Mary Logan Bikoff has her finger on the pulse of all things style in Atlanta. She has worked her way up through the ranks at Atlanta Magazine, starting as an intern and eventually becoming lifestyle editor. She’s now holding the reins of their completely new publication, Atlanta Magazine Style Book. And though Mary Logan knows about the cool trends and chic brands coming our way, she’s a lovely contradiction in motion with her self-described “tomboyish style” and “nerdy” interests. This native Atlantan (and UGA alum) has traveled the world and is working to solidify Atlanta as the fashion capital of the South. Get to know Mary Logan Bikoff, a history buff with the skills for predicting future trends and our newest FACE of Atlanta.
You took the reins on a huge project, Atlanta Magazine Style Book. Tell our readers what it takes to start an entirely new publication from scratch.
It was definitely a team effort! I worked very closely with our design director to come up with the overall look, feel and tone. I brought in the best writers and stylists in the region, and we all brainstormed about what we thought were the most important topics to cover. We wanted to include both local and luxury news, and we wanted it to be rich and indulgent at the same time that it was savvy and even a bit clever (see: monkeys in a barrel holding the season’s shoulder-grazing earrings). As for the logistics and production, it’s something that would be really hard to do without the veteran team at Atlanta Magazine, and everyone there was really supportive.
Who are some local designers (or those originally from Atlanta) that get you excited?
It may seem obvious, but the honest answer is the Mashburns. I’m not sure everyone here realizes how special it is that they have chosen Atlanta as their home and headquarters. They’re the real deal, with the backgrounds, business sense and impeccable taste that could truly make “Mashburn” the next “Ralph” or “Tommy.” I find them so inspiring, and I love that they picked Atlanta to start their company. My other favorite local brand is the men’s shoe company Cobbler Union. Gorgeous shoes handmade in Spain, with the founders based right here.
We’ve heard horror stories about home renovations and know that you did a big reno on your own Inman Park home. Was the process scary/difficult? Why or why not? Any advice you would share with others about to embark on this stressful process?
Our home renovation was one of the smartest things we’ve ever done. Four years ago, we bought the ugliest, cheapest house in Inman Park and took it down to the studs, keeping as much of the original wood as we could and adding a little addition on back. We had an incredible experience with our contractor, a young husband-and-wife design/build team called Craftbuilt, and I’d recommend them to anyone working on a big custom project — especially for intown, historic homes. They made it all so fun and easy. They had tons of energy and creative ideas and workarounds. Gina, the designer, got to know our taste so well that she would just pick up salvage yard finds (doors, mantels) that would end up being perfect for the space. And they were on time and on budget. I don’t think many people get to say that.
What is your own personal style? Where do you shop in Atlanta to achieve your perfect look (either clothing/home/accessories/etc.)?
I tend to dress mostly in black and white and neutrals, and accessorize with bright finds. I love beaded and embroidered anything; most of my accessories come from my travels or thrift stores or family drawers. In Atlanta, B.D. Jeffries is probably my favorite — it feels like all the things I’d want to round up from my own travels if I could, with lots of natural materials and bright, patterned pops. The Westside has a fab little trio with Ann Mashburn, Billy Reid and Steven Alan. And the new COS at the Shops Buckhead Atlanta is my current jam. It’s the upscale sister to H&M, and while the prices are a little higher, the quality and style is a thousand times better, with chic minimalist shapes that feel very fresh and now.
Describe the perfect date night with your hubby.
We really only go to one place, whether it’s a regular Tuesday or an anniversary. We walk up to BoccaLupo and settle in at the bar (we love Hallie and Austin). On the perfect date night, we might start with a drink at the bar at Sotto Sotto and/or wrap up with dessert or ice cream at Jeni’s. We’d probably take the dog for a long walk. The perfect date does not involve a car.
You are one of a rare minority in the city — a native Atlantan. How have you noticed Atlanta change over the years? What do you think the future holds for our metropolis?
Atlanta now is so different from the Atlanta I grew up in. I grew up on 28th Street, and it makes me happy to see how the BeltLine and some smart developments (like Westside Provisions and Ponce City Market) have brought new life to intown. At the same time, a lot of great cities lose a lot of their character by becoming unaffordable, and I don’t want to see that happen here. I hope that careful development can keep intown cool and diverse, and that density and public transit can become more of a priority. I feel like Atlanta, while great now, is just on the cusp of something even greater.
How does Atlanta, style-wise, set itself apart from the rest of the South? Or, in that case, the rest of the country?
It’s true that Atlanta’s style is as diverse as the city itself. We have the hip-hop community (so excited for the sneaker exhibition at the High Museum), a super active community of makers creating gorgeous pieces (you need not look outside the city for great jewelry and leather goods), local designers Megan Huntz and Abbey Glass and great local menswear — Elk Head Clothing, Thomas Wages. Some people would say that Atlanta’s style is still fairly conservative, and it may be compared to other parts of the country, but I think the confluence of modern and classic and local make Atlanta special.
We heard you love to travel off the beaten path. If we gave you $250 and two days, where would you go?
My husband and I have been dying to go camping on Cumberland Island. I’m absolutely smitten with the place — its history, untouched beauty and huge beaches. And $250 should easily cover gas, the national park fees, food and a box of wine for the campfire.
What do you hope readers get out of Atlanta Magazine Style Book? What is the ultimate takeaway from the publication?
We hope people recognize how much style and creativity there is in this city. Atlanta is really a hub for talented makers, creators and designers. Mash this up with thriving luxury retail, SCAD, the film and television industry, and there is a veritable fashion scene here, put together by lots of talented people. The ultimate takeaway is that it’s smart, not just pretty.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best professional advice I’ve ever gotten was at my grad school orientation. The dean said — in no uncertain terms — that writers must write even when not inspired. You just have to do it anyway. Definitely something I hear ringing in my head daily!
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding friends, family and faith?
I’m pretty adaptable. Not much I couldn’t live without, but I’ll say a cheap Paper Mate pen, a Moleskine and face moisturizer. Add coffee if we’re getting greedy.
Thank you to Mary Logan Bikoff for taking time out of her busy schedule to share more about her exciting new media venture at Atlanta Magazine Style Book, as well as divulging a few details about her own style, interests and obsession with public radio.
Our hats are off to stylish photographer extraordinaire CatMax Photography for today’s wonderful mages.