Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Valentino a Roma
A few weekends ago, two friends and I attended an estate sale at the now former home of design legend Dan Carithers. It was the second day of the sale, and, as would be expected, much of the sale's contents had been picked over. Fortunately, though, there were many books still for sale, and I ended up spending most of my time peering at and poring over the various titles. Lo and behold, a spine with "Decoration" printed on it in big, bold letters called my name. Turns out, the tome was the early 1970s Connaissance des Arts book, Decoration, Tradition et Renouveau, which I have only wanted forever. The only thing that had stopped me from buying it in the past was its hefty price tag. Lucky me, because this copy cost a mere $10. Score.
Later that day, I sat down to read through my new book and soon found these photos of Valentino's Rome apartment. Double score. I love everything about this apartment, including the brass fillet that outlined the walls, the rich colors, the antique Chinese porcelain mixed with shiny chrome and brass furnishings, and the fabulous tortoiseshell bathroom. In fact, if you look at the blue room below (perhaps a study of some sort?), you will see a pair of Qing-dynasty ancestral portraits. These portraits later appeared in Valentino's 1980s-era Rome apartment, which was decorated by Renzo Mongiardino in a grand, traditional style, and are now ensconced in his Chinoiserie winter garden at Chateau de Wideville. It seems that while Valentino decorated his homes to reflect the mood of a particular decade- like high-gloss swagger for the 1970s and romance and grandeur for the 1980s- one thing has remained constant: his love of all things Chinese.