Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People (Anglais) Relié – 30 octobre 2007
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There are rooms modern and rooms classic, arranged with the taste, elegance and restraint of the world's best decorators and captured by the world's greatest photographers. And yet the rooms are not museum pieces, but are demonstrably inhabited by their owners, their well-scrubbed children and their adorable dogs, such as the greyhound on page 317 filching a piece of cheese from the dinner table.
My favourite room which is featured on the front jacket cover is of Janet de Botton's breakfast room in Provence, its French chateau décor a study in white, cream and faded pastel, the background, literally a wall of china - floral motifed white plates and platters displayed on white-painted, floor-to-ceiling wooden plate racks built into the walls. (Already I've been measuring my walls to see how I can incorporate something similar - though less vast - into my old house).
At the opposite end of the décor spectrum is Amanda Brooks NYC loft, all kitsch and brash eye-popping colour like a Barbie Doll house with Brooks herself photographed in a Barbie Doll style gown in a Barbie Doll pose. (It's not to my personal taste but cleverly done & I had to look twice to be sure the figure lying stiffly across the bed wasn't a mannequin).
If you are a fan of décor books you will find plenty more here to inspire, amuse and entertain you and your like-minded friends and family.
So why did I hold back from a five star rating? My quibble is with the empty 14 pages devoted to Madonna which might have been put to better use: Madonna's cow pastures, M. with (admittedly cute) children; a gowned & high-heeled & coiffed M. feeding the chickens (as if!); M. canoodling with husband, a double-page shot of M's sheep -- & only one tiny interior shot, a sitting room that was rearranged by the photographer & does not reflect the actual décor of Madonna's house - which might have been of real interest even to a non-fan like me.
Thus the book falls just a little short of being, for me, the epitome of the coffee-table décor genre.
This new book, timed for Xmas giving, features a selection of the best homes shown in Vogue in the past several years. It is a large-scale book, filled with wonderful color photography. Although Elle Decor and Architectural Digest have come out with similar books this season, neither can hold a candle to Vogue's tome. If you are familiar with the 1968 publication, "Vogue's Book of Houses, Gardens, People", which now sells for $400 and up if you can find it, you will know what is in store for you.
Maximum emphasis on homes you would love to see in person, owned by people of impeccable style: Janet de Botton in the south of France, Marella Agnelli in Marrakech, David Cholmondeley's stately, etc.; minimal number of celebrity digs done by decorators of questionable taste which you tend to see in Architectural Digest. The style and taste of the featured houses, gardens (and, yes, people) are on an entirely different plane than those shown in the new books by the other two lifestyle magazines.
July 2010 Follow up review:
Just how tight is the upper class of England? On page 312 we meet the Hanbury girls, mom looking beautiful and daughters Marina, 21 at the time the story was originally done in 2003, and Rosie, then 19, obviously both gorgeous, as they gambol about their lovely Devon estate. Now, in the June 2010 issue of Tatler, we read about the marriage several years ago of Rosie Hanbury, at age 25, to David, Marquess of Cholmondeley, 49, who was discussed on page 358 of the book as the owner of Houghton Hall. You may remember that name from the Treasure Houses of Britain exhibit. He is one of the wealthiest men in England, an intimate of the Queen, and Rosie has now given him two sons.
The older Hanbury daughter, Marina, now 28, has recently been engaged to Ned, Earl of Lambton, 48 years old and heir to Lord Lambton who we visited on page 132 of this book. The late Lord Lambton was shown at his Tuscany home, Centinale, which he shared with his long time mistress, Claire Ward, mother of the beautiful actress Rachel Ward. Centinale is just one of four estates inherited by Ned upon the death of his father, along with a huge pile of cash. If one were a cynic, one might say that neither Hanbury daughter has let mere money, titles or stately homes stand in the way of their love for these men old enough to be their father, but I would never make such an observation. Nor would I note that Lord Cholmoneley met young Rosie at Centinale, tying all three families together yet again.
This book is great fun and an immediate classic.
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