The Insider: Libby Callaway

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We’ll tell you what: Nashville is so ridiculously lucky to have a resident like Libby Callaway. The former New York Post fashion editor headed south and totally took the city by storm—girlfriend seriously knows everybody and everything happening there. On top of doing a slew of cool projects for the likes of Billy Reid and the very-new hotel The 404, she launched an art-slash-music-slash-food pop-up series along with Susan Sherrick called Joint that we’re itching to check out. Get to know Libby right this minute. —monica derevjanik

Q: What’s the one place you take everyone to when they visit you in Nashville?
A: One place I tell everyone to go—and it doesn’t matter if you like country music or not—is the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s like a pop-culture experience. I learned a lot about the United States just by visiting it. And they have loads of Nudie suits, the spangly stage outfits that all the country musicians wore with all the rich embroidery and rhinestones.

Q: How about for tasty food? And great shopping?
A: I looooove Mas Tacos. My friend Teresa Mason first opened it as a taco truck, and now she has a brick-and-mortar location. It’s just great food, and you always run into everyone you’ve ever met when you’re there. For shopping, Imogene + Willie on 12th Avenue South is a beautiful store with wonderful product. And, for vintage, I love this chain called Southern Thrift. First of all, it’s the best name ever, and it has the best stuff. Sometimes you go into a Goodwill, and it just feels so edited—but there’s no editing going on at Southern Thrift.

Q: What’s the most incredible piece you’ve found while thrifting?
A: That’s reeeeeally hard! I especially love finding handmade pieces. There’s a chain in Boise called Deseret Industries where I found a gray-and-pink woven poncho with fringe at the bottom and 3D fabric work at the top. I love finding weird stuff like that.

Q: Which designers are you obsessing over right now?
A: I could wear Zero + Maria Cornejo every day. And Black Crane—I have three of their jumpsuits.

Q: The Selby did a pretty amazing tour of your home, and we need to know: What’s the story behind those awesome portraits hanging all over your walls?
A: I have about 80 lady paintings. I first bought a quartet of them, my first batch, from a thrift store about 20 years ago, and they were 97 cents each. None of them are great—some of them are pretty bad and weird, but that’s kind of the beauty. I set parameters about buying them, like I try not to pay over $20 for them.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your time in NYC.
A: When I got started in New York, I managed to fall into a group of really smart women. Laura Brown at Harper’s Bazaar is one of my best friends—she was living with me when she first moved to New York. Janet Ozzard and Kerry Diamond are both pretty incredible, too. Kerry’s magazine Cherry Bombe blows my mind. I knew it was going to be good, but it’s even better than I expected. 

Photo courtesy of Heidi Ross.

Meet more mind-blowing peeps over here.

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Weather Vain: Nashville, Tennessee - 77 and Partly Cloudy

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God, what a ridiculously gorgeous day in Music City. Here’s what to wear if you’re lucky enough to be bopping (boot-scooting?) around town. —erica

Clockwise from top left:

+ Madison Harding wedges that would go equally well with jeans from the local hotspot Imogene + Willie.

+ A Rebecca Taylor dress that could hang onstage at the Ryman.

+ Sunglasses from Kate Spade Saturday—beautiful-weather, hang-outside essentials. 

+ A IIIBeCa bag the color or a buttery biscuit (with or without the gravy)

+ A Delfina Delettrez ring as hot as a reservation at The Catbird Seat.

+ Earrings—from Vanessa Mooney—ready for a late night at Tootsies.

Want more “Weather Vain?” You got it.

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Annie Williams and Her Nashville Pad

There are pups and chickens, too.

For most of us, living locally means schlepping a bag of kale back from the farmers’ market. For the Tennessee-based leather-goods designer Annie Williams? It’s raising chickens a stone’s throw from her bedroom. The designer and her super-handy husband Ben live in a community house with three friends, complete with piles of home-grown veggies and refurbished mopeds. Sound like a dream? We think so, too. Nashville, here we come. —carlye wisel

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"Our house is a part of The Nashville Greenlands, which is run by Carl Meyer and Pam Beziat—they have started and developed Catholic Worker-type houses in North Nashville. We live with three other great women who are involved in the community.”

