California Dreamer - Mark D Sikes has established himself as a leading tastemaker across the U.S. and he has his eye on the globe.
We've known Mark for the better part of a quarter century. We all worked for Banana Republic back in the day and met in a Nashville location in 1994. We became fast friends, roommates (twice) and he continues to be a dear friend. He has always been confident in his aesthetic and it has served him well. We were there when he talked about his dreams and it has been a thrill to watch them come true. Mark has started a successful Interiors firm Mark D Sikes Interiors, complete with celebrity clients and multiple magazine covers, launched a clothing line with MDS Stripes, authored a NYT best selling book entitled Beautiful: All American Decorating and Timeless Style, designed a line of furniture for Henredon, fabric for Schumacher, rugs for Merida, worked with Nancy Meyers on set design, has a gorgeous website and blog, MarkDSikes.com, and as you will read, he is just getting started. We wanted to launch our interview series with a few questions asked of an old friend.
A Conversation with Mark D Sikes
M+M - Mark, of all the dreams that have come true, what has been the most meaningful to you?
MDS - THAT'S HARD TO ANSWER, ALL OF IT HAS BEEN A DREAM AND IN MANY WAYS A FANTASY. IF I HAD TO SAY THE "ONE" THING THATS BEEN MOST MEANINGFUL, IT WOULD HAVE TO BE MY BEAUTIFUL BOOK. I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE IT.....
M+M - Has anything happened in your career that wasn’t already a dream? Something unexpected?
MDS - I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED INTERIORS, BUT NEVER DID I THINK I WOULD BE A DECORATOR. I'VE ALWAYS LOVED FASHION, NEVER DID I THINK I WOULD DESIGN CLOTHES. I'M A BOOK NUT, BUT NEVER DID I THINK I WOULD WRITE A BOOK....NOR DID I THINK THAT ALL THE PEOPLE I USED TO SIT AROUND AND TALK ABOUT, I WOULD SOMEDAY MEET. IT'S ALL BEEN UNEXPECTED, BUT THAT'S WHY I THINK IT ALL WORKED OUT. THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING I DO IS VERY AUTHENTIC...I THINK IT HAS JUST MANIFESTED ITSELF, IF THAT MAKES SENSE.
M+M - When we first met, you were a minimalist. We distinctly remember a trip to NewYork, where a minimalist Calvin Klein Home show room sent you spinning, and purchasing for that matter. You have since been described as a new traditional “maximalist” … what happened? (How did the evolution proceed?)
MDS - THAT'S FUNNY. I REMEMBER THIS NOW TOO. I HAVE MANY FACETS TO WHAT I LOVE. I STILL LOVE MINIMALISM....MOSTLY IN CLOTHING THOUGH. CLASSIC AND TIMELESS FASHION HAS ALWASY BEEN MY THING. THINK OF THE WAY CAROLINE BESSETTE KENNEDY DRESSED, SHE KEPT IT VERY MINIMAL AND SIMPLE, BUT IM SURE HER HOME WOULD HAVE BEEN BEAUTIFULLY LAYERED AND FILLED WITH ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIONS. I GUESS MY POINT IS THAT YOU CAN BE BOTH A MINIMALIST AND A MAXIMALIST.
M+M - You are a voice in our collective heads, a filter for matters of style. Have been since we met you. #WhatWouldMarkDo? … comes up with design/ wardrobe etc. Who is a voice in your head? Or is it just an internal voice?
WELL, I THINK IT'S BOTH, I DO HAVE AN INTERNAL VOICE AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT IT'S A VERY CLEAR VOICE. I KNOW WHAT I LIKE WHEN I SEE IT. BUT THERE ARE ALSO PEOPLE THAT I ADMIRE AND LOOK UP TO...AND IN MANY WAYS THEIR STYLE HAS HELPED SHAPE MY POINT OF VIEW. OSCAR DE LA RENTA, BUNNY WILLIAMS. BILL BLASS, BUNNY MELLON, MARK HAMPTON, JACKIE KENNEDY, HUBERY DE GIVENCHY. TO NAME A FEW.
M+M - What is left on the dream list? Oscar Gown?
MDS - I WANT TO HAVE OFFICES IN NYC, DALLAS, LA AND MONTECITO, I WOULD LOVE TO START A MAGAZINE. I WANT TO BUILD A GLOBAL BRAND WITH DIGITAL STORE FRONTS THAT SELL ALL OF OUR DESIGNS AND PRODUCTS. I WANT TO START A FOUNDATION. I WANT TO DECORATE THE WHITE HOUSE AND YES, I WOULD LOVE TO DESIGN AN OSCAR GOWN. I'D LOVE JENNIFER CONNELLY TO WEAR IT.
M+M - What would you tell young designers just starting out, about dreaming.
MDS - I WOULD FIRST TELL PARENTS TO ENCOURAGE THEIR KIDS TO DO WHAT THEY LOVE. WHATEVER THEY ARE INTERESTED IN AS CHILDREN SHOULD INFORM THEIR EDUCATION AND THEIR PATH. NEXT, I WOULD SAY PERSONAL WILL IS POWERFUL, IF YOU WANT IT, YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN. LASTLY, WORK HARD, THEN WORK HARDER, NEVER STOP WORKING HARD. HARD WORK GUARANTEES YOU THAT YOUR DREAMS WILL COME TRUE.