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DIOR AND HIS DECORATORS: VICTOR GRANDPIERRE, GEORGES GEFFROY, AND THE NEW LOOK

I’m rather excited to share the latest and greatest tome by my exquisite friend, Maureen Footer! Dior And His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy, and the New Look is a celebration of Dior, Victor Grandpierre, and Georges Geffroy and their enduring contribution to the definition of chic. I’ve been forever fascinated by Dior and the work of Geffroy, but I have to admit I only had slight knowledge of Grandpierre – it’s a great joy to learn more!

Christian Dior from “Dior And His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy, and the New Look”

The author Maureen Footer, a historian and an expert in French decorative arts, had the entire Dior archive at her disposal – which, as you might expect, helped her to create a uniques and engaging narrative replete with (195!) captivating images. Her work deftly brings to light many lesser known aspects of these three legendary taste makers. With chapters devoted to each, one is given a most glorious glimpse into post WWII France and how, from the cultural rubble, their careers were formed, and the “new look” was made manifest.

Georges Geffroy from “Dior And His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy, and the New Look”

The story of Geffroy really resonated with me. When he finally started to make some real money he acquired a modest apartment at the fabulous 248 Rue de Rivoli – a fifth floor walk up with Mansard roof. Footer writes: “Geffroy turned architectural defects into virtues….The result was the mix of elegance, measure and surprise that characterizes Geffroy’s best work.” As an aside: I myself have recently paid homage to Geffroy, utilizing octagonal panels for our beloved Scott McBee’s NYC maisonette!

Grandpierre is a most captivating figure as well, and is really responsible for helping to “brand” Dior via his designs for Dior’s first couture house at 30 Avenue Montaigne with its chic, elegantly restrained look: pale gray walls, white moldings, and Louis XVI style chairs. Grandpierre also created the template for the now famous Dior typeface, logo, and ensuing signage and packaging which, like all good design, has stood the test of time – a look that appears as fresh and relevant today as it must have then.

From “Dior And His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy, and the New Look”

From “Dior And His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy, and the New Look”

From “Dior And His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy, and the New Look”

Dior was a successful art dealer before he became a fashion designer. Geffroy and Grandpierre also pursued many different career paths along the way, but ultimately their paths merged and all three excelled, becoming iconic Parisian designers who Footer writes: “…captured the moment and often predicted the future.”

Footer’s tome is so very good – I actually read it cover to cover in only two sittings – it was nearly impossible to put down!

Do get a copy of Dior And His Decorators: Victor Grandpierre, Georges Geffroy, and the New Look for yourself and for your friends as well!

UNTERMEYER GARDENS WITH LARSON HARLEY

James Andrew at Untermeyer Gardens. Photo Larson Harley

I recently stumbled upon the glorious Untermeyer Gardens via the miracle of Instagram – I was mesmerized and simply had to go explore the place for myself. It’s terribly handy to NYC – just a quick train ride along the spectacular Hudson River, and happily my endlessly talented friend, photographer Larson Harley, was up for an adventure!

In 1916, Samuel Untermyer hired William Welles Bosworth, an Ecole des Beaux Arts trained architect and landscape designer, to create the “greatest gardens in the world.” In the years following, Bosworth created the formal gardens of Greystone.

James Andrew at Untermeyer Gardens. Photo Larson Harley

James Andrew at Untermeyer Gardens. Photo Larson Harley

The Walled Garden was based on Indo-Persian paradise gardens and included many of their traditional elements: the use of waterways to divide the garden into four quadrants, massive gates, and surrounding walls anchored at their corners with octagonal towers. These gardens were appointed with Grecian influenced structures including an Ionic open air amphitheater intended for entertaining, a Corinthian temple and a Doric stoa, or porch. The Walled Garden is thought to contain the largest outdoor use of mosaic in America!

Leading west and downhill toward the Hudson River, the second spectacular feature of Bosworth’s gardens is the vista. Its inspiration was drawn from steps at the Villa D’Este which descend toward Lake Como in Italy.

The Gardens were left to the town of Yonkers as a public park for all to enjoy. I think Larson Harley captured me quite well amongst the beautiful surrounds, don’t you? Do pay a visit yourselves. You will not be disappointed!

James Andrew at Untermeyer Gardens. Photo Larson Harley

On a fabulous Fall day, I’m sporting a Tom Ford brown mini herringbone tweed topcoat, wool challis scarf in the most sublime shades of green, brown and white check shirt, brown leather belt with faux tortoise buckle, Barbour olive quilted waist coat, Ralph Lauren olive wool flannel pants, Tom Ford era Gucci brown leather “Chelsea” boots, Hermes Cape Cod Deux Zones watch, Seaman Schepps cuff links in ebony, rosewood, sandalwood and walnut with citrines and Tom Ford tote bag in brown suede. My fragrance Tom Ford – London

SPECTACULAR SANTA FE

For an exploration of Ghost Ranch, I’m sporting a Ralph Lauren Indian blanket pattern wool cardigan sweater, Tom Ford blue cotton shirt and khaki pants, vintage Gucci silver double horse head buckle python belt, Ralph Lauren leather sneakers, a Hermes Cape Cod Deux Zones watch, and my fragrance ia Tom Ford Oud – photo by Scott McBee

The desert southwest has been calling for the past few years but remained a bit of a dream. Somehow McBee and I finally made it to Santa Fe to explore those dreams – and magically the trip coincided with my birthday! It was great fun sorting out my Southwest sartorial splendor. I attempted to avoid the cliche – just a dash or western wear here and there – denim western shirts, Indian blanket style sweaters, etc.

