Monday, June 27, 2022 Jun 27, 2022
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INSIDERS

By Aimee Larrabee |

Ian Fawn-Meade

The Creative Director

Picture a stereotypical adman: He’s got that pleasant radio voice, he uses a lot of gestures when he speaks, he has a smooooth personality and is a fast talker. Now, picture a typical Britisher: he’s got classy looks; a quick, dry sense of humor; an irresistible accent. Put the two together, and you’ve got Ian Fawn-Meade, executive vice president and creative director for the advertising company of Tracy-Locke BBDO.

This month, Fawn-Meade celebrates his first anniversary with the Dallas-based ad agency and the end of his first year in the United States. Meade was born in London and moved to South Africa to join his mother when he was 17. While he was there, he began hunting for any job. He says he went to an interview with Lever Bros, wearing a yellow waistcoat, which prompted the interviewer to say, “You look like an adman. Why don’t you go down the street and apply at the ad agency down there?” The rest, as they say, is history.

That yellow waistcoat may have landed Fawn-Meade his first job, but it was his talent that took him to the top. As the creative director of several multinational agencies, he, his wife and two children have lived in such exotic spots as Australia, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Tokyo.

Fawn-Meade says that he first scoffed at the idea of moving to Dallas, but says that once he met Howard Davis, president of Tracy-Locke, he changed his mind. The reason? Finding the proper chemistry between the creative director and the president of an agency is one of Fawn-Meade’s ingredients for a successful business. The other-his ability to motivate the creative staff-is less concrete.

Fawn-Meade says that no one can simply command people to be creative; they have to be coaxed, cajoled. So Fawn-Meade establishes a creative environment for his workers; in other words, they set up their own environments.

Every day, Fawn-Meade walks up and down the corridors of Tracy-Locke-which spans four floors of the Plaza of the Americas south tower- and “observes.” He says that this is his way of looking for “cues of uneasiness”-signs that his creative people are having problems producing. That’s his cue to coax and cajole a little more.

Although Fawn-Meade keeps in constant contact with his 55-member staff, he says he also keeps a certain distance from them, because, he says, “A surgeon doesn’t need to know his patients.” To remain objectively critical of his staffs work, he tries not to become too involved.

Not that criticism comes easily: “A staff member will come into my office and say, ’Here’s my baby. What do you think of it?’ You don’t say, ’No way’; you say, ’Oh, yes, that’s a nice baby… but it might be a little better if it had two arms instead of three.’”

Which brings us to Fawn-Meade’s final ingredient for success: humor. And if Tracy-Locke was ever lax in that area, there’s been plenty to go around for about a year now.

Theresa Astarie

The Restaurant Designer

How did Theresa Alexander Astarie-who graduated from Tulane University with a bachelor’s degree in French-become one of Dallas’ most successful restaurant designers? According to Astarie, it was simply a matter of osmosis.

Astarie, designer and part owner of such popular Dallas night spots as the Stoneleigh P., the Greenville Bar & Grill and The Lounge, says that she always had a strong interest in designing and architecture but didn’t have “the guts” to pursue a degree in the field. While in college, she did spend a lot of time “hanging around the architecture school.”

Even as a child growing up in New Orleans, Astarie loved architecture. Her parents built a contemporary Austin-Stone house on Lake Pontchartrain -quite an oddity for the staid New Orleans of the Forties. As such, her home was given a great deal of attention in architectural and design publications.

By 1968, Astarie says she had become “a pregnant Gold-water Republican who spent a lot of time working on women’s issues”-again, an oddity. Then her family moved to Dallas, where she met Tom Garrison, who was working with restaurateur Gene Street. Garrison was looking for investors in a small bar/restaurant in Oak Lawn that had been a pharmacy for years. Astarie, who says that Dallas, at that point, didn’t have any sophisticated bars, dove into the project headfirst. She didn’t have any experience, but she did have an ample supply of ideas on what she wanted for the establishment.

Her vision? A place with “no imposed atmosphere. Nothing that attacks you. A place where a woman could walk in by herself. A feeling that the place had always been there. A built-in tradition.” She did it, and the Stoneleigh P., was an overwhelming success.

Since her work with the Stoneleigh P., Astarie and her partners have purchased two other local hangouts, the Greenville Bar & Grill and The Lounge, both of which have been successful. Her latest endeavor is the State Theater in Austin. She’s been working closely with ArchiTexas, a local architecture firm, in drawing up plans for the dinner theater (with two movie screens and two restaurants), which should be completed this spring.