To swing into July, we asked several accomplished women we admire to come up with 10 suggestions for a sweet summer. Our first fashionable dreamer is Deborah Needleman, editor-in-chief of WSJ, the Wall Street Journal magazine, as well as the creator of the “Off Duty” weekend section of  The Wall Street Journal and the author of  The Perfectly Imperfect Home.  Among her ethereal choices: “a big dose of nothingness” and (our favorite) “a bottle of heaven.”—Ed.

Favorite Summer Destination: My own garden upstate, although it’s not terribly relaxing. Going to Italy later in the summer for some lazy hedonism.

Current Summer Reading: Right now I’m reading Barack Obama, by David Maraniss (I thought I couldn’t possibly read another word on Obama’s life, but I was wrong); Johnson’s Life of London, by Boris Johnson; and The Pregnant Widow, by Martin Amis.

What to Wear to a Summer Party: Love everything from Carolina Herrera’s Resort Collection, and I feel there is a piece in the line for every single event, party, lunch, dance, etc, one could possibly be invited to. I’d like to have the life to go along with those frocks. Valentino’s Lace Espadrilles have kind of changed my life—in the shoe department, anyway; they are comfortable, chic, and versatile, and really well made.

Dresses from the Carolina Herrera Resort Collection and Valentino’s Lace Espadrilles.

Favorite Summer Fragrance: I like the clean scents of Jo Malone, and the more complicated, but still really fresh, “Jardin’” series of fragrances from Hermes, like Un Jardin sur le Toit. Their perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena, is a hero of mine. Maison Francis Kurkdjian is another wonderful perfumer I’ve just learned about. At the spa at the Royal Mansour Marrakech, they spray the air with his delicious orange-blossom fragrance. But perhaps my very favorite scent is not a perfume at all but a cream, Latte per il Corpo, by Santa Maria Novella—a bottle of heaven.

Un Jardin sur le Toit, by Hermes; Sante Maria Novella Latte per il Corpo, White Jasmine & Mint, by Jo Malone

Necessary Summer Indulgence: A big dose of nothingness. Laziness is my indulgence. And long meals outside.

Preferred Seasonal Spa Fix: I’d love a nice body exfoliation right now.  And a Thai Massage by the masseuse at Miraval Spa in Arizona.

Favorite House Gift for a Summer Weekend Invitation: An Italian olive tree adoption from Nudo. You get a silly certificate telling you about your tree in Italy, but the oil is green and fruity and fantastic, and you get all the extra virgin olive oil from your tree in the spring. The completely charming paper geraniums at John Derian. And always-delicious bath products from Santa Maria Novella.

Favorite Summer Entertaining Tips: I like to move around: drinks, dinner, and dessert in different areas. I love food that can be prepared in advance so that I can focus on setting the tables and doing flowers right before, and then on the guests when they arrive—rather than on the food. Right now I’m making loads of fava purée crostini, pea soup, and herb pasta. At the last minute, there’s just a bit of broiling bread, adding herbs, or throwing in the pasta. And I do love a specialty cocktail. For me it’s Aperol Spritz right now. And loads of hurricanes and votives. Candlelight forgives many sins.

Aperol Spritz

Preferred Summer Accessories: Bathing suits by Eres, garden tools by Sneeboer, outdoor cushions in Fig Leaf pattern by Peter Dunham at Hollywood at Home, caftans by Irving and Fine, and big, gold costume jewelry by Oscar de la Renta. All those things say “summer” to me.

Current Film on Your List to See this Summer: This summer I want to see two documentaries: Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry by Alison Klayman and Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel by Lisa Immordino Vreeland. 


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  • vicki archer July 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I love the sound of your summer Deborah… great choices and thank you for the reading suggestions… xv

  • traci zeller designs June 29, 2012 at 9:26 am

    What fantastic picks! Thanks for such a great series!

  • Stacey Bewkes June 29, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Thank you so much Deborah for kicking off our fun series in style!! Just love all your great picks!!