If you walk into a restaurant in Texas and spot an incredibly cool Midcentury Modern light fixture, chances are it’s D’Lana Bailey’s handiwork. Once relegated to collectors and private homes, Mid Century Modern design is de regueur for hip restaurants, hotels and bars. Through her Moon Shine Shades retro lighting company D’Lana is crafting stunning, retro light fixtures for these very spaces.
“Mid century design has really become popular in commercial spaces,” she says. “The restaurant does not have to be a 1950s diner to have a mid century vibe. The hotel does not have to be a renovated roadside motor court to have a retro influence. The bar does not have to be a hot-rod club to have classic vintage style.”
Moonshine Shades Design Journey
D’Lana is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her company this year, and what a ride it’s been for her. With a background in art and interior design, D’Lana explains, “I started my business with my ex, James Arthur, in 1998 in Memphis, Tennessee.” During that time, she was bartending at a live music venue and befriended a regular at the bar, a vintage-store owner who had sourced the parts to make reproduction Mid Century Modern lamp shades. He was closing the store and was looking for someone to buy his lampshade stock.
“He was asking for $3,000 for the tiny enterprise,” D’Lana says. “James and I didn’t have $3,000 to spare back then, so I asked my dad if he would give us a loan. He agreed, and we were in business.”
D’Lana is originally from Texas, and a couple years after starting Moon Shine Shades, she moved back and ran the business in Dallas. Previously, the company created custom lampshades for customers, but today, from her headquarters just outside of Austin, she focuses on hospitality clients. D’Lana helms the business with her husband, Rob Bailey, at her side. She shares, “Rob is a master carpenter and builder by trade.” The two even have “his and hers” work areas—he has his space for welding and woodworking, and D’Lana has hers for lighting design and assembly.
Home is Where the Heart Is
D’Lana is pleased with the direction her company is headed, designing for Austin-based eateries and clients in the U.S. and overseas. But at the end of the day, D’Lana especially enjoys the Midcentury Modern treasures in her own home.
Sure Moon Shine Shades retro lighting as a company is her trade, it’s also just part of her design passion. She says, “I have a large collection of vintage myself: lamps, of course, radios, furniture, art, clothes and more. I have a passion for it. Midcentury Modern is an American style. It’s iconic, a standard to measure against. It’s simply timeless.”
D’Lana’s inspirations come from her family tree and a fellow Texan. “Aside from the obvious masters of Mid Century Modern, my top inspirations are my aunt and uncle, Wilson and Virginia Garrett, who started a chenille factory in Itasca, Texas, in the 1950s. The pieces were all custom-made. A motel could get their name embroidered on a bedspread with a cowboy, bucking bronco, peacock or flowers.”
“I also get inspiration from Howard Kron of Texans Incorporated, which was in business back in the day. They had some great designs coming out of there. I am inspired by Howard’s personal story as well as by the fact that it all culminated somewhere out in the sticks.”
Looking for more lighting inspration? Check this list of great Mid Century Lighting sources!