, and E.E. Cummings-Complete Poems 1904-1962. It’s just like having the remote and flipping the channels.
10-What’s your advice to the “newcomer?”
Find a mentor that really believes in you and your talent and be forever grateful to him/her for their guidance.
11-Who or what is your inspiration/style icon?
Madame Gres – fashion
Albert Hadley – interior design
12-Who is your favorite designer?
Fashion: Deceased – Madame Gres
Fashion: Living – Ralph Rucci
Interior Design: Albert Hadley
13-In 3 words or less, describe the current state of fashion.
“What a dump.”
14-If you could would you wear your own designs or shop in your own store?
Being an interior designer my house does wear my own designs, more or less. If we’re speaking of fashion, I would again say “yes” but it might take a bit of gender alteration. . . .
15-If you won a $200,000,000 power ball, what is the first thing you would buy or do?
I would give a goodly portion to universities and charities that want to fund arts programs. There’s a dearth of beauty in the world. Then I would buy a plot of land and build a one-room barn, all white. One simple, divine, open space with undisturbed vistas.
16-If you could invite up to 4 people for dinner, who would they be…dead or alive?
Solomon, my now-deceased dad, my partner and a justice of the peace.
17-What are your favorite movie and/or movie star?
My favorite movie is “Random Harvest”
My favorite female star (deceased) is Greer Garson (1939-1942)
My favorite male star (deceased) is Spencer Tracy
My favorite female star (living) is Meryl Streep
My favorite male star (living) is Anthony Hopkins
18-What is the one thing you would change about yourself?
Being on the artistic side, I would like to be less emotional sometimes.
19-Whose opinion do you value most?
Who was it that said “let your conscience be your guide?” Jiminy Cricket? I think that is sage wisdom.
20-What store or which designer do you most like to shop in or wear?
Bergdorf Men is a favorite kid-in-a-candy store thrill though I don’t really shop labels to wear. I wear what I like and what suits me from high-end to Walmart. And when someone says “I love your (fill in the blank),” I just say “thank you so much!” You don’t have to tell. Why should you? If someone thinks you look great, that’s a wonderful compliment to you. Style is everywhere and it’s all about “the find”. It’s ultimately all in how you put it together.
21-What’s your take on magazines, books versus the internet?
I can’t live without hard copy, books especially – they’re like wonderful old friends. Magazines are a distant second. I rely on the Internet for immediate gratification, especially when I need info fast. But when I want to think “where did I see that in my library?” and then I start digging and then I find what I am looking for, I clutch that book to my chest in gratitude for having found what I was searching for, knowing I’ll never forget where it is again.
22-Do you have a dream collaborator?
I am fortunate enough to have Albert Hadley as my dream collaborator since he closed his business last year and I now run his business through mine. I do have a dream in fashion, however, to one day know Mr. Rucci.
23-If you could pick anyone as your customer, who would you select and why?
Fashion – Cate Blanchett. She’s such a chameleon and has such ethereal beauty. I see so clearly how I would dress her.
Interiors – Donald Trump. I’d just like to see if anyone can reason with him . . . .
24-What’s your music library like?
I unashamedly listen to a lot of stuff. Being from the South, I grew up on country music, America’s music, and I find inspiration in it at this point in my life. When I moved to NY from Alabama I didn’t want anything whatsoever to do with that. But as you grow older you realize you are from where you are from and you can find solace there. And I use that to my advantage.
All the great designers, from fashion to interiors were from the back ass of nowhere. It’s that cultural deprivation that feeds creativity. How many brilliants do you know that were born on Park Avenue? I can’t honestly think of any. But you think Indiana, it’s Blass and Halston. You think Louisiana and it’s Beene. You think Tennessee and it’s Haldey. It’s the imagination of Park Avenue that is the key.
But I love classical music as well. I am moved by all types of it depending on my mood. For example, I love the harp though some people find it “plucky”. . . go figure.
My library consists mostly of female artists – Dinah Washington, Della Reese, Adele, Nanci Griffith, Anita Baker, Oleta Adams, Emmylou Harris. I sense a theme here if you are familiar with their work.
25-What and where is your favorite meal?
I love a good hamburger. I always have. Simple, honest food but exquisitely presented will win every time over pheasant eyebrows under glass. You know it’s true. . . . if you are honest with yourself.