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“Pam grows peaches at her community house, and this is us harvesting them this summer.”

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“Ben, my husband, has set up a system to irrigate our garden with rainwater. Out on our property, we will be catching all of our water for drinking, showering, processing sewage, and watering the garden.”

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"Our dogs are Copper and Macy—they’re our children."

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"We have four hens and one rooster. We have 11 fertilized eggs right now and are excited to hatch the chicks and put lots of chickens on our new property. Here’s me with Smarty Pants, our Americana chicken. She lays blue eggs."

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“I have the problem with collecting instruments. My mom just found a vintage junior accordion for me.”

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"We’ve tried to cram most everything we own into one room, but our room is spacious and still really comfortable."

Come back tomorrow for Annie’s made-in-TN edition! Do it!

Photos by Nicole Irene.

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Annie Williams

Annie Williams has been a wakeboarding instructor, a seamstress, a bouldering-bag designer, a musician—but it wasn’t until she began working in leather that she felt in her element. “It’s really weird—as soon as I sewed into it for the first time, I was like, ‘This is the most amazing material!’” she recalls.

It took Annie some time to master leather, but a bullheaded sensibility kept her going until she had made a name for herself in Nashville. Now, she works from one of the city’s oldest flour mills in a warehouse workshop that a friend organized. “She has this vision of a really well-curated space that is able to host gallery events, with small businesses like craftsmen and artists working there,” Annie explains.

Bringing a pared-down, honest approach to every clutch and wallet that she makes, Annie still finds time for some renaissance-woman multitasking. Next up? Building homes and cabins on the 15 acres she and her architect, gardener, skateboard designer, and rock climber husband now own. But don’t worry: Her leatherwork isn’t going on the backburner anytime soon. —carlye wisel

annie-williams.com

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In Character: Rayna James

Show I’m most excited about for fall, by a (country) mile? Nashville. There’s the music, there’s the dramz (multiple love triangles in the pilot, wha?!), and there’s Connie Britton, who has more fans than cute kitty photos do at this point. Here’s what she’s working as living legend Rayna James. —erica

A sequin MSGM biker jacket that brings a little flash to the heartfelt ballads. 

A rockin’ red dress from Rag & Bone—because playing supportive wife doesn’t mean she’s going to take a backseat.

Isabel Marant boots: Cowboy enough for her roots; chic enough for the masses.

How much more “In Character” is there? You’d have to see it to believe it.

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Of a Kind

Imogene + Willie, from the Nashville store of the same name, makes jeans. But the label also puts out shirts like this one to make you (and your denim) look like real class acts. —erica

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Meet SFK

Sarah Frances Kuhn’s line of utilitarian-but-stylin’ camera straps is picture-perfect.

Before landing a gig as the accessories editor at Teen Vogue, Sarah Frances Kuhn worked as a stylist, a manager at the beloved New York vintage institution Amarcord, and a London correspondent for W. To log pieces that might find their way into upcoming issues, she had a camera on her at all times, and when its strap broke, she crafted her own, crocheting some spare bits of fabric onto a chain for a charmingly loud replacement that had more in common with a statement necklace than the standard-issue nylon camera strap that’s about as nice to look at as a seat belt. Less than two years later, what started as a DIY quick-fix has turned into a living: Now Sarah is at it full-time, and some of the components of SFK, her line of made-by-hand leather, fabric, and chain camera straps, are named for the sorts of people who use them, like Tommy Ton, Susie Bubble, Garance Doré, and Taylor Tomasi Hill.

Given that Sarah lived in Nashville, Boston, Jerusalem, and London before settling down in Brooklyn, it’s only fitting that she weaves together a serendipitously sourced kaleidoscope of found fabrics and trim—some camo here, say, and some metallic rainbow leather there. And it’s even more appropriate that the girl who says she lives a little like a gypsy and feels more than a little comfortable bopping from place to place has seen her handmade creations pop up everywhere from South America to Kuwait on photographers with wanderlust of their own. —tamar anitai

You’re going to want to get a load of Sarah’s edition: These paisley camera straps are chic as all hell.

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