Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Another Look at Le Jonchet
So frequently have the homes of M. de Givenchy appeared on my blog, I almost feel the need to apologize for once again showing you photos of one of the couturier's houses. It's not that I'm obsessed with his aesthetic prowess, although I am quite enamored with it. Rather, it seems like everywhere I look- in new books, old books, and decades-old magazines- one of Givenchy's homes almost always makes an appearance.
Such was the case when, over the weekend, I was browsing through a 1990 copy of House Beautiful Weekend Homes, which a friend recently gave to me. There, among the chapters on houses decorated with quilts, baskets, and other hallmarks of Eighties Country Style, I espied photos of Le Jonchet, Givenchy's much-lauded country manor. Compare these late-1980s House Beautiful photos to those in the book The Givenchy Style, presumably taken in the mid-to-late 1990s, and you'll see that while fundamentally the home's interiors remained the same between the two decades, Eighties effusiveness eventually gave way to some semblance of Nineties-era minimalism.
Take, for example, my favorite room in the house, the Braquenié "Le Grand Genois"-shrouded bedroom (fourth photo below). Back in the 1980s, the bed was lavished with lace-edged bed linen, while tables held framed photos, vases, and other small objects. But a decade or so later, the room seemed to have received a thoughtful edit. Some of the room's more extraneous objects were cleared away, while that lacy bed linen was exchanged for bedding made from additional "Le Grand Genois" fabric. While the transformation wasn't radical, it was enough to give the bedroom a slightly more modern appearance.
Givenchy seems to have edited other rooms as well, resulting in a Nineties-era restraint that, at times, bordered on the monastic. But even underneath the Eighties-era stuff, the rooms' good bones were evident. Neutral-colored upholstery, both stylishly-plain and timelessly-patterned rugs, and a smattering of modern furniture and art ensured that these rooms would look chic always, no matter the decade.
Le Jonchet, as it appeared in House Beautiful in the late 1980s:
And as it appeared in The Givenchy Style, mid-to-late 1990s:
House Beautiful photos, Michael Dunne photographer.