Reese Witherspoon Opens Draper James in Dallas, Talks HBO, Jessica Alba, Malcolm Mitchell and Fashion
Next month the entrepreneurial actress starts shooting “Home Again,” a new film produced by Nancy Meyers that her daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer has written the script for and will also produce.
In the increasingly crowded field of actresses-turned-entrepreneurs, Reese Witherspoon certainly ranks near the top, having just opened her second Draper James store, at Highland Park Village in Dallas.
The Southern-inspired collection debuted as an e-commerce business last May and its first boutique bowed in Nashville, Tenn., last fall.
En route to Wednesday’s press day, an in-store luncheon and launch party for the new 1,800-square-foot Draper James boutique, Witherspoon said, “Ever since we went live about a year ago, Dallas has been one of our top cities. Customers in Dallas just really seem to love the brand, which is a celebration of Southern lifestyle. I’ve always been a big fan of the Highland Park Village. It’s a great place for communities and families to get together, to enjoy a meal and to see a movie.”
Interior designer Mark D. Sikes created the store’s welcoming Southern aesthetic with contemporary accents. His work can also be seen in Draper James’ Nashville store and the New Orleans-born Witherspoon is currently working with him on a new home in Nashville as well.
Having hosted events with writers like Emily Giffin, who wrote “First Comes Love” and Kimberly Whitman of “Monograms for the Home” in the Nashville store, Draper James plans to have book signing parties for other authors in the Dallas location. Through Pacific Standard, the production company she cofounded with Bruna Papandrea, Witherspoon has secured the film rights for numerous titles including Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” before it was published. As a literacy advocate, the actress is also big on posting about her favorite reads via Twitter and Instagram. She also recruited NFL rookie Malcolm Mitchell to join her book club, and the pair have tweeted book recommendations.
Witherspoon said, “I was just so inspired by his story and how important books have become in his life. He’s inspired a lot of people to expand their literary knowledge. I love that he’s been so open about it and he’s also written a book himself.”
September 26, 2016 • Category: Articles & Interviews, Draper James •
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Reese Witherspoon on Draper James, Southern Hospitality, and More
The Oscar-winning actress gives AD the inside scoop on the design of her new store in Dallas
Southern hospitality comes naturally to Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, who was born in New Orleans and raised in Nashville before making it big in Hollywood. Despite the movie premieres and glamorous sets, it turns out she’s still a Tennessee girl at heart. Witherspoon’s charming, down-home vibe is evident in Draper James, her southern-inspired fashion and lifestyle brand, which offers everything from ladylike skirts to plaid coaster sets and pom-pom keychains. After launching her flagship boutique last year in Nashville, the actress recently opened her second Draper James location, fittingly enough, in Dallas’s buzzy Highland Park Village, collaborating with A-list interior designer Mark D. Sikes on the 1,800-square-foot space. Packed with ready-to-wear dresses, accessories, and home products in a variety of upbeat seasonal prints (including the classic-meets-modern pieces in her new Tailgating collection), the store is sure to become the next It shopping destination. Read on for a look inside the pretty-as-punch boutique and see how Witherspoon pulled it all together.
What was your vision for the new Draper James store? I wanted the store to embody the graciousness of southern culture with traditional elements like wallpaper and moldings, but also have a contemporary feel with light fixtures and art. It was important that the store felt like people were walking into my own home.
What was the design process like? I found inspiration all over—on my travels abroad, on Pinterest, of course, and even in my own family heirlooms. In fact, my grandmother Dorothea Draper had a great affinity for design. Her blue-and-white transferware china was a big inspiration for our blue-and-white decor.
What details stand out in the space? The store is set up with an open floor plan, but there are distinct spaces within. You’re meant to feel as if you’ve entered a friend’s house; first you find yourself in an entryway, then at a long marble island with stools (it’s our cash wrap, but it resembles a kitchen), then finally in a living room. The “rooms” are delineated by beautiful floor-to-ceiling curtains.
What was your collaborating like with Mark D. Sikes? He has an amazing blog that I followed with keen interest; Mark has a contemporary take on traditional design that I find very appealing. When I met with him for the first time, I discovered that he had lived in Nashville as well, so when the time came for me to find a designer to collaborate with, he was a natural fit. He understood my southern sensibility and my desire to create a space that incorporated all the comfort and charm of a southern home.
September 5, 2016 • Category: Draper James •
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Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James set to serve up Southern charm in new Dallas store
After a spring fling, Reese Witherspoon is ready to commit to Dallas.
The Hollywood star behind the Draper James lifestyle brand is opening a store in Highland Park Village. This spring, the brand hosted a limited pop-up store, offering clothing, fashion accessories and items for the home. But this time, the store, which is set to welcome its first guests Sept. 9, is here to stay.
Witherspoon, who was raised in Tennessee, launched the brand to celebrate her Southern heritage. In addition to traditional patterns and prints, many of the items feature sassy quips.
The Dallas store will be Draper James’ second. A Nashville, Tenn., boutique opened last year.
Draper James is celebrating all things football with a new tailgating collection, offering everything from serving pieces for home or stadium parking lots and game day attire.
Look for your team’s colors and the full Draper James line at the new store, 6 Highland Park Village, Dallas, or online draperjames.com.
If you ask the Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, there’s nothing the American South doesn’t have: historic cities, a rich music culture, unbeatable food, and people, she says, who are always cheerful and greet one another with a hug and a smile.
