She’s Willy Wonka in a dress – a fashionable dress. Dylan Lauren, daughter of designer Ralph Lauren, turned her love of sweets into a lifestyle, founding Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York City in 2001. A decade later, the 36-year-old has opened a chain of these smile-inducing shops around the country. She’ll be in town Thursday celebrating the launch of her book, Dylan’s Candy Bar – Unwrap Your Sweet Life (Clarkson Potter, $35), with a private signing party at ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa and two additional signings open to the public Saturday.We chatted about her gorgeously illustrated book, which gives you a history of sugary stuff and shows you how to prepare the right treat for any occasion. Why did you decide to write the book? Many people wanted to take the fun and creative experience of my stores home with them so it was the perfect medium. Also, I wanted people to see the way I see the beauty of candy and how artistic its colors, shapes and textures are, and the photography captures that. When did your passion for candy start? I think I inherited my carbohydrate addiction from my mom [lifestyle author Ricky Lauren] while in the womb! I just always had a sweet tooth, and fortunately my parents let me have sweets in moderation from like 4 on. Now I love the taste but also appreciate candy for all its qualities: colors, shapes, textures, packaging. It makes me happy just to look at. You must have a favorite guilty pleasure. A can of Marshmallow Fluff is something I can devour in one sitting. I love mixing in gingerbread cookies or graham crackers. Is it fun seeing kids’ faces when they enter your store? Totally! In fact, it’s more fulfilling to see adults’ expressions because they truly become happy, energetic kids again. If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you take? I would bring Japanese rice, [aforementioned] fluff, red licorice and cherry gummies. How do you stay slim with so many temptations? My secret is everything in moderation. You can eat sweets, but balance it with protein and veggies. Also exercise is so important. Not just aerobics but weight training, too. How did you spend Valentine’s Day? I love to give my loved ones (friends, family, co-workers, boyfriend and especially to my single girlfriends) their favorites as Valentine’s Day is when everyone should feel loved; unfortunately, it is a tough holiday for singletons. Any tips for someone trying to woo a prospective partner? Always personalize a present. Everyone loves candy so make a creative package customized to the recipient’s favorite candies, colors or things. A package made of silk or satin is even more romantic. Did you inherit your dad’s love of fashion? What is your favorite outfit to throw on? I inherited my parents’ entrepreneurial spirit and artistic, creative and stylish eye . My favorite outfit would be a flattering pair of jeans and a colorful fitted button down. What is one candy you would never eat? Chocolate-covered ants and crickets in lollipops. Madeleine Marr Saturday’s signings are at 1 p.m. at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale and the second at 5 p.m. at Books & Books Bal Harbour.
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