WHAT IS JAMES WEARING? Rotating Header Image

January, 2011:

Liz O’Brien

James Andrew - Liz O'Brian at the Winter Antiques Show. photo by Justin Williams

The Liz O’Brien gallery is one of my NYC favorites. There you’ll find a truly stunning selection of pieces by legendary designers and design houses of the 20th Century like Maison Jansen, Tony Duquette, Albert Hadley, and Francis Elkins to name a few. I’d be thrilled to own most any of the many pieces I find on display at her super chic gallery; O’Brien is indeed an invaluable resource for many avid collectors as well as designers like myself who have come to rely on her expertise and exquisite taste. As you have probably surmised, I share her passion for the iconic masters of the 20th century, and love the excitement, spark, and historical interest they can add to a fine interior.

I was of course thrilled to visit with O”Brien while she was exhibiting at the very prestigious Winter Antiques Show, and it isn’t surprising that she had one of the most attractive displays at the show! O’Brien decorated her booth with a sophisticated Syrie Maugham wallpaper named Tree of Life (now produced by Studio Printworks) in gray, which created a gorgeous backdrop to the many rather magnificent pieces she brought with her.

I’m particularly wild about the settee made by Maison Jansen for Lady Louis Mountbatten’s bedroom in Brook House, London, and I’m also quite taken by a pair of Italian Blackamoor tables, and the most beautiful chandelier by Baguès—together, these would make a perfect foundation for the most absolutely ravishing room!

Maison Jansen scalloped-back settee—provenance, Mountbatten Residence.

Blackamoor tables. Italian, c. 1920.

Baguès nine-light chandelier in bronze with rock crystal pendants.

Taking a few moments with Liz O’Brien, I’m sporting a red leather motor cycle jacket by Gucci , red and white striped cotton shirt with contrast white collar and cuffs by Turnbull and Asser, wool tartan tie by Ralph Lauren, Seaman Schepps grey pearl cuff links, Alexander McQueen herringbone wool tweed cargo style pants, black leather wingtip tasseled loafers and black patent and silver leather belt with grommets both by Gucci, my fragrance is Creed Windsor. Photos by Justin Williams.

Carlton Hobbs Presents:

Inspired by Antiquity

James Andrew at Carlton Hobbs - photo by Matthew Dean.

Last week I attended the opening of the monumental Carlton Hobbs exhibition Inspired by Antiquity: Classical influences on 18th and 19th Century furniture and works of art. The exhibition highlights the largest collection of Thomas Hope furniture to be offered for sale in nearly a century. As some of you may know, the fabulously successful British banker, Thomas Hope, was a connoisseur, collector, and designer, whose classically inspired design ideas helped to form the Regency taste.

A visit to the Hobbs gallery is always an enlightening experience thanks to the exhaustive research they perform on all of the pieces they show; for this latest exhibition, Carlton Hobbs and Stefanie Rinza consulted with museum curators and highly regarded experts in the fields of antiquities and decorative arts to help identify the ancient design sources of the pieces and to interpret the symbolism of the decorative devices used.

Inspired by Antiquity: Classical influences on 18th and 19th Century furniture and works of art. is on view January 20th through February 18th, 2011. Do visit Carlton Hobbs to view this truly remarkable and historically significant collection.

I’ve included below just a glimpse of some of the most sensational pieces from the exhibition. Enjoy!

The Duchess Street Settee after a Design by Thomas Hope. English, Circa 1802.

Monumental White Alabaster Vase with Etruscan style painted decoration. Probably Rome, early 19th century.

The Harewood House Torchères. Pair of Carved Faux Bronze and Porphyry Torchères possibly by Thomas Chippendale the Younger. English, Circa 1815.

Dressed for the beyond fabulous opening at Carlton Hobbs, I’m sporting an aubergine silk velvet jacket, wool checked pants in browns and purples, python belt with silver double horsehead buckle and a purple silk paisley skinny scarf all by Gucci, Turnbull and Asser purple cotton shirt with contrast white collar and cuffs, vintage moon stone cuff links, Tom Ford saddle leather loafers and brown and lavender silk polka dot pocket square, my fragrance is Creed Imperial Millesime. Photo by Matthew Dean.

For the Love of Longhand

James Andrew at home - photo by Jory Clay Sutton

In a world where communication has become nearly free and instantaneous—our WIJW blog for instance—the hand written letter/note seems to have almost disappeared. In fact many of us may suddenly feel at a bit of a loss when faced with a fountain pen—remember those?—and the task of laying down some coherent thoughts without the use of a text editor—let alone in reasonably legible handwriting!

Now, at the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I do so love the sensual splendor of a well constructed correspondence, and so I make sure that I am always in possession of the proper materials for said communiques: a quiver of Montblancs, Parkers, and Namiki’s, and a fresh case of well selected, gorgeously engraved, hand laid stationary. What a superb opportunity to express one’s creative sensibilities!

And so I proceed, despite the trouble, knowing that a hand written message will be noticed and appreciated. One might even make a quick rough draft for those longer letters via one’s computer, before committing to those inky scribbles! Whatever one’s approach, I can tell you that the tiny bit of extra effort quickly translates into a sense of satisfaction for all.

Sitting at my bedroom desk, I’m taking time to write a few thank you notes on some very handsome personalized Pineider note cards. I’m sporting a pale blue cashmere turtleneck sweater, cognac pieced suede jacket, cream corduroy pants, all by Gucci and not seen—brown suede tasseled loafers by Tom Ford. My fragrance is Creed Royal Water.

photo by Jory Clay Sutton.