The Authentics

In a world driven by speed, sameness and recycled imagery and content, where the word authentic is batted around as a generic adjective for the mundane and undeserving, it is a true pleasure to read photographer Melanie Acevedo‘s and Schumacher Creative Director Dara Caponigro’s new book, The Authentics.

The Authentics

As Dara expounds what so many of us can relate to in her introduction, “I’ve bemoaned the fact that so much of what is special in this world is disappearing…the quirky people who used to be everywhere in New York, … the intimate and interesting conversations that constantly bubbled up, uninterrupted by texts and selfies; the deep sense of discovery and wonder felt upon encountering a creative spark that felt utterly original. Where has this all gone?” Well, happily Melanie and Dara traveled the world to document 30 trailblazing creatives, across a variety of disciplines, in their private domains. Through over 250 original photographs and insightful interviews, this beautiful volume is a reaffirming answer for those of us who crave the original, the beautiful, the courageous and yes, the authentic.

Nicky Haslam in The Authentics book

These are extraordinary individuals who have followed their passions, regardless of outside influence or pressure. There are names you will recognize – Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, Ashley & Katalina Hicks, Miles Redd, Hutton Wilkinson, Nicky Haslam, above, etc – all of whom have found success on their own terms through their idiosyncratic visions. But there are also lesser known subjects whose talent, tenacity and achievements will wow you.

Nicky Haslam in The AuthenticsFrom boarding school at Eton, to London’s swinging 60’s, to a stint at American Vogue and many more adventures, Haslam has “been the go-to guy for rock stars, royals, and billionaires who crave his unerring mix of refinement and joie de vivre, proper decorating suffused with just the right dose of glamour.” His homes in London and Hampshire are a stylish amalgam of classic and eccentric that suit his renegade personality to a tee. How does he stay authentic in a world that to increasingly embrace uniformity? “Cynicism.”

Nicky Haslam home in The AuthenticsI wouldn’t mind being reincarnated as the incredibly stylish global talent Ann-Marie Midy. Based in Brussels with her partner Jorge Almada and two children, Midy grew up in Paris, studied in the US (RISD), working in NYC and Boston and now has homes around the globe, from cosmopolitan capitals to remote desert, that are tied to hers and Almada’s joint heritages.

Ann-Marie Midy in The Authentics

Their company Casamidy, based in Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende, produces furniture and accessories with the artisanal craftsmanship that also shines in their homes – their Brussels townhouse, below.

Anne-Marie Midy Brussels townhouse in The Authentics

Anne-Marie’s five essentials for every room? “Light, proportion, warmth, pillows, and a place to sit.”

Anne-Marie Midy Brussels home in The AuthenticsI was delighted to discover the inclusion of  jeweler designer Solange Azagury-Partridge, whose work I’ve admired for years.

Solange Azagury-Partridge in The Authentics

Her fearless and irreverent approach to her designs directly translates to her home where bold color and eclectic combinations offer an insouciant charm. And why does she love what she does? “Jewelry is a distillation of artistry, mystery, value, magic, glamour and beauty. Making it is a constant intellectual and artistic challenge that I enjoy every day.”

Solange Azagury-Partridge home in The Authentics

It’s hard not to wear a smile around Johnson Hartig’s exuberant cornucopia of pattern and color that is his clothing line Libertine. With a “fearless, rule-bashing approach,” he is as much a romantic as he is a maverick.

Johnson Hartig in The Authentics

His Los Angeles home bears the same creative spirit with a layered eclecticism that “bridge(s) the gap between art and fashion and ignite(s) a conversation about what it all means.” And what enriches his soul? “Real human connection, nature, animals, travel, and beauty.”

Johnson Hartig LA home in The Authentics

One of the most celebrated French architects of his generation, Joseph Dirand has developed his own brand of French modernism, melding restrained refinement with generous warmth.

Joseph Dirand in The Authentics

Whether a residence, restaurant or couture boutique, his obsessive attention to research and detail yields spaces whose narratives are both an homage to the past and a vision of the future. In his own apartment, sensuous shapes and materials form a purist reverie that leaves room for real life. His advice? “Doubts are certainly more constructive than certitudes. Maintain your curiosity, passion, and thirst for learning.”

Joseph Dirand Paris apartment in The Authentics

Born in South Africa, educated in London with graduate degrees in zoology and environmental technology, Jane da Mosto found her calling in Venice, where she works tirelessly to protect the historic city’s heritage, habitat and culture.

Jane da Mosto in The Authentics

Living in a sixteenth century palazzo with her Italian husband and four children, she muses on the dichotomous yet interconnected nature of her interests. “In the environmental sphere, science can explain a lot, but it’s art that helps generate the emotions that make us want to change things.”

Jane da Mosto Venice palazzo in The Authenticsall photos by Melanie Acevedo

For those who crave a dose of individuality, passion, curiosity and beauty, put The Authentics on your list. As Melanie says in her introduction, these are people who have “an unwavering commitment to living lives of true creativity.” And I would add the two talented creatives behind this book to the list – brava Melanie and Dara – thanks to you and those you featured, “the world is a much more interesting place for all of us to be in.”


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5 Responses to The Authentics

  1. Arlene says:

    I MUST buy this book.

    So excited to read something beautiful during these ugly times.

  2. I’ve put this on my wish list. Your review captivated me😎

  3. Cathy says:

    The moment I see shelves of books , count me in!!! I must purchase this book, thank you!!!

  4. Definitely going on my Christmas list! Thanks for reviewing.

  5. Elena says:

    This book will be a pleasure to read and inspiring. I adore authentic style and design and have become bored looking at decorating cliche’s and copy cat interiors that are splattered throughout the internet and on HGTV.

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