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James Andrew at Lyford

James Andrew at Lyford

Our lovely Lyford stay was all too short, but we’ve left feeling deeply inspired. Elegance, sophistication, and fine entertaining matched by superlative decoration—what is there not to love about the place?! My Lyford friends always joke that I’ve found my people there! Lyford is indeed a celebration of the most elevated sort of living, and I always bring a good dose of its spirit with me when I return home to New York City.

Lyford inspires me to raise the bar in all that I do, from the interiors that I’m creating for my clients, to the way I entertain and how I express myself sartorially! We connected with so many fascinating people there, and we look forward to sharing a bit more in the future, but for now I’ll leave you with this farewell dinner pic, posing in front of the iconic Lyford fantasy villa. I’m sporting a Tom Ford ivory linen sateen suit, linen/cotton voile cobalt gingham shirt, royal and pale blue polka dot tie, ocean blue dot print pocket square and white suede cap toe shoes with saddle leather tips, my fragrance is Iporberea by Lorenzo Villoressi.

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The de Ravenels at Lyford

James Andrew and the de Ravenels

James Andrew and the de Ravenels

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.

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The Lyford Cay Club Second Annual Design Weekend

James Andrew at Lyford Cay

James Andrew at Lyford Cay

If I haven’t made it clear by now, I’ll say it again, I am just wildly crazy about Lyford Cay!

This impossibly chic bastion of old world manners, charm, elegance and sophistication is always beckoning me back, and so it goes without saying that the Second Annual Lyford Cay Club Design Weekend was a not to be missed affair—and with honorary chairperson, Newell Turner, we were guaranteed a wonderfully edifying weekend!

First off was a tea and guest book signing. Later came cocktails and a superb lecture by legendary interior designer, Nina Cambell, followed by a screening of photographer and film maker Bruce Weber’s “The Life of Elizabeth Taylor.” The film is a deeply moving tribute to Taylor and I can tell you there was not a dry eye in the house upon its conclusion. (Do see it when you can).

We ended the evening with the most delicious dinner at the Lyford Cay Yacht Club where I had the great honor to be seated at the aforementioned legendary Bruce Weber’s table! It was a thrill to be able to convey to him how inspirational his pictorials in GQ and elsewhere were to me as a younger man in the 70s and 80s and how his work continues to enthrall and inspire me today.

Saturday’s program provided us with tours of selection on distinct and contrasting homes in Lyford. There were eight homes in total on this year’s tour, highlighting the many different styles that exist here, all reflecting a range of aesthetic held by the highly individualistic members of the Lyford Cay Club.

Our tour included my dear friend, Lulu De Kwiatkowski’s family home, “Serendip Cove,” which was originally decorated by Sister Parish and updated by Kwiatkowski with all of her rather fabulous fabrics and bedding – it is one of the most storied homes in the Caribbean with magical tropical gardens and a massive swath of one of Lyford’s most beautiful beaches.

We were also treated to “Bayview,” a magnificent home perched high on top of a ridge overlooking Lyford with the most ravishing interiors by Amanda Lindroth. I hope this property will grace the pages of design magazines soon, as it simply must be seen – a truly monumental project!

Complimenting the tour was “Chelsea House,” the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Bond. It’s a modernist Lyford “cottage” originally built for Sir Guy and Lady Henderson that is beautifully decorated by my dear friend and Lyford host, the impossibly chic John Fondas, who has created a splendid lux modernist tropical retreat to die for.

Our day of design drew to a close with another gorgeous Lyford ritual cocktail hour followed by a designer panel moderated by Newell Turner with designers David Kleinberg, Mary McDonald, Miles Redd and Jennifer Boles—giving us a chance to hear their shared musings on design and inspiration.

A delicious “Elsie de Wolfe” dinner capped off our wonderful Saturday in the main dining room with the most sublime menu created by my brilliant friend, chef Alex Hitz in concert with Lyford Cay’s renowned Chef Pascal.

Lyford Menu

Dressed in suitable dinner regalia (another time-honored and respected Lyford observance), I’m sporting a spectacular Tom Ford “Wetherby” suit in ocean blue wool silk linen melange, white cotton shirt with French cuffs, pale blue silk knit tie by Turnbull and Asser, pale blue, royal and white silk pocket square, pearl and pale blue sapphire cuff links, vintage Rolex, Pierre Hardy cobalt suede demi boots, and my fragrance is Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.

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