Nicole Hanley-Mellon is one of those women who makes anyone feel welcome in her presence. She’s approachable, down-to-earth and fun. We share so many of the same interests starting with our obsessions for art and collecting pieces that are truthful to our own personalities and tastes and we love to mix cool, unusual old and new objects in the environments that we share with our families. We are also moms of two kids and we are both hopelessly in love with New York City. Nicole has a gorgeous, light-filled apartment at The Pierre which is so full of personality it was absolutely necessary for me to feature her here. Her art collection is an amalgamation of her life experiences and those of Matthew, her husband (who, by the way, is not only as delightful as she is but is also an excellent photographer).
One of the traits that I like about Nicole the most is her overall confidence which seamlessly translates from the way she carries herself to her own space: she is always going with her own eye, heart and intuition regardless of trends or the latest fad. After a long career in fashion where Nicole held top creative and design positions at the likes of Ralph Lauren and Alvin Valley; she and Matthew are now "curating style" on www.HANLEYMELLON.com and launching their own womenswear line, which we all will have the pleasure to buy in the Fall of 2014.
NICOLE IN HER OWN WORDS
ON COLLECTING ART
Matthew and I were both collectors before we met and actually both come from families who collect art. Notably, Matthew's great great great Uncle Andrew Mellon donated his collection to the people of the United States creating the National Gallery of Art and my great Uncle Edward Hanley had a renowned art and literary collection. Matthew and I actually share a similar aesthetic and have both collected (and continue to collect) what we love, so our home is filled with pieces that bring us great personal joy.
ON FAVORITE ARTISTS
Similar to my thoughts on fashion designers it is, to me, about the individual piece and my connection to that piece- I am awed by many works of art, but not necessarily all the works of a particular artist.. I adore Vlaminck to Motherwell; Peter Beard to Schiele; and Jean Dufy to Damien Hirst… I have studied quite a bit of art history and respect, if not become taken with some aspect from all periods. In particular, I am always attracted to the study sketches that the artist makes before his final piece- they make me feel present, in that moment with the artist. My husband's next dream piece would be a Lichtenstein, mine would be a Schiele (or I can think of quite a few others that I would like to own!).
ON MIXING STYLES
We have no formula; for us, it is about filling the space in a way that is balanced in the room. We examine each piece as part of the whole rather than using the room to direct attention to pieces of particular interest. Our home is filled with what we love, not with what someone told us was important to have.
ON FASHION AND DECOR
Both my style and my home sensibility are edited with a balance of proportion, texture, and color. I always feel that my living room is just so me.
ON CHILDREN AND ART
I think there is nothing more wonderful than nourishing your life with what you love- from family and friends to the arts and food…. My children are at such young ages filling their souls with our surroundings. My son (2.5) having looked at our pieces since birth is beginning to ask questions about the details of each piece- ie. In a Haring-"what is that whale doing, Mommy; "look how those flowers (Warhol) match the others"; or simply pointing to the animals he knows in a Peter Beard.