I am beyond thrilled to share my friend Susanna Salk’s latest Rizzoli tome, Decorate Fearlessly: Using Whimsy, Confidence, and a Dash of Surprise to Create Deeply Personal Spaces.
Of course I’m quite honored to be featured with the likes of super chic fellow decorators like Alex Papachristidis, Miles Redd, Mary McDonald, Jacqueline Coumans, Tom Scheerer and Jamie Drake to name a few. Just as I personally celebrate a bold sense of sartorial splendor, I’m also inspired by those who fearlessly express themselves when it comes to decorating houses.
James Andrew’s Living-Room – photo by Simon Upton
Knowing the rules of decorating is an integral part of being confident enough to break them occasionally—as Diana Vreeland once said “.. a little bad taste is like a dash of paprika..” When I was in the employ of Parish Hadley, my friend Albert Hadley would quite often add an odd thing or two that would add that perfect element of whimsy. He really new how to bring a space to life. Salk’s Decorate Fearlessly, celebrates our very different perspectives and points of view, while providing the reader with endless bits of inspiration and practical tips on how to boldly imbue a room with personal flair. Pick your’s up on Amazon here: Decorate Fearlessly: Using Whimsy, Confidence, and a Dash of Surprise to Create Deeply Personal Spaces
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When I was working with Parish-Hadley Inc., my mentor and friend Albert Hadley would often talk about his early influences — in particular: William Pahlman, Van day Truex, Billy Baldwin and the very elegant George Stacey. Hadley held George Stacey in particularly high esteem. It’s clear that Stacey deeply informed Hadley’s early development, and indeed had a major influence on the aesthetic of many other decorators, including (but in no way limited to) Baldwin, and Michael Taylor.
Somerset House in Piaget Parish, Bermuda
Yet puzzlingly — especially when one considers his influence — Stacey has remained somewhat of an enigma for many years…that is, until now! Thanks to my exquisite friend Maureen Footer who immersed herself in ALL things George Stacey for four years, we now have the most tremendous Rizzoli tome George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic celebrating Stacey and his carreer. It’s a brilliant journey through Stacey’s meteoric rise to fabulousness — an ascension that prompted Billy Baldwin to dub him “The King of Decorators.” Stacey was THE go-to decorator for the smart set and social elite, bringing his brand of “American chic” to projects for major figures like Diana Vreeland, the Astors, Paleys, Harrimans, and Whitneys.
George Stacey and Babe Paley antiquing in Paris
George Stacey’s Chateau de Neuville
Among many other aspects of Stacey’s life, Footer delves into the development of Stacey’s aesthetic — a viewpoint rooted in the classics, yet infused with an impossibly fresh spirit. Well versed in many periods and styles, Stacey created a truly groundbreaking design gestalt. I particularly like his “Modernist Monticello” for Frances and Ward Cheney: a brilliant blending of “glamour, historicism and swagger.” Stacey’s work is a reminder to the Trade that we can only evolve when we’re well informed; It’s imperative to have a working knowledge of period furniture; art history; and of course, the use of color!
This is a must-read for up and coming designers, as well as for those of us who have been around a while!
Buy your copy at Amazon here: George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic
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My friend, Susanna Salk’s sumptuous new Rizzoli book, C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon, is a beautiful and enlightening glimpse into Guest and her world, paying homage to her enduring style and multi-faceted life. Salk reveals Guest for the true maverick she was — trend-setter, horsewoman, fashion designer, businesswoman, actress, author, and columnist (her gardening column for the New York Post helped to promote a whole gardening-as-lifestyle industry!). And let’s not forget Guest as the renowned socialite—but not the vapid sort that one thinks of when one hears the word. No, she was very much more interested in character than social climbing. Guest tells us, “My ambition was to be a successful enough actress to get myself thrown out of the Social Register: I had no talent at all but I enjoyed every minute of my experience.” It’s exactly this rare combination of brazen irreverence, candor, and jois de vivre that makes Guest so fascinating. And it is, after all, Salk to be thanked for so adeptly and lovingly weaving words like these into a truly comprehensive treatment of her subject.
from C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon
I’ve had the great fortune to have lunched with C.Z. Guest at Templeton on quite a few occasions—lunch was always an uncomplicated affair, perhaps a cheese souffle and salad on Dodie Thayer plates. Of course there was always a great deal of wine, and Guest, true to expectations, would captivate us with her tales of superstars, royalty, and mobsters alike—and it seemed like there was not as wide a divide between these various social strata as one might imagine! My time at Templeton remains among my most cherished memories, and I’m happy to say Salk’s book captures Guest and her surrounds perfectly.
from C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon
For those of you looking to know more about Guest, Salk’s book has many never before published photos of C. Z. Guest, as well as musings by a great host of style icons and tastemakers. It’s an intimate look into Guest’s remarkable life, and a must-have for your library. We’re sure it will provide inspiration for you in any of your grand endeavors! Pick up a copy here: C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon