Get Harper Poe’s Inside Scoop on Charleston
Where to eat, shop…and surf.
When Harper Poe decamped for Charleston from NYC in 2008, she wasn’t exactly sure what she was getting into. “I don’t think I was quite ready to leave. But looking back, I don’t know if I could have built Proud Mary into what it has become if I had stayed in New York,” explains Harper, whose line includes dresses, totes, pillows, and shoes produced by artisans abroad. Here, she highlights the spots that have made her feel so at-home in her new city. —mattie kahn
“One of my favorite things to do is take my bike downtown to an area called South of Broad Street where the big mansions are. I love running my bike down there. It’s a good biking town.”
“My favorite brunch spot is this place called The Gin Joint. They have really good fried chicken and waffles.”
(182 E. Bay St., 843-513-5264)
“I really like this store called Worthwhile. It’s a little clothing and accessories boutique, and it’s just really well-curated. They carry Isabel Marant and Gary Graham and some interesting Japanese labels, plus some good books and fragrances.”
(268 King St., 843-723-4418)
“There’s a new kind of Thai/Vietnamese place called Xiao Bao Biscuit. It’s right around the corner from my house. We were seriously lacking in ethnic food around here, so it’s great. They have this scallion pancake that’s really awesome.”
(224 Rutledge Ave.)
“My favorite beach is Folly Beach. At the moment, I’d say I’m a very bad surfer, but that’s my summer goal—to get better. It’s the hardest thing ever, but when you get it right, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
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How did Kelly Wearstler develop her killer aesthetic sensibility? By auction- and flea-hopping all through the eighties. “In one row, I would see things that were turn-of-the-century, French and Italian pieces, and in the next row, there’d be something completely modern,” Kelly explains. “Educating my eye and seeing these different objects play against each other made me fall in love with art.”
Her next move? Art school, naturally. The South Carolina native packed her bags and headed for Boston where she waited tables by day and spent her nights studying graphic design and architecture at the Massachusetts College of Art. After graduation, she signed up for an apprenticeship with world-renowned graphic designer Milton Glaser (That “I ♥ NY” logo? Yep, that’s him) to put her already-sophisticated design skills to work. By 1998, she was well on her to becoming an interior-designer powerhouse, starting with the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills and moving onto the Viceroy Hotels and Bergdorf Goodman’s BG Restaurant—oh, and her own home line, which oozes her signature raw-meets-refined style.
But Kelly found no need to stop at décor. With a loooong list of happy clients already under her very stylish belt, she decided to bring her skills to, well, belts—and jewelry, jackets, dresses, and bags, taking her namesake label into the apparel-and-accessories realm in 2011. “You just have to be focused,” she explains of her envy-inducing empire. “I’m confident, I know what I want, and I know what I don’t like. There’s no, ‘Let me think about it.’ It’s just, ‘Yes. I like it, let’s move on.’” —monica derevjanik
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Elizabeth Knight Remakes Nature
And somehow even improves upon it.
The objects that Elizabeth has turned into jewelry.
Growing up, Elizabeth Thompson spent a lot of time running around outside, and as a adult, she brought her outdoorsy background to her work, casting found organic objects to serve as the foundation for the pieces in her launch collection for Elizabeth Knight some years back. Now she is more than happy to share the origin story behind each discovery. —lydia woolever
“On the South Carolina coast, there’s an area made up of all these little islands, right off the ocean. My mom has property there, on St. Helena’s Island. It gets rough in some areas, and when the tide goes out, all sorts of things are exposed from under the water and beneath the marsh. And that’s really where this all started.”
“When I first saw this wishbone in South Carolina, I wasn’t sure what it was a part of. But after doing some research, I discovered it belonged to a bird. The natural shape seemed really obvious for a necklace.”
“This stingray tail, on the other hand—it was pretty recognizable. This was from a few years ago, on a family trip to the Bahamas. I was looking through the little street shacks that carry makeshift jewelry made out of seashells and skeleton pieces and other little odd parts. But the stingray tail caught my eye—the sharp, barbed edges.”
“I found this frog on a walk through my mom’s property, and this is one of his vertebras. He was pretty much down to bones by that point. His body became a brooch and also a necklace. I got a lot of mileage out of this little guy.”
“I found this seahorse on another family vacation in the tropics. It’s kind of crazy how they dry up like this—look at his little spikes. But he’s so sweet.”