Exposed | Gabriella Ainslie

Buyer, Bunkhouse

As the buyer and retail coordinator for all Bunkhouse hotels, the vivacious, pixie-cut-wearing Gabriella Ainslie gets to think like a psychedelic camper, channeling what the El Cosmico guest in Marfa might need from the gift shop, or like the experienced traveler enjoying an uber-luxe, music-infused stay at the Hotel Saint Cecilia—what is the finest of the fine apothecary sitting on the counter, the item that the guest just can’t live without? Ainslie worked as a buyer for ABC Carpet and Home in NYC and for Terrain at the Anthropologie headquarters in Philadelphia. She then returned to her hometown of Austin, where she started her own business, Tendenza Consulting, working with emerging designers. “I love getting to see all the cool stuff people are making and helping them make their passion their real job,” she says. “It is so satisfying to see them growing.” When the job working for Liz Lambert at Bunkhouse was created this summer, she jumped at the opportunity for the gig that perfectly brings all of her talents together. She is currently focused on taking El Cosmico’s shop to the next level—think teepees and yurts. “Hotels are all about fantasy,” she says. “They are about this really fun departure from normal life, so I think about how to translate that experience into things you can take with you, things that will help you remember...”

Who is your favorite designer?

My favorite designer is Apiece Apart. Their clothing is so timeless and honest, and the cuts are so classic. I love that you can layer their clothing and keep wearing it season to season for years.

If you weren't in your current career, what would you try?

I’d love to be a novelist. It seems so satisfying to immerse yourself in a fantasy world that you’ve created and spend time with some wild personalities that you’ve dreamt up.

What was your favorite article of clothing when you were a child?

Hot-pink satin shoes that I bought from my neighbor at a garage sale.

What is one thing people don't generally know about you?

I had the opportunity to enroll in the University of Havana for a semester while I was in college. It was a really significant and formative experience.

What piece of art would you most like to own?

A rough cut of U2’s Joshua Tree with Brian Eno commenting on production choices.

When and where are you happiest?

I’m happiest when I’m close to the sea, reading a great book and people watching.

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Mattie Ross from True Grit.

At age 7, you wanted to be?

Jacques Cousteau. I had a fascination with all things French and with the Loch Ness Monster. He seemed like he would be able to track Nessie down

What do you miss most about childhood?

Summertime, with lots of time on my hands to get into trouble! That was the best. I went to camp out in Hunt, and all I remember are long days in the sun, swimming lessons, and lots of adventure.

Who or what inspires your style?

Elsa Schiaparelli, Martha Graham, and Alicia Alonso. They carried themselves with grace, a strong sense of self, and wildly individual style.

What is your most treasured possession?

My music collection. Music can tap into your mood in such a unique way. It’s so special to hear a song or an album and experience the nostalgia that can awaken in you.


Gabrielle's Essentials


Photography by Bill Sallans


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