Beginning a fashion career as assistant to Vogue’s Polly Mellen set a strong course for Ann Mashburn. She went on to serve as editor of Glamour and stylist for J. Crew, all while husband, Sid, achieved similar success. The stylish couple started a family and relocated several times, until finally settling in Atlanta as Sid launched his menswear brand Mashburn. Fast forward a few years, when Ann decided to bring her own design savvy into the waiting closets of appreciative women, to the debut of the Ann Mashburn label and immediate accolades.
How did you find your way to Atlanta?
I grew up moving every few years, mostly around the Midwest and East Coast. I went to school in Colorado and met my husband in New York, who was from Mississippi — at the time I thought that was so wild! We raised our children mostly in New York and Connecticut, with a few detours to California, Virginia and Wisconsin (when Sid ran design at Lands’ End), and then we moved to Atlanta to open this business. We knew exactly one person in town, but it just felt right.
What do you miss most about your New York City days?
Where do you find your design inspiration?
Literally everywhere, though I have to say I probably am more inspired when I travel.
You’re a mom to five girls. That’s a full house! Did all of them inherit their parents’ chic sense of style?
They used to be a bit embarrassed by it sometimes. One of the little girl’s friends looked at my headscarf and asked why I was wearing a napkin on my head. Some are into fashion more than others, but they all are very creative and love beauty in all things, whether it’s music, clothes, art or nature. We dragged them just as often out on hikes as to museums.
What’s the biggest challenge of running a family business?
Work is 24 hours a day!
You have boutiques in Atlanta and Houston. Are there plans to open more?
Quite a few, actually, but one at a time. We are looking at D.C. as a possible next location.
What advice would you give a designer just starting out?
Be prepared to work your head off. Sid and I grew up in our careers in New York, and we learned that you really do have to be first in, last out and fully present in between.
Who are some of your favorite young designers?
She’s not so young, with gray hair like me, but Isabel Marant is very young-minded and fresh to me.
What three things are indispensable in every woman’s wardrobe?
Many white shirts, a perfectly cut navy jacket and a sexy slim pencil skirt.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure or luxury indulgence?
Time off from the computer and the phone is the ultimate luxury, though I do love a scalding bath.
If you weren’t in the fashion industry, what’s your secret fantasy occupation?
I always thought I would make an excellent lawyer or figure skater.
If you were in a movie, what would your theme music be?
What’s your favorite vacation spot? And is there a place you’ve dreamed of visiting?
We go to Italy and Paris often for work, and I never tire of it. Asia is next.
What travel essentials do you pack in your carry-on bag?
A cozy cashmere sweater and a charged-up iPad loaded with plenty of books.
What’s on your personal reading list?
The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Spooky! I have the new Dave Eggers book up next.
How do you like to show off Atlanta to out-of-town guests?
Name three things you can’t live without, other than family, faith and friends.
Lemon fizzy water, coffee candies and fuchsia lipstick.
Thank you so much, Ann. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with you and hanging out with your wonderfully cheerful staff at the store. Visit Ann Mashburn at Westside Provisions District for a truly beautiful shopping experience, browsing through incredible designs in a signature-chic showroom.
Cat Maxwell, we thank you again for your gorgeous photos!