Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Return of White (In All Its Elegance)

I'm on and off planes at the moment, so I apologise for the poor lack of posts. (Last week involved a 2-day air marathon to get across the world: a 2-hr flight, then a 5-hr flight, then a 12-hr flight, then a 3-hr flight, then a 2-hr drive.) But I wanted to post about a few beautiful things I've seen lately – or am going to see – particularly the proliferation of 'white' in exhibitions, books, flowers and buildings. 

Perhaps it's a reaction to the explosion of colour we've seen these past few years but white certainly seems to be making an glorious comeback. Understated, sophisticated, delicate, and diplomatic (it relates beautifully to every colour), white is the colour world's most timeless, most graceful shade. 

Here are some places where it's been showing its elegant glamour lately....

"Style is... Charleston in South Carolina, Givenchy, the Paris Opera House, 
white, Margot Fonteyn, any Cole Porter song, and English pageantry..."
 – Noel Coward.

The new 'Pearls' exhibition at the V and A Museum, London

On show until 2014.
Just beautiful. Can't wait to see it.

The new Chanel exhibition at the London College of Fashion

Another lovely show.

Have you discovered some of the amazing vintage Chanel dealers around yet? 

Vintage Chanel is worth more than new CC because it's harder to come by. It's slightly more expensive, but the designs are (in my opinion) more beautiful.

I've found a fabulous little vintage boutique near the Flatiron Building in New York that sources vintage Chanel from all the wealthy women on the Upper East Side. This same dealer sells vintage Dior and Schiaparelli jewellery too. The Art Deco pieces are amazing.

I'm currently writing a book about New York: will include the address of this Flatiron store in it for Chanel lovers out there.

Loved this temporary sign on Fifth Avenue

A new book about the divine Miss D

Bought this recently and can't put it down. 
It's a collection of all her memos from her Harper's Bazaar days. Witty and very amusing.

A friend's guest cottage on Shelter Island

French Riviera: Living Well Was The Best Revenge (Assouline Publishers)

Have been trying to source this book for years. Years! (It was out of print for many years.) 
Finally found it in the vintage fashion section of The Strand Bookstore in New York last week, and then discovered (ironically) from the manager of Assouline that they've decided to reprint it, because it was so popular.

One of the most glamorous books you will ever read. The photos alone are worth the price.

More from the French Riviera book.

Love this photo.

A wonderful fashion label from Melbourne called One Season

Everyone I know is wearing this label at the moment.

We're buying a new car early next year.
But I can't imagine it will be as cute as this.

Bunny Mellon's former townhouse on the Upper East Side

Snapped this as I was wandering past and then read on Habitually Chic that it was Bunny's former home. 

The house is now up for sale for US$46M. 
The pix are online if you're curious. [link here]

My favourite staircase in Paris

The home of a friend in the Marais.

Oscar de la Renta

As elegant as always.



A friend's riverback escape at the end of her garden on Long Island

This same friend's dining room

Carolyne Roehm's beautiful weekender in Charleston

We wandered past this last week. The restoration work is magnificent.

Ms Roehm's recently restored Victorian greenhouse in Connecticut

(This will feature in a future issue of the new magazine)

White geraniums

Have you noticed how these are very chic again? They're like hydrangeas: granny flowers that have been given a new lease of horticultural life. Carolyne Roehm had a whole greenhouse full of white geraniums: the effect was astonishing.



The former Pfizer Mansion, Brooklyn, New York

Several years ago I had the privilege of staying in this extraordinary Brooklyn mansion, which has been beautifully restored by an interior designer with a great eye.  She kindly emailed me this week with a gracious note, and once again I was reminded of the beauty of white interiors. Jessica, if you're reading this – thank you. I was very touched. Will email you privately.

Look at the parquetry floors of Jessica's Brooklyn home. Isn't the detail incredible?

Caffe Storrico, New York

My favourite cafe in Manhattan.

Elizabeth GIlbert's much-lauded new book

The girls at Avenue Bookstore told me this was good, so I bought it.
Can't put it down. So completely different to Eat Pray Love. You'd never know it was the same author.

Louisa Jones' Garden Tours of Provence

Louisa cancelled her Provence Garden Tour this year but thankfully she's decided to reinstate it in 2014. I'm going to try and book a place with a girlfriend. The gardens – including Pierre Berge's garden and Nicole de Vesian's La Louve – sound astounding.

Our scruffy dogs, looking as dishevelled as always...

Bon voyage for now.

J x


  1. I adore white, everything. Your images are fabulous. I just ordered Elizabeth Gilbert's new book too! Your puppies are so precious looking. Aren't dogs the best? Safe travels.

  2. I think I recognise the friend's boathouse at the end of the that Tricia Foley's place?

    White is so restful and refreshing, so elegant....but after a while I do ache to throw a bit of colour about the place. Just in unexpected places, just for fun.

  3. What an interesting collage of photos! I just started reading your blog and will definitely keep following!


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