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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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  1. Beautiful, chic post James!
    Funny, I was just discussing Thomas Ravenel – (of Charleston, SC) yesterday with a client from there.
    Mr. Ravenel (not sure about the relationship with the de Ravenels) is going to be featured in an upcoming reality program for Bravo, called “Southern Charm” – how funny a coincidence-
    Lyford sounds like a dream and one that has now become your fabulous reality- congratulations!

  2. George Cruz says:

    Very nice picture of you with the de Ravenels at Lyford, James! You look so cute hanging out in the background here. But my eyes go mostly to you in any photo you are a part of. I just adore what you’re wearing here! The Burberry cotton ikat pants and Tom Ford floral print shirt are just fantastic together. Wonderful print mix! And the Ralph Lauren colbalt blue espadrilles, seal the deal. I just think it looks sexy/cool on you and perfect for Lyford. And how do you stay in such incredible shape? You are such a handsome, photogenic thing! Happy you had a great time there, my friend.

  3. James Andrew says:

    Dear Dean,

    Not sure if there is a relationship to the de Ravenel clan of Lyford!

    This place is indeed a dream and I am thrilled and honored to be a part of it!

    The people are just so chic and sublime!

    Cheers and Many Thanks for your support!


  4. James Andrew says:

    My Dear George,

    That was a whole lot of CHIC going on!

    I just adore the de Ravenels and was quite thrilled and honored to have them on WIJW?

    I guess I can’t be accused of being one who dresses conservatively!



  5. Love the talent and artistry of the group – and the mood: breezy, stylish and at ease.

  6. James Andrew says:

    Dear Philip,

    The de Ravenels are indeed the epitome of effortless chic!

    I am beyond thrilled – I was paid a great compliment that the photo was very Slim Aarons!



  7. Hi James! Lordy!!!

    I was about to give you the same compliment “Very Slim Aarons”! YIKES!

    I actually am old enough to have seen (and still own, thank God) his very first book! My mother said……”what a wonderful book! My friends are in it!” (it was not a snooty thing to say….it was just true!)

    No one thought anything that Slim Aarons did was snooty…..(because it wasn’t!)

    He was truly just this charming guy who photographed for “Holiday Magazine” and “Town and Country” and the fun places. I met him! (I’m not in any pictures…..but my Mommie was in advertising….he had dinner with us! Hancock Park!!) He took a few pictures……didn’t see them! (he still has a trove of them…..they may surface someday)! Four books have been published after his death at 90+!!!

    He described himself…….”photographing attractive people in attractive places, having a wonderful time”!

    Pretty good for a career…right??? Brilliant!

    “A Wonderful Time” is the book I have that was my mother’s!

    A few friends of ours are in it! It is the capsule of an unusual era! No gross display of wealth…..no “McMansions” People with their children and dogs…….having ” a wonderful time”! If I had to pick a favorite picture….it would be the one with the car……going down the river……and…it sunk after the picture was taken!

    Slim was the most charming guy who has ever lived………and he was welcomed into every house in every great place. And he knew where the great places were…..and that is all he photographed!


  8. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Penny,

    Perhaps Mr McB and I should become a modern day Slim Aarons of sorts!

    Which seams to be the direction my blog is taking.

    Not a bad objective as you quoted “photographing attractive people in attractive places, having a wonderful time”

    I bought a copy of “A Wonderful Time” years ago and paid 100’s of dollars for it – but what a treasure- it has provided endless inspiration.

    The latest I think was “La Dolce Vita” which I must acquire immediately.

    Let’s hope that there are many more volumes to come!

    Love and Light


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