Say what you will about astrological signs or Myers-Briggs typology: if you really want a quick profile of someone’s personality, a glimpse into their private home will have much to reveal. That’s what makes Beyond Chic: Great Fashion Designers at Home so fascinating.
Photographer Ivan Terestchenko takes readers on a tour of 19 style icons' homes (11 pictured here), from Coco Chanel to Christian Louboutin to Laudomia Pucci. It's a bit like a print version of MTV’s Cribs--a jealousy-inducing peek inside the dwellings of the rich and fabulous--but with fewer Jacuzzis and less overt braggadocio. It also offers insight on the intimate connection between interior design and fashion design, treating the aesthetics of a home as a form of self-expression.
"Their homes are where they find inspiration, nourish their creativity, nurse their doubts," Terestchenko writes in the book. "It is the less public face of their world; it speaks eloquently of who they are when alone."
Many of these designers live like modern-day royalty. The photo essays here include a look at Manolo Blahnik’s 19th-century home of "studied disarray" in Bath, England; Nicole Farhi's London townhouse, originally a military hospital built in 1700; and Giorgio Armani’s ski lodge in St. Moritz.
He also takes readers into the hallowed abodes of late designers. Coco Chanel’s three-roomed Rue Cambon apartment, with walls covered in gilded burlap and a crystal ball on the coffee table; and Yves Saint Laurent’s art-deco duplex, with a purple rug printed with flamboyant parrots.
A frequent photographer for glossies like Vogue, W, and Architectural Digest, France-based Terestchenko allows his photographs to do most of the talking, but provides charming anecdotes of each visit to these homes. “Maxime was detached and affable, dressed like an unusually elegant gypsy fortuneteller in the midst of her encampment," he writes of Maxime de la Falaise. "Before I settled down to take my pictures, she put forth a plate of sandwiches; at the time she was supplying sandwiches to several of New York's trendiest nightclubs."
Laudomia Pucci’s Florence, Italy, palazzo suggests a contemporary Versailles, with marble busts and chandeliers dripping with crystals. "Many a pope, king, queen, artist, and troubadour has passed through the palazzo's wrought-iron gates," Terestchenko writes. Christian Louboutin’s bedroom looks straight out of a Matisse painting. His adobe home in Luxor, Egypt, has royal plum-colored carpets, woven tapestries, and pops of color that recall the seductive red soles of his iconic shoes. This vicarious escape into the imaginative and luxurious private spaces of tastemakers is inspiration for any fan of fashion and interior design.
You can buy Beyond Chic (Vendome Press) for $48.26 here.