Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Givenchy Style

You'll have to forgive me. I'm on a tear about The Finest Houses Of Paris. There is just so much in that book to look at and, well, talk about. Seeing that yesterday's post was about Walter Lees, it seemed fitting to include photos from the book's chapter about Hôtel d'Orrouer, the Paris home of Lees' great friend Hubert de Givenchy. As I mentioned yesterday, Givenchy lauded his late friend's "perfect taste", two words that I think also describe the Givenchy aesthetic. In fact, many interior designers credit Givenchy's homes as inspiration in their own work. I understand why. The couturier is able to achieve just the right balance of luxury and simplicity in his homes, and he does so effortlessly. Or at least, it seems that way.

I'm sure that most of you have already seen numerous photos of the interiors, so I'm not showing you anything new. What I liked about the photos featured here, though, is that they are vignette shots which give us the opportunity to study the Givenchy style in detail. Who better to learn from than a master himself?

A closer look at the sofa and lampshades that have inspired more than a few designers.

A simple table set for lunch. Simple, but certainly not ordinary. A white linen cloth and chair slipcovers serve as a backdrop for blue and white Compagnie des Indes plates, embroidered monogrammed napkins, and a beautiful 18th c. silver tureen.

A detail shot in the living room.

A basket of wood and a broom placed next to the fireplace add a rustic touch to a luxurious room.

Givenchy's dressing table with various implements laid out on red velvet.

Audrey Hepburn, Baroness Gabrielle van Zuylen, and a piebald horse also grace his dressing table.

All images from The Finest Houses Of Paris by Christiane de Nicolay-Mazery, Jean-Bernard Naudin photographer.


  1. In the shot of the dressing table, I wonder why there are two candle snuffers. And I hope the clippers are for a little impromptu flower arranging. All lovely, though.

  2. SO beautiful. Yes, his taste is impeccable in absolutely every facet of life. Love his gardens as well. And I agree, I always appreciate when there are lots of vignettes - those closer peeks are so insightful. How about that incredible silver tureen?!

  3. His taste is flawless. Period.

  4. simply gorgeous -but some of those instruments on the dressing table, as classicist points out, are a bit scary! He didn't exactly have a Hercule Poirot mustache or anything!

  5. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Interesting to see the napkin at the dining table laid to the right--very un-French, where it is always to the left. It's a good demonstration that people either don't know the custom, or chose to do otherwise. I would have laid the napkin on top of the plate.

    And I can't figure out why the glasses are set as they are either.

    I love the potted plants as the floral element, especially with the table so near the garden doors.

  6. More. I will take whatever you wish to show us from The Finest Houses in Paris. How special to see the Givenchy interiors.

    Think Givenchy was a collector hence the two different candle snuffers. The clippers look like goat hoof trimmers.

  7. all are very

  8. Oh my. Well there is always someone who hasn't seen these photos and I own up that I am that person! So thank you because, truly, how fantastic. Insanely gorgeous and yet livable. More please.

  9. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Didn't Susan Gutfreund have her pied a terre in the same hotel particulier?

  10. Anon- Yes, but last I heard it was for sale. Does anyone here know if it was sold?

  11. Can you give recommendations as to where to see more Givenchy interiors as at over USD 400 I will not be able to purchase the book unfortunately :-( Thanks!

  12. Anonymous5:35 PM

    Alie you might have some luck on Amazon picking up the Sotheby's 2 volume hardcover auction catalog. It has superb pictures of his interiors and collection, Try also a search for the book "Givenchy Style". To Anonymous, yes Ms, Gutfreund had or may still have an apartment on the second floor (in France the "First" floor. I was fortunate to have been invited to see some of these rooms when I lived in Paris. Without question they were the most beautiful I'd ever seen, The architecture, the smell, the natural light, the unpretentious way he arranged his fine furniture in mismatched sitting groups. Some of the fabric was ready for a change but that I realized was part of the chic. The French do that so well and Messr. Givenchy is the master.