Friday, July 25, 2014
When I think of the fashion designer Adolfo, I think of my teenage years spent reading W. I devoured each issue (especially Suzy's column) because I couldn't get enough of Nan Kempner, Pat Buckley, Jerome Zipkin, and their see-and-be-seen canteen, Mortimer's, not to mention Donna, Calvin, Ralph, Oscar, Bill, and Adolfo. Back then, we knew fashion designers by their first names. And also back then, it was Adolfo who dressed the society ladies, including C.Z. Guest, Nancy Reagan, and Betsy Bloomingdale. It was a heady time for both fashion and society.
Adolfo may no longer be designing, but his name still conjures up images of ladies clad in elegant dresses and suits and accessorized with stockings and low-heeled pumps. This was, after all, before the days of the high-fashion stripper shoe. But getting back to elegance. For decades, Adolfo has maintained a resplendent Manhattan duplex in the famed Berwind Mansion. Photographed for House & Garden in 1997, Adolfo's residence is decorated, as the magazine noted, in baronial splendor. Among the damask and stripes is a notable collection of antique pictures, including portraits of nobility, as well as furniture, whose styles range from Louis XIV to Napoleon III and American Empire. What all of these pieces have in common, though, is that the designer and his late partner, Edward C. Perry, ardently collected them over the years.
All in all, a supremely elegant home, one that is fit for a supremely elegant designer. .
All interior photos from House & Garden, November 1997, Michel Arnaud photographer.