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March, 2011:

Albert Hadley Inc: End of an Era?

James Andrew at Sotheby's

I have to say I was a bit saddened by my visit yesterday to see a few items from the collection of Albert Hadley at Sotheby’s.

Working with Hadley provided me with invaluable insight into what it takes to make a sublime interior, and seeing so many familiar Hadley pieces on the Auction block really had me feeling that this marked an end of an era. But then I thought—perhaps this is not an end. The opportunity still exists to carry on—to imbue my own interior work with the same spirit that made Parish-Hadley the iconic firm it was for almost half a century. Suitability and comfort; collaboration with world class artisans and crafts people; exquisite workmanship; an unerring eye for detail; and a love for even the most modest of materials to create perfectly understated elegance—all of these characteristics typified the Parish-Hadley approach, and I’d like to think these are still relevant to designers and their clients today!

And so I’m making an effort to temper my sadness, and to actually elicit some joy in the face of things. I continue to owe so much to Hadley’s great legacy, and perhaps the best way to honor this debt is to renew my commitment to uphold the high standard that Parish-Hadley and Albert Hadley Inc. set for us all.

Leaving Sotheby’s, I’m sporting a Tom Ford era Gucci camel hair top coat, aubergine velvet jacket and python belt with silver buckle, Tom Ford dark brown cotton corduroy pants and pink silk pocket square, shocking pink cotton shirt with contrast white collar and French cuffs by Turnbull and Asser, vintage moon stone cuff links, dark brown silk satin tie by Ralph Lauren, aubergine suede “Eton” boots by Yves Saint Laurent, sunglasses by Tom Ford, brown suede gloves by Sermoneta and my fragrance is Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose from our friends the Sersales.

Infinite Variety

James Andrew - the American Folk Art Museum quilt show.

While working at the esteemed design firm, Parish-Hadley, the love of arts and crafts by artisans was deeply instilled in me. Albert Hadley and Sister Parish often integrated these modest creations into their interiors—adding charm and character to even the most super sophisticated interiors. And so it might not surprise you to know I was thrilled to attend the opening night gala for the exhibition by the American Folk Art Museum, Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts.

When her husband asked Mrs. Joanna S. Rose (whose collection is presented here) what she wanted for her 80th birthday, she is reported to have replied, “Something I have not seen before and something that would be a gift for New York City.” Needless to say Mr. Rose delivered on all accounts. What a spectacle to behold!—a perfect birthday present to both Mrs. Rose, and an enduring gift for all of us! It should be noted that admission is free—as any gift should be—and it runs only until March 30, 2011. The enormous 55,000 sqr. ft. Wade Thompson Drill Hall at The Park Avenue Armory awaits with a truly infinite variety of tantalizing and surprising designs, so do make time to peruse this rhapsodic show before it’s gone!

Dressing up for the occasion, I’m sporting a Gucci tyrolean style charcoal tweed suit and black suede “Belgian” style slippers, Turnbull and Asser forest green and white micro check shirt with white contrast collar and cuffs, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, Borrelli dark green cashmere tie and my Fragrance is Creed Vintage Tabarome.

The Tropical Modern House

This seems like it has been an exceptionally long Winter, and these continually cold early Spring days certainly have one yearning for tropical climes. Of course one would want the dreamiest of homes to help set the stage for one’s getaway, and this brings me to the exquisite new Rizzoli book, “The Tropical Modern House,” by Raul A. Barreneche. It’s a beautifully photographed volume, and includes a spectacular survey of modern houses that embrace the idea of indoor/outdoor living.

Casa Kimball - photos by Paul Warchol

Casa Kimball - photos by Paul Warchol

One house in particular featured in this marvelous book stands out—Casa Kimball in the Dominican Republic—the result of a fortuitous collaboration between my super chic friend Spencer Kimball and his brilliant New York based architect Jasmit Rangr. You may recall the series of posts we made a while back documenting our beyond fabulous stay there.

At Casa Kimball

It’s rare that one comes across a place that is so perfect on every level, and I’m including a few images for those who may have missed our write up. Until such time as you can visit Casa Kimball yourself, I’m sure Barreneche’s new book will provide you with ample vicarious inspiration, and perhaps it will take a little bit of the chill out of these early Spring days!