For more than two decades, Bill Hallman has given Atlanta a fashionable alternative to mall chain stores. Devotees flock to his Virginia-Highlands and Buckhead shops for unique, but totally wearable, looks from his own line or one of the many cutting-edge designers he supports. The longtime Atlantan talked to us about stylish living in his city.
How would you define fashion in Atlanta?
Atlanta is very diverse and international. Fashion that's elegant yet effortless for our active lifestyle most suits the average Atlanta citizen.
Is there a certain style associated with the city?
I would say modern, casual, smart.
Is Atlanta a fashion-forward city?
I think we have pockets of fashion-forward thought and looks but it’s not something that dominates the streets.
What kind of people do you have in mind when you're designing your own line?
When designing my women's line I tend to think about her entire lifestyle—work, play, events, travel. I am focusing on event dresses including weddings, parties, school dances and red carpet but I’m also currently working on a business collection. This will have classic pieces including blazers, dress, cigarette pant, pencil skirt—all with a twist of Bill Hallman.
Who's your style icon?
For womenswear, I like Dianne Von Furstenberg.
What do you look for when choosing line to carry in the stores?
It's complicated these days. I use to buy based on style, fit and quality, but now I must consider distribution and online presence.
What fostered your interest in fashion?
I believe it was my mother. If you look back at our pictures in the late ’60s and ’70s, she definitely took the time to fashion us. I also joke around about when I was three and living in Vietnam and I got pricked by a sewing machine that the family used frequently. A bit superstitious, I suppose.
What are some basics every fashionable man and woman should have?
For men, a jacket can really elevate your fashion game. I recommend a Swacket (mix of jacket and sweater) and a Bill Hallman Zip Shirt Jacket.
Women’s basics should include an asymmetrical wrap dress and a Cotton Citizen Scoop Pocket Tee.
What do you like to wear for work and play?
I can usually be seen wearing a pair of Nudie Jeans. They’re organic and have some Lycra for comfort.
What are some of your favorite spots in Atlanta?
Mother on Edgewood for a lamb burger, Kale Me Crazy for a kale salad, Umi for sushi, Varuni for pizza, Arden's Garden for a grand-slam shot of wheat grass, ginger, lemon and cranberry, Kimball House for oysters and finally, Surin of Thailand bar for basil rolls and a martini from bartender Phillip.
Where do you like to take your 9-year old daughter?
What’s your go-to for a romantic dinner?
Where are some places every visitor to Atlanta should check out?
Clermont Lounge—the most unique strip club.
Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium—the owner plays the organ during karaoke.
Atkins Park Restaurant and Bar-for their Bloody Mary, extra spicy!
What's next for Bill Hallman?
We are opening a new location in Inman Park this fall. We’ll have a new concept where customers can pick and choose options to customize a dress or shirt.
Bill Hallman’s Perfect Day in Atlanta
I usually start my day juicing at home. I make an organic green juice and an organic red juice, both giving me natural energy for anything I want to do.
A good run through Piedmont Park is essential. There are numerous trails so you can change up your routine.
Off to Java Jive for the scrambled eggs with cream cheese and basil. They also have good coffee and biscuits.
Pick up paddle boards at Half-Moon Outfitters and go to Stone Mountain Park. It’s great for kids since they have beach areas by the campgrounds, which makes for good clam-shell collecting and swimming. I also recommend hiking up the mountain for the beautiful views. If time permits, the Bird Sanctuary Trail is very tranquil.
Dinnertime bike ride on the Beltline. My favorite stop is Barcelona for the octopus tapas and wine. Sitting at the bar or outside by the fireplace is my favorite.
Jeju Sauna (open 24 hours). They have 12 saunas and I like to relax in several of them, especially the detox one. This a great place to get a deep tissue massage and an hour-long foot massage is highly recommended. Then grab some Kimchi soup at the restaurant while enjoying the heated floors and wi-fi. You can get body scrubs and other treatments in locker rooms.
Home, sweet home.