A Look Back
Happy New Year dear readers! I had only just gotten used to writing 2018 on all my correspondence and here we are in 2019, almost at the end of the second decade in the new millennium. And here's another thing that blows my mind: this is my 100th blogpost. Yes, you read that right. I have written one hundred Calico blogposts and I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my thoughts and inspirations with each and every one of them. While most of us tend to look forward in early January - with new year's resolutions that may or may not be attainable – I like to take a moment to look over my shoulder. It's a great time of year to consider what is really important in our life and, when it comes to the world of design, what has stood the test of time. So I decided to take a look at the rooms that are considered timeless and iconic “classics” in the decorating world. Even though each room has a wildly different vibe, what they all have in common is a commitment to personality, beauty and creative expression. May 2019 lead you on a similar path of joyful design!
The American fashion designer Bill Blass designed his iconic NYC Sutton Place apartment in the 1980's in collaboration with Chessy Rayner and Mica Ertegun of Mac II. The result is exquisite, masculine, elegant and above all else: timeless. In the words of the man himself: "There is a sense of dignity, a simplicity and a classicism in my clothes which can be read into the apartment. As I am surrounded with colors and fabric all day I look forward to a monochromatic home. I work in fashion - I don't want to live somewhere that looks fashionable."
Charleston in East Sussex was the country home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, members of the Bloomsbury Group, a collective of English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists in the first half of the 20th century that also included,Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. The country home is an example of their decorative style within a domestic context, and it represents the fruition of over sixty years of artistic creativity. Not a single surface remains unadorned, it is an absolute joy to behold.
In 1970, French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé moved to a duplex with a garden view at 55 Rue de Babylone in Paris. It was there they displayed their extraordinary art collection. Inspired by the eclectic decor of the Noailles’ villa, Saint Laurent and Bergé dared to mix different styles and periods, placing works by Francisco Goya next to Andy Warhol, Edward Burne-Jones alongside Piet Mondrian, Théodore Géricault near Henri Matisse, and Roman marble with Art Deco furniture. Their dynamic way of displaying their collection created a unique and unforgettable dialogue between artists and styles.
The Paris Left Bank apartment of Pauline de Rothschild was furnished with a collection of Louis XVI chairs and sofas and painted Chinese wallpaper. The jade garden design that wrapped the walls of her bedroom became iconic when fashion photographer Horst P. Horst captured the baroness, peeking behind a hidden door, in her whimsical oasis for Vogue in 1969.
American painter Cy Twombly married Tatiana Franchetti, a portrait painter, member of the Italian aristocracy and descendant of the Borgia family in 1958. The pair then lived in an apartment in a Roman palazzo on Piazza de Ricci, a space for the couple’s art collection as well as Twombly’s own works. It was photographed by Horst P. Horst for a now-famous Vogue editorial, entitled “Roman Classic Surprise”.
And finally, no post about unforgettable decorating can be complete without a mention of the legendary Tony Duquette. The last great job Tony and his partner-in-crime Hutton Wilkinson did together was the interior of the Palazzo Brandolini in Venice for John and Dodie Rosekrans. For this grand ballroom, branches were spray-painted and turned into coral. That's an idea I may have to steal this year....