WHAT IS JAMES WEARING? Rotating Header Image

Posts under ‘Rizzoli’

ANN GETTY: INTERIOR STYLE by Diane Dorrans Saeks


It was through the rich pages of my mother’s Vogue magazines in the 1970’s that I fell head over heals in love with interior design. In one issue, the October 1977 issue to be precise, I happened upon Parish Hadley’s work on Ann and Gordon Getty’s glorious San Francisco home. The article was entitled House With a Heart, and showcased Getty’s grand-scale Willis Polk home decorated in the English tradition, but with quite a few San Francisco surprises. I wore that magazine completely out, obsessively thumbing through the sumptuous photographs of this remarkable interior, and I’m thinking now, it’s not at all surprising that I eventually came to work for the legendary Parish Hadley in NYC some decades later!

The Getty Dining Room

The Getty Dining Room

Of course, while designing with Albert Hadley, I wanted to know everything about the Getty home, and in his typical humility, Hadley gave Ann Getty full credit for the fabulousness of the outcome—praising Getty for her super sophisticated and highly eclectic eye, as well as the museum-level curatorial knowledge she has for art and furnishings. Hadley conveyed that he and Sister Parish had simply helped to create for Getty some rather marvelous backdrops. He rightly sensed that Getty would do fantastically well on her own, and indeed, as we know, she has been hugely prolific, creating some of the most sublime interiors on the planet for her select group of discerning clients.

A Hall of Mirrors with a nod to Califronia interior designer Francis Elkins and Serge Roche

A Hall of Mirrors with a nod to Califronia interior designer Francis Elkins and Serge Roche

A bedroom for Trevor and Alexis Traina

A bedroom for Trevor and Alexis Traina

Luckily for all of us, Getty has been generous enough to share her work, and with the help of the brilliant author and design lecturer, Diane Dorrans Saeks, (see her super chic blog The Style Saloniste) they have now produced the most tremendous Rizzoli tome, Ann Getty: Interior Style. Here we are given a gorgeous glimpse into the exquisite interiors Getty has created for herself as well as for her clients—opulent rooms where often wildly disparate elements live perfectly and harmoniously together—a magnificent “more is more” design approach, all executed to Getty’s impeccable standards.

I am certain you will be as inspired as I have been when you pick up your copy!

Doris Duke’s Shangri La – A House In Paradise

I’ve had the great pleasure of decorating properties from Bali to not-so-exotic Florida, but whatever the case, I always infuse my designs with more than a hint of far away lands. I’ve also had a long-time fantasy of owning a home in a spectacular garden paradise, and so it should come as no surprise that I’m absolutely enthralled by the new Rizzoli book, “Doris Duke’s Shangri La – A House in Paradise.”

Shangri La

Shangri La - photo Rizzoli

“My Honolulu Home” as Duke called it, was her “…most personal and secluded of retreats,” and it remained quite beyond the public public eye. Luckily for all of us she established the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and we are now able to visit in person as well as enjoy rich photographs like these ones.

Doris Duke and James Cromwell at Shangri La

Doris Duke and James Cromwell at Shangri La

The esteemed Marion Sims Wyeth was the principle architect for this glorious five acre Honolulu estate, and under Duke’s direction, created a chic conflation of architectural styles, combining modernism with influences from a wide range of historical landmarks; from the ancient city of Persepolis, to the Alhambra, to the Taj Mahal!

Shangri La

Shangri La - photo Rizzoli

Deborah Pope, the Executive director of Shangri La, eloquently describes it as “…a place of many identities…elegant, complex, embracing multiple traditions, and difficult to characterize.” In fact these words might describe Duke herself. No mere socialite or dilettante, she approached the construction and decoration of Shangri La with a highly developed aesthetic, working with scholars and experts, and traveling the world to amass a museum quality collection.

Are you feeling a WIJW goes to Hawaii trip ahead? If we do, we’ll be sure to pay tribute to the legendary taste maker Doris Duke!

Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design

Rizzoli's book, Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design

Rizzoli's book, Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design

I’ve long admired the multifaceted genius of the English artist, Oliver Messel, whose many talents included stage and costume design, interior design as well as architecture.

Messel’s theatrical sets actually received standing ovations, making the great mass of ensuing commissions to decorate homes, hotels and shops seem like the most natural progression. (Incidentally, my own early career found me designing fanciful sets as well, but in my case, these were actualized within the walls of the Ralph Lauren showrooms, and the clients I met there also facilitated my transition into full fledged interior design).

Health issues drew Messel to the West Indies, and the island of Barbados, which quite by accident (not sure if that’s the right word) led him to his role as architect, building tropical retreats for his many affluent clients. Of particular note are the super chic Leamington Pavilion in Barbados which I’m planning to rent, as well as the fabulously fantastical Turkish style great house he designed for Lord Glenconner.

Leamington Pavilion

Messel's Leamington Pavilion

On the grounds of the Turkish style great house for Lord Glenconner

On the grounds of the Turkish style great house for Lord Glenconner

Whether I’m designing interiors here or in the tropics, I often look to Messel’s vision for inspiration, and so it probably goes without saying that Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design, is on the WIJW must-own list. It’s packed with glorious images of the complete range of his work, and we’re sure you too will find inspiration within its pages.