It was a bit of a complicated journey, but we worked out a good route and arrived around 4 PM in Santa Fe, just in time to check in to our hotel and then run over to the Coyote Cafe to snack on fish tacos and slake our thirst with a couple of margaritas. Then we took a little pre-dinner stroll around town. For dinner we treated ourselves to Izanami at the Ten Thousand Waves Spa: Japan in Santa Fe!

The next day, we got an early start with breakfast at Pasqual’s which serves up organic New Mexican cuisine, and then we were off to explore Ghost Ranch. The drive was absolutely breathtaking. Certainly one can see why Georgia O’Keeffe had such a passion for the elegant expansiveness of land and sky at Ghost Ranch.

New Mexico Art Museum

Ghost Ranch

We did not realize we needed to book a tour to see O’keeffe’s home in Abiquiu months in advance though, so sadly we did not get to visit. We did stop at the O’keeffe’s welcome center and Francis there had a wealth of information and sent us to the stunning Plaza Blanca (we stopped first for a lovely lunch at the Abiquiu Inn). You’ll probably recognize it from some of O’keeffe’s paintings. We arrived back to the town of Santa Fe in time for dinner at Sazon with serves elevated latin cuisine in a Mexican inspired setting – superb!

Plaza Bianca – Abiquiu

On our third day, my birthday, we explored the town of Santa Fe. After breakfast at Pasqual’s again, I noticed that I wasn’t feeling my best. Santa Fe’s altitude is 7000 feet above sea level and it turns out I was beginning to feel a bit of altitude sickness, so I dragged McBee into the Santa Fe Oxygen and Healing Bar for 30 minutes of oxygen therapy which totally sorted me out and had me feeling good-to-go! While in town one must visit the Georgia O’keeffe Museum which celebrates her life and artistic legacy, The New Mexico Art Museum is also a must. Take a peek in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. There are also endless shops and galleries with outrageous prices – one of the chicest galleries has to be Shiprock. El Farol was the perfect spot for a light lunch while strolling Canyon Road with its endless galleries and shops. Certainly the highlight was my birthday dinner at the glorious Geronimo Restaurant, the most sublime Southwestern-spiked global fusion fare in a stunning space.

New Mexico Art Museum courtyard

Basking in the beauty of the New Mexico Art Museum courtyard – I am sporting a Tom Ford indigo ikat silk velvet jacket, Ralph Lauren denim western shirt, Gucci python belt with silver double horsehead buckle, Uniqlo jeans, Gucci brown leather Chelsea boots, Ralph Lauren wool plaid pocket square, my fragrance Creed Windsor – photo by Scott McBee

On the 13th we took the stunningly scenic High Road from Santa Fe to Taos. It’s a longer route but one is rewarded with beauty around every bend. The Millicent Rogers Museum is a must in Taos. – what a thrill to see her collection of native American jewelry. The Hardwood Museum specializing in the works of artists from New Mexico is also a must see. Another highlight is the home of Russian artist Nicolai Fechin which is now a museum in Taos. Fechin’s house melds a marvelous mix of Russian and Southwestern details. Think: Russian Sargent – so very sublime! We returned to Santa Fe and dined at L’Olivier which serves French cuisine made with local ingredients and Southwest influences – fabulous – but why oh why can’t can’t one get a martini here?!

High Road to Taos

Channeling Halston on our trip to Taos, I’m sporting a cognac colored pieced suede Tom Ford era Gucci jacket, navy wool turtleneck sweater by Ralph Lauren, Uniqlo jeans, Ralph Lauren leather sneakers, Hermes Cape Cod Deux Zones watch and my fragrance is Tom Ford Oud.

For our last day in Santa Fe, we treated ourselves to a brilliant brunch at Coyote Cafe, replete with guava mimosas and the most divine New Mexican cuisine. We then ventured out to the Rail Yards to visit Santa Fe Clay: a marvelous studio and gallery space with exceptional exhibitions.

We took another stroll through town to see if we had missed anything and then had a super chic dinner at The Compound which has new American cuisine with Southwestern influences set in an old adobe home – all rather fabulous . Our new friends the owners of Santa Fe Clay – Mark Grischke and Rod Paul Andres made the evening even more special with their presence.

Forever enriched by this journey (and no doubt we were a few pounds heavier from the irresistible assortment of fabulous food), McBee and I returned to New York to rest regroup and savor our southwest experience!