Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

High Glamour in the Garden (and Elsewhere)

I mentioned the inimitable New York fashion designer Ralph Rucci here last month {link}, so it's wonderful to see that Architectural Digest has published a feature on him. {link} 

Architects Enrico Bonetti and Dominic Kozerski of Bonetti/Kozerski Studio have just completed a studio redesign of Mr Rucci's atelier, ingeniously moving the workroom to the front of the warehouse space so the first thing one sees from the lobby is the bright area filled with white-coated artisans working at cutting tables, sewing machines or fascinating patterns and toiles. 

As an interior design concept, it's as remarkable, as delightful and as memorable as one of Mr Rucci's creations.

While Mr Rucci prefers to stay very much under the radar, his sublime creations are worn by some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood and high society. His clothes are architectural but still sensual, and minimalist but still full of maximum impact. There's  a lovely video of the collections and also his new-look atelier here – {link}  

Both are online now at Architectural Digest –

Also in the latest Archi Digest is a fascinating story on Pierre Bergé's Normandy retreat. Mr Bergé's was the lifelong partner of the late Yves Saint Laurent and is still living his life with the same grace and style.

It's a shame there aren't more photos of the regenerated gardens, overseen by landscape designer Madison Cox, but it's still an intriguing peek into Pierre Bergé's private domain.

While we're on the subject of horticulture and hemlines, a beautiful exhibition has just opened at the Garden History Museum in London called Fashion and Gardens. 

The exhibition is divided into three themes: Gardens into Fashion, Fashions into the Garden, and Colour Theory, all of which celebrate the relationship between garden and clothing design. Curated by Nicola Shulman (who's bringing this little place to life), it's worth visiting if you're in London early this year. (Open until late April.) {link}

The BBC did an interview with Ms Shulman here. Surprisingly funny.

And if you're heading to London for the Chelsea Flower Show in May, be sure to pop by Marylyn Abbott's tiny but exquisite Topiarist's Garden in the Artisan Garden area. Marylyn was the designer behind the famous Australian garden Kennerton Green before moving to England to work her horticultural magic on West Green House in Hampshire. (Which sadly suffered damage in the recent storms.) 

The Topiarist’s Garden is based on an original concept by Marylyn Abbott for a garden at the bothy at West Green House. The garden was designed to be a reflection of what Marylyn calls "topia opera”, filled with eclectic topiary designs and charming perennials – "a fantasy of formality"! {link here}

And if you should be in New York before mid-April, don't miss the new exhibition at FIT's Museum called Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s. 

It reveals the grand transformation that took place in women’s and men’s fashion in the 1930s, not only in Hollywood but also in New York, London and indeed places such as Cuba and Shanghai.  It's at FIT's Special Exhibitions Gallery from now until April 19. I can't wait to see it. {[link} 

Lastly, I hope you'll forgive the intermittent posts here. Instagramming would be easier, but sadly I don't have time at the moment (and everyone else posts such lovely photos anyway). So I'll try to post here a few times a month. For all of those lovely people who said they're no longer receiving posts by subscription, I apologise; I suspect it's to do with Google's changes last year.

As compensation, we're frantically working on a new online magazine, which I've mentioned briefly in the past, and that will probably take the place of these posts – and will be emailed out (free) to subscribers. It's shaping up to be beautiful! I'm sure you'll all like it.

This year is shaping up to be a big year of work. I've just finished designing the new New York book (above and below) and am now going to try and tie up loose ends on some other projects (including the Picnic book, which Australian Story are interested in covering), before heading straight into an exciting new publishing project about Paris.

The new Paris book will features Hermès, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Cocteau, Chanel and many others, so hopefully I can do it justice. 

There are always going to be critics, detractors and other deterrents in the world but if there's one thing I learned from 2013 it's the importance of remaining gracious, dignified and kind. And making your own work, life and relationships the most meaningful and fulfilling they can be. Let everyone else live their own lives. As Diana Vreeland said: "There's only one very good life and that's the life you know you want and you make yourself!"


  1. We will be in London next week and having read this blogpost, I intend to visit the Garden HIstory Museum.

    I wish I had a 'Normandy retreat'.

  2. Coulda shoulda woulda has left a new comment:

    I saw that Normandy retreat and it is insanely amazing. I am a total fan of Pierre and anything he does. I am going to book chelsea flower show tickets this weekend after dates with friends are set - am so excited! Looking forward to your new mag by the way.

    1. Thank you. Something went wrong with my comments, so I attached it here. Love Pierre's style too.
      Sorry these posts are so sporadic: too much work to get through!
      Thanks, as always, for reading.
      J x

  3. Sadly Im not going anywhere so will travel via your site.. isn't that stag in the foliage just fantastic ?

    1. I hadn't seen it until you pointed it out Miss Eagle Eyes! You always spot the best details.


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