Like many great arbiters of taste, Tracy Achor Hayes moves in a stylish, rarified orb. As the fashion editor at the Dallas Morning News for more than 30 years and editor in chief of the paper’s shuttered style magazine FD Luxe, Hayes traveled to fashion weeks in New York, Paris, and Milan three or four times a year, where she covered the shows with editors of Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, Elle, and other international publications.

There were lunches and interviews with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld in Paris. And during Tom Ford’s early days at Gucci, before he skyrocketed into superstardom, Hayes was invited over for dinner at his Milan house, where he cooked pasta for her in his bare feet.

Hayes has fostered generations of great talent in Dallas, launching major careers of everyone from her former interns to the subjects of stories. “Being in that role [of editor] was incredible because of the connections I made,” she says. “My whole job was to meet cool people doing cool things, and let other people know about them.”

Now, as the director of editorial content for The Book at Neiman Marcus (a role she’s held since 2012), her sphere of influence is even broader — and just as satisfying, says Hayes. Her job is to spotlight the fabled Texas retailer’s many luxury vendors across the globe.

“There’s never a shortage of great stories to tell,” she says.

In the dining room, Japanese scroll from the house where Achor Hayes grew up. Chopping block was a 1980s flea-market find. Carved wooden santos collection includes pieces from her parents and a gold-crowned virgin, a gift from Todd Oldham and Tony Longoria.
In the dining room, Japanese scroll from the house where Achor Hayes grew up. Chopping block was a 1980s flea-market find. Carved wooden santos collection includes pieces from her parents and a gold-crowned virgin, a gift from Todd Oldham and Tony Longoria.

On a recent morning, Hayes greets me at the door of her townhouse in Old East Dallas, garbed in a red-and-black paisley Etro dress, topped with a cashmere cardigan trimmed in a wild ruff of black Mongolian lamb’s fur. Her black lace-up Zara ankle boots inject a little rock ’n’ roll, and the whole look feels effortless and chic.

“Fashion is my first love,” Hayes says. “With clothes, I know instantly how to pull a look together.” On the other hand, she admits that concocting a beautiful room doesn’t come as naturally. “My taste is eclectic, and that’s hard to do at home. You don’t just throw it all together and have it work.”

The house she shares with husband Van Hayes, a longtime graphic designer at the Dallas Morning News, languished for years in a mishmash of furniture and bright colors before her good friends Samantha Reitmayer Sano and Joslyn Taylor of Swoon, the Studio stepped in.

“The house wasn’t reflective of Tracy’s style at all,” Reitmayer Sano says. “There’s a real soulful side to her, and that was missing.” Part of Swoon’s modus operandi is to dig through clients’ stuff to find what’s reflective of them, and Sano discovered a trove of memorabilia buried in a closet from Hayes’ decades of travel and work as a fashion editor.

Among them were a signed poster given to her by Andy Warhol, artwork from the 1986 opening of Keith Haring’s Manhattan Pop Shop, a silk-screened Valentine from Yves Saint Laurent, and a Prada, Marfa photograph by friend Allison V. Smith, along with photos shot by the many prize-winning photographers she’s worked with.

In the master bedroom, Lulu and Ringo on a Pendleton blanket. Life drawings by Van Hayes. Side tables from Again & Again. Horchow lamps.
In the master bedroom, Lulu and Ringo on a Pendleton blanket. Life drawings by Van Hayes. Side tables from Again & Again. Horchow lamps.

Other closets contained inherited heirlooms such as antique Navajo rugs, African masks, Native American pottery, Chinese screens, and Santos figures. Hayes’ mother was a cultural anthropologist; her father, an artist, photographer, and amateur archaeologist.

“All these things spoke to Tracy’s soulfulness,” Reitmayer Sano says. “We mixed them with furniture they had and new pieces we bought. It’s layered — like how she dresses.” The dark walls in Behr’s Cracked Pepper combine with rich materials such as brass, marble, live-edged wood, and leather to “make it all a little more sexy,” says Reitmayer Sano. “It also gave it more of a masculine vibe that Van loves.”

Their house has been finished for almost a year, but the specialness hasn’t worn off yet and isn’t likely to anytime soon.

“It’s so far beyond what we could have done on our own, yet it feels exactly like us,” Hayes says. “Everything has history and meaning. To me, that’s the best thing you can ask for in a house.”


Interior design by Swoon, The Studio