She should know.
Though she lives in Los Angeles, Ms. Witherspoon, 40, was born in New Orleans and raised in Nashville. She is so attached to her roots that she bought a house in Nashville a few years ago and a year ago started a fashion, accessory and home goods line, Draper James, that’s inspired by the region (lots of colors and lots of prints). She named it after her grandmother Dorothea Draper and grandfather William James Witherspoon.
Because the brand has its flagship store in Nashville and many of the goods for it are produced in Southern cities — the jeans in Blue Ridge, Ga., and the stationery in Raleigh, N.C. — the venture has Ms. Witherspoon visiting the area at least once a month. She reflects on why she thinks the South, a place she still calls home, is an appealing travel destination.
Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with her.
Q. Nashville is where you grew up and a city you now have a home in. What are your go-to spots there?
A. There’s an area called Charlotte Pike with great thrift stores. I grew up shopping in them and still go back, but my new go-to for shopping is an up-and-coming part of town called 12 South. That’s where Draper James is located along with many cool stores like Emerson Grace, a boutique selling great clothes from lots of different brands. And I like going to Broadway, which is the heart of the city’s music scene. There’s record stores like Ernest Tubb and bars to hear country music like the Stage, Tootsies and Robert’s Western World. I also head to Pinewood Social. They have a pool and bowling alley and also serve the best fried chicken and fried broccoli.
Where do you like to eat in Nashville?
Jonathan Waxman’s restaurant, Adele’s, has amazing kale salad, roasted chicken and spaghetti.
Hattie B’s is known for the hot chicken. The chicken is coated in some sort of spice before it’s fried. They always have a line out the door. For barbecue like ribs and brisket, it’s Edley’s. The fried okra there reminds me of my grandmother because that’s a dish she used to make every Sunday.
What other cities do you enjoy visiting?
Charleston is a favorite. It’s beautifully preserved. King Street there has great shopping, and the food all over the city is insane — you’ll find spicy fish and shrimp and grits. The best part is that the beach is only around 15 minutes from downtown.
Working on Draper James has taken you to different cities in the South. What discoveries have you made?
Blue Ridge in Georgia, where the Draper James jeans are made, is a quaint old mining town that’s worth seeing. There’s a train that still runs through it, and the old bank is now a cute coffee shop, L&L Beanery.
And although I had been to Atlanta before, I’ve made some new discoveries there like Ann Mashburn, a store with the most stylish clothes. Ann’s husband, Sid Mashburn, has his own store in the back of hers where he makes custom shirts for men, and you get a true Southern gentleman experience. I’ve found some nice restaurants like JCT Kitchen, which has yummy cocktails and cheese sandwiches, and the Optimist, where the seafood is fresh and there is a mini golf course outside. Also, a great to-go spot is Yeah! Burger, where you can get many kinds of burgers along with tasty sides like crispy brussels sprouts.
May 19, 2016 • Category: Draper James, Pacific Standard •
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Inside Reese Witherspoon’s Style Empire: The Totes That Make Her Hug Strangers, Being a Boss, and More
Not many people get to celebrate two birthdays in one year, but our reigning Best Dressed Woman, Reese Witherspoon not only turned 40 in March, but her fashion and lifestyle brand Draper James celebrated one year in business on May 5. And the star and her team haven’t slowed down since the launch. “We’re just always working, working, working,” Witherspoon tells PeopleStyle in this week’s issue. “If I’m in L.A., I’m on Skype. If I’m in New York, I’m at the offices. When I’m in Nashville, I’m at the store. It’s busy, but it’s so great. You make mistakes, and then you correct yourself.”
Since in getting into fashion, she’s learned how to stay in her lane. “It’s important to not be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know how to do that.’ Sometimes an idea doesn’t work. Sometimes things don’t sell when we thought they were going to. But then, we had no idea that we were going to sell 3,000 “Totes Y’all” bags in a year,” she says. “One of the greatest and most exciting things happened when I was on vacation in Florida, and I saw a woman walk down the street with one those bags. I stopped her and hugged her!”
In addition to Draper James, Witherspoon has a production company, Pacific Standard, which she founded in 2012. And there are some similarities between both businesses. “I’ve been working collaboratively with other artists all my life,” she says. “When you’re on movies, you’re talking to writers and directors trying to shape the story and characters. In Draper James meetings, we try to connect a story to a product. We create things that remind us of our southern upbringings and want everything we put out there to bring you joy and be something you’ll have forever.”
She thinks DJ has excelled in a few areas. “Anything that had a southern saying on it people really responded to,” she says, “Like the coasters and mugs with sayings on them, and the ‘Tell me something good’ cocktail napkins.” She’s also seeing success with dresses. “I feel like we really nailed a certain silhouette,” she says.
Witherspoon has also nailed the idea that each of her brands should empower women; Draper James works with Girls Inc., and Pacific Standard aims to create more narratives and jobs for women in the film industry. “I definitely think that strength coexists with femininity and [being strong] doesn’t mean you can’t be girlie,” she says. “I’m really trying to help push that within my own industry, and it’s fun! I mean, part of the reason I did Legally Blonde was because I loved the idea of this character who loved to dress up and have her nails done, but she also wanted to be taken seriously and was a really hard worker. I think most women feel that way. Just because you’re a woman in a position of power doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate being a woman.”
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