“Save for the Southern accent, she’s a bit like Mary Poppins, sweeping into a room with an air of calm and confidence, carrying a valise full of wonderful things.” —Victoria, October 2001
From early on in her career, Jane Scott Hodges has set herself apart from her contemporaries in the design community with her custom linens that are at once beautiful and practical for today’s reality of muddy paw prints and spilled cocktails. The heart of Jane Scott’s effort has been to pair luxury with real life in a way never before done.
As the founder of couture fine linens company Leontine Linens, Jane Scott is credited with reviving the art of couture linens for the home. As an innovator of, and the authority on, fine linens, she is known for her ability to introduce heirloom-quality luxury linens and accessories for everyday use. More so, Jane Scott took the heritage-driven concept of the monogram and rejuvenated it with a modern sensibility, incorporating unique styles and unexpected color.
Jane Scott’s custom linens can be found in the most beautiful private homes across the country and abroad, from historic estates to modern penthouses. She collaborates with the most preeminent interior designers and architects for projects of every scale. Her linens have been featured in shelter magazines worldwide, including House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Traditional Home and Town & Country.
Jane Scott is a passionate philanthropist and supports many organizations in New Orleans, Lexington and New York, including Preservation Resource Center, Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses, The Bone Marrow Foundation, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Bluegrass Conservancy, St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, The Bluegrass Trust, New Orleans Museum of Art and New Orleans Botanical Gardens.
To this day, there is nothing Jane Scott loves more than showing up on a client’s doorstep, trunk in hand, ready to design beautiful linens that are the perfect reflection of the client’s aesthetic and lifestyle. Jane Scott’s 2014 book, LINENS: For Every Room and Occasion, is the perfect culmination of nearly 20 years of Mary Poppins moments, designing beautiful linens that can be enjoyed and not just admired. Jane Scott took some time to talk to Peachy about herself, her company and some of her favorite things.
Where did you grow up?
Lexington, Kentucky…It was such an idyllic place to be a child! So much so that I moved my family there after Katrina in the hopes of giving my children that same experience. After boarding school in Connecticut and then attending university and finding a home in New Orleans, visiting Kentucky still feels like “going home.”
Are there certain childhood experiences or people that influenced you?
My mother is as independent as they come. She showed me that you can be a mother and have a successful career. She was also very involved in the community and even ran for mayor at one point! Without her example, I’m not sure I would have blazed the path that I have.
Tell us about your business background.
What business background? I was an English major!! Seriously, my business is a result of a passion. If you are passionate enough and can authentically stand behind your ideas, everything else will fall into place. That’s not to say it’s effortless—far from it. But when you love what you do, determination sets in and nothing seems too challenging.
When did you launch Leontine Linens, and how has it grown?
Next year is Leontine Linens’ 20th anniversary. I started the company in 1996 in the back bedroom of my home. It has grown exponentially—where we are today feels like a lifetime away. What started as a new way to approach the monogram has turned into a lifestyle. Leontine Linens is not just selling linens. We are working with our clients to create beautiful linens that they can use with confidence. We are teaching our clients everything from how to organize their linen closets to how to set the table for a dinner party. As I grow and evolve personally, it reflects directly and immediately on my company and how we work with our clients. Right now for me, it’s all about designing and using linens with confidence.
This latest evolution culminated with the release of my book, LINENS: For Every Room and Occasion, in spring 2014. The book has served as the perfect platform for us to educate and guide our clients. The response has been fantastic. People are really using it as a reference; it’s not just a pretty book for the coffee table.
Tell us a little about the line.
Leontine Linens is a collection of bed, bath and table linens that are completely made to order. “Made to order” is an overused and diluted term these days. In our world, it means that every item in our line is cut from the bolt of fabric and sewn and embellished to the client’s specifications. We are also truly hand-made, with no part of our process being digitized. The fabrics are cut by hand, the monograms and borders are drawn on vellum and transferred by hand to create patterns. The applique and embroidery machines are handguided, and many details like delicate seed stitches, button closures and binding are finished by hand. We are often recognized for our extensive collection of monograms, but that is truly just the tip of the iceberg. As I’ve said for years, we have the unique ability to make one piece at a time.
You have chosen to live in New Orleans—what makes it so special?
New Orleans is unlike any other city in the United States. I’m afraid I can’t be cured. The city’s rich history and eclectic culture is an incubator for creativity. Inspiration is everywhere—the lush flora, the intricate architecture, the spicy food, the abundance of celebration—New Orleans keeps me and my company young. Neither of us is getting tired.
What is your favorite place for dinner?
Balise in the Warehouse District is chef Justin Devillier’s newest venture and one of my new favorite places to go. His Uptown restaurant, La Petite Grocery, quickly became a staple in the neighborhood, and Balise is not far behind.
Salon by Sucré is a new spot in the French Quarter, with a first-floor patisserie known for their perfect and delicate French macaroons and artisan gelato, and a restaurant on the second floor. Their balcony is my new favorite place to people-watch just a quick beat off the Bourbon Street festivities.
For lunch with your friends?
I’ve been to St. Roch Market twice this week. An old marketplace that has been painted bright white, St. Roch houses several restaurants and bars, with a common seating area. There’s something for everyone, and the atmosphere is a fresh, unique approach for New Orleans.
What is your go-to hostess gift?
My book, LINENS: For Every Room and Occasion!
Where do you like to shop?
Capitol in Charlotte has been a lifechanging experience for me. Laura Vinroot Poole and her team have taught me so much about creating a timeless wardrobe that is by no means cookie cutter.
I discovered Tish Cox of Dallas last fall and cannot get enough. I love Dovima Paris’ line so much that I host their events in New Orleans twice a year—owner Jane Pendry’s classic styling and opulent fabrics are amazing.
Shannon McLean is an atelier on NYC’s Upper East Side whom I love as well. The common thread with all of my favorites is that each provides a unique, bespoke shopping experience much like Leontine Linens does.
Where do you go for a long weekend?
Honestly, my work week is so often spent on the road, I love nothing more than staying home, enjoying my family and playing tourist in New Orleans when I have the chance.
How would you describe your dream bed and linens?
I’ve said for years that we all wake up and spend the rest of the day looking forward to retreating back to it at the end of the day. My dream bed is as beautiful as it is designed for the perfect nightly retreat. From a pragmatic standpoint, I like cotton percale sheets that are crisp and cool. I like a pique blanket cover because it’s the perfect weight year-round. High quality down pillows and a good mattress, of course, are the foundation of a good night’s sleep.
So much of our lives are on display these days. For me, I love a beautiful set of sheets because they are a private enjoyment. Nobody sees them but me. And for that reason, I love pretty sheets for pretty’s sake. They don’t have to match the rest of my décor!
What are you reading now?
I have quite the stack on my bedside table right now…to name just a couple: Life is Too Short to be Chic by Elizabeth Pipes Swanson and Trials of the Earth by Mary Hamilton. I also decided to join my son in his summer reading and just started Old School by Tobias Wolff.
Where do you like to interact with the arts?
I love catching “Wednesdays at Lafayette Square” in the Central Business District during the summer months for local live music. The New Orleans Museum of Art also has special events every Friday night, including classic film screenings in the amazing Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I can’t sew a stitch!