Friday, September 16, 2016

Pomp and Restraint

Thanks to social media overexposing almost everything and everybody, I seem to have grown tired of a lot these days.  But one thing that I never tire of is the Paris hôtel particulier of Hubert de Givenchy.  Yes, we've seen photos of this home and his other domiciles countless times before, but how could one ever grow bored with its peerless beauty?

Few have such flair with the color green as does Givenchy, who often enriches the shade with gilt accents.  Luscious green velvet-covered walls of the salon vert provide a sumptuous backdrop for equally sumptuous furnishings, including a Boulle armoire, desk, and torchères.  Meanwhile, in the grand salon, a lighter touch is provided with creamy boiserie walls and ivory taffeta curtains, punctuated by a striking Savonnerie carpet and green upholstery and lamp shades.  Finally, the dining room, more of a living space really, is a study in French refinement.  But despite the richness of the surroundings, the rooms never appear visually suffocating or heavy.  As a fellow collector so rightly noted of Givenchy, "Who else is so adept at tempering dix-huitième pomp with vingtième siècle restraint as Hubert?" 

All photos from House & Garden, April 1987, François Halard.


  1. Just amazing. Thank you for sharing--how else would we get to see something from a print magazine from 1987. So interesting!

  2. Anonymous10:48 AM

    And these rooms are still stunning today!! But where did he have his media room and pool table??? LOL Sorry, I couldn't help myself! A few years ago a designer placed a pool table in the living room for "the way the family lives." The new home was described as something with 8,000 - 10,000 sq. ft. and pictured an indoor soccer field (or something like that), and the only space they could find for the pool table was the living room?? For some reason, the Beverly Hillbillies theme kept running through my mind!! Thank you so much for the post Jennifer! LK

  3. Thank you for the reminder. There are spaces and them there are SPACES.

  4. House & Garden was a fabulous design magazine. Not far behind was Southern Accents. Now both are gone. I kept some old issues and can pick up and thumb through and be wowed. Thanks for this piece on Givenchy.

  5. A gorgeous house but not a home in which to live. It's all for very formal entertaining, and even then not particularly comfortable I agree - Givenchy knows how to do this style better than most, but I can relate to Chatsworth more than I can this.

    1. I disagree and think the home is very livable and the furniture looks comfortable and inviting for family and friends; especially love that writing desk. Just because the furnishings are luxurious doesn't mean they're not livable. And if there are no random plastic toys and a flatscreen TV, I'm really in love!

  6. Elegant, yet comfortable. Down cushions abound, and he has dogs inside, too. Givenchy's taste level is the best, but he was to the manor born. Designers today could learn a thing or two about colour and scale from Givenchy.

  7. Anonymous6:00 PM

    have you seen Robert de BALKANYS house Rue de Varenne sothebys are selling the contents you can get a video tour on their website