Jonathan Adler’s retro-modern Happy Chic collection at JCP — cheap, cheerful, colorful


J.C. Penney recently launched a new home decor collection licensed from Jonathan Adler — “Happy Chic”.  This decorating line includes bedding, bath, furniture, accent furniture, accessories, pillows, kitchen, lighting and lamps, rugs and window treatments. We’d classify it as the epitome of “retro + contemporary”. The color palette is all 1960s flower power mod, with lots of lacquer… And the design motifs are also vintage inspired, channeling lots of 1960s originals… But the patterns: They are the overscale graphics — super popular in today’s contemporary mass market — very “2012”. (We hesitate to say “2013”, because surely, the party must be winding down on the chevrons by now)

The vintage antecedents? Pam says that in these designs, she *thinks* she sees a lot of the influence of vintage Rosenthal-Netter, Bjorn Wiinblad, Eva Zeisel, Raymor and Bitossi, while the graphics channel David Hicks on steroids. (Although: Hoo invented cute vintage “owls”, really? Although: It must have been someone. And was David Hicks really really really the first one to do graphics like this? We don’t know…) The lacquer revival, meanwhile, is coming on very strong in the mainstream marketplace. While we would likely hunt down the vintage originals rather than buying a newly made interpretation, we recognize that sometimes you just want a cheap, cheerful and easy solution to decorate or complete a room.  Lots of the pieces in the JCP Happy Chic collection fit that bill. (Yes, from a number of the JCP listings we checked, most of the pieces appear to be “Imported”… but that’s part of what keeps the prices down, we guess.)

To be sure, Jonathan Adler — along with a few others, such as Ikea and CB2 — get our props for being leaders in offering colorful, whimsical counterpoints to an otherwise often greige and funereal home decor mass market. Resist the Greige Nation!


This ribbed table lamp has mid century lines and is affordably priced at $28.

Jonathan-Adler-dog-lampFor those who like Asian style — this Foo Dog Lamp might be just the ticket.


If it is ceiling fixtures that you’re after — the Happy Chic collection has two retro appropriate options — both for under $100.

jonathan adler

The little round votive with atomic relief detail is cute as a button. Perhaps en masse for centerpieces at a flower power wedding? Jonathan-Adler-aqua-footed-bowlThis footed aqua bowl would fit in well in 1950s or 1960s decor.


Here’s another owl — this time boldly printed on an acid green lacquer tray.

Jonathan-Adler-Owl-candle-holderJonathan-Adler-owl-bookendsJust like the owl lamp — these owl bookends make me giggle.

Jonathan-Adler-apple-bookendsI also like the apple bookends — especially because of the cross section, which I think is a nice touch.

Jonathan-adler-lime-green-curtainsThere is no lack of what looks to be Retro Renovation’s 2013 color of the year — Broyhill Chapter I lime green in the collection. If you’ve been on the search for that perfect pair of acid green drapery panels, today might be your lucky day.

Jonathan-Adler-lime-green-sheetsAlso available are acid green sheets for the bed.


And if you like your acid green in the bathroom — bath mats, towels and, yes, more owls are at your service.

With some careful selection, it is possible to extract the mod, flower power 1960s and early 1970s pieces out of this collection and put them to work in your groovy, retro pad, quite affordably. Hey: We even read recently in the Wall Street Journal  that JCP is bringing coupon sales back. (The ‘everyday low prices’ strategy was a flop.) Keep your eyes peeled — we bet you can get another 40% off.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


  1. Dulcie says

    Neat stuff, I’ve got just the place for those drapes. But, that foo dog lamp is pretty much the creepiest piece of home decor I’ve ever seen.

  2. says

    Well I know where I am going…. thanks Pam! I just bought a GORGEOUS 60’s globe light and it is too big for my entryway, I might try their option.

  3. Lynne says

    I quit shopping at Penneys because of the changes they made in merchandise and the way they treated their long time employees. I don’t know if even these fantastic Adler pieces will lure me back.

  4. Laurie Johnson says

    Love JA, but his Bjorn Wiinblad inspiration is no match for the real deal, even if he makes it into a lamp or salt & pepper shaker. The chairs on the cover of his 2013 SPring catalog are another story…..wish JCP would carry a lower cost option for those.

  5. Robin, NV says

    The lamps are really great. I happen to like the Foo dog – maybe he could live in my tiki inspired guest room?

  6. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this–the aqua bowl might be coming home with me! There are some really cute furniture options in the line too. I’d love to see some reviews of the quality of the larger items, like the desk and chairs.

  7. Lynn says

    I love the large furniture pieces, but I cannot find any store in FL or VA that has an in-store display. Any idea when the pieces might ship to stores?

    • Kate says

      Sorry, Lynn — I’m not sure. Perhaps if you call your local JCP and inquire they would be able to give you a timetable.

  8. Ann Ketter says

    Even at 40% ”off” the sofas were considerably more expensive then other options. I practically have the latest update on moderate sofas memorized, and while the Adler sofas are very attractive, they’re selling on the Adler name. Also you need to know that there are only two colors available. The same comments go for the Conran sofas. I went to buy, and was disappointed.

  9. Cindy Jacobs says

    I just bought the Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler Bleecker 79″ Rectangle Dining Table second hand and the cross beam is missing that attaches to the legs under the table. Can I buy a replacement anywhere for it?

  10. SebastianFTL says

    As much as I am all about bringing good design to broader suburbia — although I have been a city dweller all my life — it makes me nervous for Mr. Adler. If you’re familiar with Halston he created a line just for JCPenney. It basically but not quite ruined his career.

    (If you’re not familiar with Halston, & love the 70s, I suggest watching “Ulstrasuede” a fairly recent documentary available streaming on NetFlix.)

    I am not a fan of Ikea but I think it would have been more fun — & certainly more mid-century given their & his aesthetic — to do a line of lamps & odds-&-ends for them!

    If you look carefully you can find the inspiration pieces or looks on which he bases his objet d’art, etc. For instance, I was super-duper on the hunt for his Bel-Air Vase, the mini version for (sorry to say it) on top of my toilet…& was about to buy one! Alas, that weekend what did I find? A handmade, 1970s version at my local thrift. I saved myself close to $100.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *