Saturday, March 31, 2012

Transitions: Albert Hadley

Albert Hadley, the late iconic New York designer, was a man I was very fortunate to know. There are so many invaluable lessons he taught me. What a fantastic designer he was. Having taught at Parsons and worked with Van Day Truex and Billy Baldwin, plus our eminence grise' Stanley Barrows (who died here in Naples), Albert had a vast knowledge of decorative arts history, which was somehow never pedantic. His client list with Sister Parish read like a blue book of high society, and yet, (they) were never mentioned in casual conversation. Just one example of his gentlemanly ways. One of my favorite Hadley-isms was " You must believe it in your heart, your head, and your gut" referring to being a designer or decorator, and your belief in your own point of view, and getting it across to your client, which is the core of what our business is about. My times spent with Albert in his Old Naples cottage were some of my most exhilarating and happy, as we talked for endless hours about iconic people, places, and things. We certainly were not facing a flat screen and ignoring each other! My late friend and mentor, Tice Alexander, was very much trained by Albert Hadley to be a professional (Parish-Hadley) and I had the pleasure of working with Tice for several wonderful and exciting years in New York. I'll always remember the way Albert would smoke those non-filtered Camels, and sip away at his Bombay gin. He loved the fantasy life, and yet was able to live in a very real world, of hard work, steely determination, and brilliant success. I know that dear AH is somewhere in the Park Avenue of heaven, rearranging some chairs, and loving every moment! Farewell Albert, it was great to know you. DF *****