E.P. Taylor, business tycoon and horse breeder, founded the Lyford Cay Club in the late 1950′s. The idea, was to offer a perfectly peaceful and private place of residence, on an idyllic and beautiful island ideally positioned halfway between the United States and the Caribbean. Taylor set out to attract the most interesting, successful, and sophisticated people that the world had to offer, and provide them with a stunning tropical backdrop to enjoy the good life.
In those early days, the Club attracted a remarkable set of accomplished individuals including the founder of CBS William Paley and his iconic wife Babe, Roy Larsen of Time Inc., the president of the Herald Tribune, Walter Thayer and his wife Jean, the land developer Sir Harold Christie and his wife lady Virginia, the CEO of Heinz Jack Heinz and his wife Drue, John Loeb of the banking family and his wife Peter, the shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, Lord Derby, etc, etc… The list goes on.
This wildly exclusive enclave was decorated in the early days by Lady Ann Orr-Lewis whose ultra chic sensibilities set a high standard for Lyford. Nowadays the club has turned to famous New York based decorator Tom Scheerer to maintain this very high standard, and he’s accompanied in this formidable task by a force of celebrated decorators and trend-setters like Amanda Lindroth and John Fondas who spare no efforts in fashioning house interiors to satisfy the desires of Lyford’s esteemed new members—many of them, the sons, daughters or grandchildren of the founding members.
Needless to say, it’s the residents at Lyford that make this Bahamian retreat so exceptional—my fabulous friends the de Ravenels, for instance, are a perfect example of the sort of effortless chic and elegance that so embody the spirit of the place. After many beautiful stays at Lyford, they fell in love with the people and the climate, and decided several years ago to make Lyford Cay their permanent residence. You’ll recall our WIJW piece on Jean-Charles de Ravenel’s exquisite artwork, and his hugely successful exhibition at the Chinese Porcelain Company. And the family talent continues in designer Jackie de Ravenel who epitomizes the sort of elegance and beauty that one has come to expect at Lyford. You’ll have seen the ravishing Rebecca de Ravenel’s interior design work featured in Vogue columnist Lauren Santa Domingo’s piece on vogue.com — here, Rebecca de Ravenel showcases her fantasy “Island Living” interior,” in which she’s brought the spirit of Lyford to her New York City apartment. In addition, she is founder of The Goombay Bazaar, a traveling pop-up shop that sells one-of-a-kind wares from all over the world. As a global nomad she brings back a truly diverse selection of special and exotic finds.
For more, keep your eyes peeled for the May issue of Departures—our friend Alex Hitz, in his column entitled “Places That Still Matter,” will be featuring the de Ravenels and their stunning Lyford home which was decorated by Jackie and Rebecca de Ravenel.
Taking a break between house tours, I’m pictured (above) luxuriating with the de Ravenels at their stunning seaside home—They, dressed in their perfect island attire, and I myself (way in the back there) am sporting Burberry Prorsum indigo cotton ikat pants, Tom Ford abstract floral print cotton shirt and eye glasses, Ralph Lauren cobalt suede espadrilles, Orlebar Brown rope belt, vintage Rolex, and my fragrance is Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.