Walk Through the Dreamy Home of This Paris Fashion Editor

Check out how legendary Parisian magazine editor Marian McEvoy is turning out fanciful artworks that have won her a new cult following.

Always impeccably turned out and ever gracious, Marian McEvoy, the longtime Paris fashion editor for Women's Wear Daily and former editor in chief of House Beautiful and Elle Decor, would like to make a couple of things clear. First off, she is not an artist. "I'm a craftsperson. Artisan is a word I might be more comfortable with. I know artists, and I'm not one." Title aside, she is in a position any maker might envy: Represented by KRB, a respected NYC boutique, she makes one-of-a-kind works, including cork and botanical collages and floral illustrations, that consistently sell out, enabling her to devote herself to her craft full-time.

marian mcevoy standing in black gold decorated studio with baskets
Annie Schlechter

Second, though she spent her 20s in Paris and London writing for the French edition of Vogue and palling around with Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, she is not, she says, a style icon. "Certainly I grew up in the world of fashion and enjoyed it, and I think I did very well for myself in that world, but now I'm more at home in a room with a glue gun or a pot of glue or a felt-tip pen," she says.

Marian's eye for design and prowess with a glue gun (captured in her 2005 book Glue Gun Decor) extends to a pair of flea market chairs she decorated with pieces of suzani, a Central Asian textile, that she cut out and glued onto the cushions. Similarly, a medallion from a Middle Eastern tapestry emblazons the periwinkle love seat in the guest bedroom.

white dining room table with black carpet fancy decor
Annie Schlechter

At 71, the former bon vivant and self-professed party girl now leads a disciplined life. She rises daily at 6:30 a.m., makes strong coffee, putters around the house a bit, then starts working at 8:30 a.m. and continues without stopping until 4 or 5 p.m. "I don't like working at night," Marian says. "I like the light of day, the birds singing, you know, that whole thing." She is well-positioned for light and birdsong. Her workspace, a tiny shed behind her small 18th-century house, sits in a colorful garden overlooking the Hudson River north of New York City. In addition to solo projects, she is working on plate designs for interior designer Christopher Spitzmiller and a collection of fabrics with designer Kerry Joyce.

At an antique table she transformed with lacquer paint, Marian creates floral illustrations using the felt-tip pens she stores in chipboard canisters. She found the lamps on eBay and trimmed the shades. Storage baskets and hanging tassels offer easy access to materials. She sources pressed flowers and leaves from around the world via Etsy.

In the evening she has people over (cooking for and entertaining groups of friends at least once a week) or works on her illustrations, covering paper or paper lampshades with felt-tip images of fantastical, graphic, sinuous, entirely fictional plants. "I've always liked to do things with my hands. I've got good hands," she says. "I'm a do-it-yourselfer—always have been—but now I'm able to do it full blast, which is wonderful. It's absolutely wonderful. I've never worked harder or with more pleasure."

Updated by
Jessica Thomas

Jessica Thomas has been the style director at Better Homes and Gardens since 2014. She has experience in creating specialty books, magazine layouts, covers, and ads. She has also been a freelance art and photo director and creative consultant for nearly 15 years. She is experienced in art and photo direction, production, editorial direction, and graphic design. Before taking on the role of style director, Jessica worked as the photo design editor for Country Homes magazine and the associate art director for Better Homes & Gardens.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles