Out of the Closet: Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Elisha Daniels shares fabulous finds from every corner of her glamorous South End abode.

elisha danielsAll Photos by Jesse Burke
Styling by Chrissy Beale

At the top of Elisha Daniels’s décor agenda when she bought her condo six years ago? Swap out the blah staircase carpeting for a Ralph Lauren leopard print. “In my world, leopard is a neutral; it’s like a beige,” says the Neiman Marcus personal stylist, philanthropist, and author (her books include the soon-to-be-released Remaining a Lady…While Being a Dame: Lessons in Life and Fashion, and You Can Do This! Surviving Breast Cancer Without Losing Your Sanity or Your Style).

Daniels and her husband, Doug, split their time between the 800-square-foot garden-level pied-à-terre and a second apartment in South Boston, and because he keeps his clothes in South Boston, she’s turned the South End spot into “one big closet.” It’s hard to imagine that a guy would appreciate the girl-cave surroundings—striped and polka-dot wallpaper, animal-print throws, and a Jonathan Adler pop-art pillow bearing Jackie O’s face—but Daniels says her husband doesn’t mind. “He is actually a bigger fashionista than I,” she says. And despite the amount of stuff it contains, the condo is actually quite organized. Daniels stashes her earrings and brooches in tackle boxes, stacks her Hermès scarf boxes in two armoires, lines up high-fashion hardcovers on bookshelves, and arranges pink and coral nail polishes atop the microwave.

Always on the hunt for a statement bangle or a boxy Chanel jacket, Daniels haunts Portobello Road in London and vintage markets in Paris. “I am constantly building my collection,” she says. “As much as I love to shop in Boston, I really love to shop when I travel, so I can find unique items.”

elisha daniels

Lady in Red

Daniels found this gold-frame chair in a Provincetown antiques shop and re-covered the red damask seat with black-and-white toile. It’s the perfect perch for a flowery Kate Spade cloche and patent leather Manolo Blahniks.

elisha daniels

Eye for Style

Daniels isn’t one for basic reading specs. Instead, she takes her best-loved sunglasses (like a light pink vintage Chanel pair purchased at A Second Chance in SoHo) to SEE Eyewear on Newbury Street and replaces the darkened lenses with prescription ones. At right, glasses new and old rest on a few of her style books.

elisha daniels

The Things She Carried

“I could tell a story about every one,” she says of her 100-strong bag collection. Here, a blue alligator purse from Italian designer Retta Wolff, a vintage quilted Chanel purse, and a leather Gucci satchel with bamboo handles from the 1980s rest on a glitzy gold entry table.

elisha daniels

Charmed Life

Daniels’s beloved charm bracelets dangle from this Hermès-orange Le Creuset kettle, used to make her nightly cup of Earl Grey tea. The bracelet around the top is particularly meaningful—friends gave it to Daniels while she was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer in 2006. She received a new charm after each treatment: an Eiffel Tower, a Tiffany box, a fur coat, and a Boston Police Department emblem (from her friend, retired captain Genevieve King), among others.

elisha daniels

Scent of a Woman

Daniels’s beauty staples include perfumes from Sisley, Creed, and Hermès, as well as various orange-red lipsticks. The polka-dot Lalique perfume bottle was a 30th-birthday present from a dear friend.

elisha daniels

High Spirits

You’ll never see scotch in these vintage decanters. “I’m a bubbles-and-wine girl,” Daniels says with a laugh. Instead, she displays them with her collection of bangles and cuffs. The black enamel blooms draped over one of the glass vessels are by Replica Collection, an Italian design company Daniels discovered when she was buying accessories for local designer Sara Campbell. She uses the ceramic hand, purchased on Paris’s Rue du Bac, to display rings.

elisha daniels

Made for Walking

When it comes to navigating busy South End streets, Daniels says, “I’d be taking my life in my hands if I wore high heels.” That’s why she sticks to flats—preferably ones made by Chanel. They have a “level of chic comfort. I get them reheeled, resoled, and redone, and every season, I get a new pair.”

elisha daniels

Tangerine Dream

“Nothing bad comes out of an orange box,” Daniels says. She bought her first Hermès scarf in 1980, and now owns nearly 50. The backdrop for her beloved neckwear is the black-and-white wallpaper in the kitchen, which features old-timey advertisements.

elisha daniels
Pretty in Pink

Daniels wore this marabou-and-Swarovski-crystal dress by Waltham designer Sondra Celli to the Kelley for Ellie fashion show and party at the Boston Harbor Hotel in June.