Bedecked with colorful pop art and fashion-forward accents, John Eshaya’s second home in Palm Springs is one playful pad.
If a space can sum up its owner’s personality, and fashion and interiors philosophy all at once, John Eshaya’s Palm Springs living room-cum-roller skating rink, where Russell Young and Andy Warhol lithographs line the walls, is where high fashion collides with comfort and anything goes. “I often wear roller skates around the pool,” Eshaya says. “One day I had them on and started skating around the living room. Now I use it as a TV room and a roller skating room!”
You could say Eshaya has been on a roll for some time now. The Los Angeles-based fashion veteran spent 24 years at Fred Segal Melrose, climbing the ranks from salesperson to creative director and buyer, and discovering labels, many of which were founded by friends, such as Citizens of Humanity, Juicy Couture, Trina Turk and Vince, before leaving the company in 2008 to focus solely on his cult T-shirt and denim line, JET (John Eshaya Tees)—a favorite with the likes of Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie and Reese Witherspoon.
When he’s not dressing his loyal celebrity clientele, Eshaya escapes to his midcentury desert retreat, a shrine to many of the designers and artists who have influenced his career. “I’ve been coming to Palm Springs since high school,” Eshaya says. “For me, it’s synonymous with vacation. It equals fun.”
Eshaya first laid eyes on his digs while driving around the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood almost a decade ago. “The minute I saw it, we were in escrow,” says the designer, who also owns a bungalow in Larchmont Village. “The gentleman who built the house in 1964 was a Japanese holistic doctor and had a very chic, modernist Eastern aesthetic. I fell in love with the original terrazzo around the pool—only two houses in Palm Springs have one.”
Eshaya’s casual aesthetic, the designer calls it “comfortable and unintimidating,” is punctuated with exuberant splashes of color and pop art. “All the color gives the house a casual summer vacation feel,” he says. Signed Warhol lithographs, including his prized Elizabeth Taylor, hang in the living room, with additional works from the artist throughout the house. “Warhol was the first artist I really loved, and now I’m grown-up with the real thing!” Eshaya says, with wonder. The designer’s art collection also includes works by Banksy, David LaChapelle, Takashi Murakami and Robert Rauschenberg, but a Warhol print of Marilyn Monroe that hangs above a Union Jack-painted bureau in the entryway stands out as his personal favorite. “I found Marilyn on top of a trash can in New York,” he says. “Who would throw that away? Whether it costs $70,000 or it’s free, it’s still art.”
Eshaya embraces a similarly high-low approach with his furnishings, mixing flea market finds (vintage sculptures and crystal chandeliers) with runway-endorsed pieces. “I go crazy when a fashion house does a home collection,” he says, citing his cache of 30 Pucci towels, pillows and a rare rug that Laudomia Pucci (daughter of Emilio Pucci) commissioned for Eshaya.
He also collects Chanel, Missoni and Gucci Home accents. In fact, nearly all of his furniture has a six-degrees-of-fashion provenance. Around the pool, a Missoni for Target sectional sits beneath the shade of a bottlebrush tree. Inside, juxtaposed against a Union Jack-painted bureau in the dramatic mirrored entryway, two Marie Antoinette-style chairs are upholstered in a camouflage print covered with Declaration of Independence graffiti that fashion designer Stephen Sprouse created for Knoll Textiles. In the dining room, a photo of Naomi Campbell wearing an Alaïa houndstooth dress inspired Eshaya to recover the set of vintage Eero Saarinen dining chairs in a matching cotton fabric. A tower of orange Hermès boxes stretches 8 feet high in a corner of the TV room. “I just started stacking,” Eshaya says. “One year it was my Christmas tree, and I draped lights all over it. Now it’s a sculpture.”
Eshaya hopes to spend more weekends this fall recharging in Palm Springs following a particularly hectic spring. In April, he opened his flagship JET boutique on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood, which features the JET label as well as vintage accessories from Chanel and Louis Vuitton, and the designer’s first capsule collection of menswear. “The idea behind JET has always been to make a woman’s favorite piece, whether it’s the sweater she always wears or the first T-shirt she grabs,” he says. “JET is really a California lifestyle line: a classic, comfortable look. It’s like this house—it has cool pieces, but even if you’re wet out of the pool, it’s OK to sit on a Tom Ford for Gucci chair.”
By Heather John Fogarty.
Photographed by Douglas Friedman.