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December, 2016:

A VERY NOEUD PAPILLON KIND OF HOLIDAY

James Andrew

James Andrew

One doesn’t need an excuse to be extra festive this time of year. Dinner and cocktail parties abound – and many of you out there are sharing your most sublime take on black tie.

I am a huge fan of the Duke of Windsor’s classic tartan for evening dress, and I also love mixing tartan and velvet. Ralph Lauren has offered some more modern versions of this (as did Tom Ford several years ago) which I absolutely adore – certainly one of his strongest collections.

And of course one must not miss the finishing touches. My friends at Le Noeud Papillon, the Sydney based atelier, are doing the most tremendous things with bow ties – my favorite is the Majestic Black Set. It’s the most perfect size and shape of bow tie in brilliant black satin with matching cummerbund. Certainly something to elevate one’s ensemble to sublime levels. As you can see in the photos, I recently paired the Majestic Black Set with a Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit to great effect if I do say so myself!

Le Noeud Papillon Majestic Black set

Le Noeud Papillon Majestic Black set

Nicholas Atgemis, founder of Le Noeud Papillon, recently shared some splendid thoughts with me on the subject of the bow tie, “[It] remains a symbol of intellectual free thought and a fearlessness in navigating through society….It eschews all of society’s conventional wisdom and says, ‘I think for myself.'”

Makes me want to wear a bow tie more often!

In addition to expanding our own collection of black tie accessories – these make for some rather glorious gifts! Why not surprise someone special?! You can find them at lenoeudpapillon.com.

Holiday ensemble detail.

Holiday ensemble detail.

Dressed for a holiday party, I’ve created a more formal look for my Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit by sporting the Le Noeud Papillon Majestic Black Set – bow tie and cummerbund, Tom Ford era Gucci lace trimmed ruffled tuxedo shirt, Tom Ford era Gucci black patent opera pumps, vintage black silk pocket square, a set of ruby and diamond shirt studs and cuff links by my exquisite friend, the artist and Renaissance man, Alexis Zambrano, red wool socks from Barney’s NYC, my fragrance is Creed Windsor (now Royal Mayfair), and a bit of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel for a sun-kissed glow.

CONNECTICUT CHIC

James Andrew – a wonderful weekend with the chicest of friends in Connecticut.

James Andrew – a wonderful weekend with the chicest of friends in Connecticut.

Any opportunity to spend a weekend in the country is appreciated – the Vuitton is packed in no time and I’m on the next train out of the city. What makes one of these getaways really special though is when it is to be spent with someone like my friend Christina!

I’ve known her for quite a few years – we met while she lived in New York City, but she married and joined her husband in LA. It goes without saying that I’ve been missing her quite a lot. Thankfully she and her family recently decided to relocate to Connecticut, and they’ve found themselves the marvelous Neo-Regency style house pictured above. The house is perfection – I have to say, I’d move there in a heartbeat! It’s imbued with Christina’s elegant and carefree brand of chic, and I feel sure it will be gracing the pages of interior design magazines before long.

The weekend was all wonderfully festive – gorgeous children, attractive husband, as well as a divine collection of dogs – and we celebrated our lovely get-together with delicious food and wines. I hope to return in the not too distant future! In the meantime, I have Christina on the lookout for a similar home for me and Scott McBee!

For our weekend in the country, I’m sporting a vintage Lodenfre loden wool cape (c. 1970s), a Tom Ford era Gucci hand knit brown wool sweater, Uniqlo brown cashmere turtleneck sweater, Polo Ralph Lauren blue wool tweed pants and brown leather sneakers, Tom Ford London fragrance, and a bit of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel for a healthy glow.

CECIL BEATON AT HOME: AN INTERIOR LIFE

cecilbeatonathome_cover

As we’ve pointed out recently Rizzoli has a whole treasure trove of ravishing new tomes out – today we’re sharing another favorite: Andrew Ginger’s Cecil Beaton At Home: An Interior Life.

If you have not already noticed we do love Beaton – flamboyant and self-created he was one of the great geniuses of his time – writer, artist, photographer, film maker, set designer he was a true Renaissance man, and continues to be remembered as an arbiter of style and taste. One of Beaton’s great passions were his houses and their decoration, and this is Ginger’s focus – he calls his monograph an interiorography: “the examination of a life through the medium of a succession of self-decorated domestic spaces.”

The library at Reddish House by Cecil Beaton

The library at Reddish House by Cecil Beaton

Many years ago when I read Beaton’s “Ashcombe: The Story of a Fifteen Year Lease,” one passage particularly resonated with me: “I was almost numbed by my first encounter with the house. It was as if I had been touched on the head by some magic wand. Some people may grow to love their homes: my reaction was instantaneous. It was love at first sight, and from the moment I stood under the archway, I knew that this place was destined to be mine. No matter what the difficulties, I would overcome them all: considerations of money, suitability or availability, were all superficial. This house must belong to me.”

Over the years I’ve exhibited a similar level of obsession (verging on delusion) when I’ve fallen in love with houses – perhaps some of our readership has felt the same impulsiveness? That being said, I think Ginger (and his resurrected Beaton) defends and vindicates the house-obssessed quite nicely!

Uncompromising in his commitment to beauty, quality, and impractical elegance, he has much to teach our informal and unoriginal age. But beyond the complications of art collecting, social status, and theatrical image making, Beaton understood the simple, universal truth, as he put it, that ‘not to take pleasure in one’s surroundings is to miss one of the great delights of life.’ – Andrew Ginger

Charles James clad model in Beaton's Reddish House drawing room

Charles James clad model in Beaton’s Reddish House drawing room

A great part of Beaton’s magic was that he was actually able to manifest his many fantasies, and thankfully they’ve been beautifully documented as you will see in this marvelous volume. Furthermore, Ginger engagingly intertwines the stories of these houses with the people in Beaton’s life.

The drawing room at 8 Pelham Place. 1962

The drawing room at 8 Pelham Place. 1962

Watercolor of Ashcombe by Cecil Beaton

Watercolor of Ashcombe by Cecil Beaton

Filled with incredible images, many of which I had not yet seen – what a gorgeous gift for all the highly elevated aesthetes in your life! Why not pick up your copy of Cecil Beaton at Home: An Interior Life for the holidays.