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Hamish Bowles needs little introduction. Especially if you read this blog. Most of you are now familiar with A-Gent of Style’s fascination (understand obsession/crush on his persona and also homes) with Vogue‘s international editor at large, also ultimate modern dandy, tastemaker and style arbiter (you can see my past features on Bowles here).

The World of Interiors is spoiling us once again with the November issue which this time reveals the new and magnificent Manhattan apartment of Monsieur Bowles, not only a treat but also an assault on the eyes, courtesy of Studio Peregalli, makers extraordinaire of history-imbued interiors (the book of their work evocatively titled “The Invention of the Past” is a must by the way).


Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli

Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli

Bowles The Dapper entrusted the Milan-based design and architecture firm composed of Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini, for their notorious, uncanny skills to capture the  historical styles and sensibility, beauty and romance of past eras. In these visually intense interiors, the classicist duo have mixed the British, French and Russian styles treasured by their discerning client, that are evocative somehow of Marcel Proust, Madeleine Castaing and also a bit of Henry James and Luchino Visconti for good measure.

The beauty and magic of using makers and dreamers of interiors such as Peregalli with the impecccable taste and wonderfully eclectic antiques and objets of a globe-trotting acquisitor such as Bowles, is that this project already looks and feel centuries old, timeless and timeworn. And already a favourite of your A-Gent of Style. You wouldn’t believe at first glimpse that a huge overhaul had been needed – until you read the article penned by Bowles himself – when you see this grand, stately home. The result is quite staggering: great proportions, double-height windows, custom-dyed fabrics, ravishing chintzes such as the Lee Jofa and of course the soon-to-be iconic antique lilac print that envelops the master bedroom (for those who are not in the know, lilac is Bowles’s favourite colour; his Instagram account is ‘hamishinlilac’), bespoke joinery, wood-panelling, boiseries, pediments, Palladian arches, paintings and artefacts, and of course illusional tricks such as trompe-l-oeil, typical of Renzo Mongiardino, legendary decorator who took Peregalli and Sartori Rimini as his protégés (see my special features on the Italian master of visual trickery here).

 Thanks to superb artistry and craftmanship, the duo, who would “strive for the atmosphere of a Vermeer painting”, have created layered, textured, patterned mises-en-scène with an intoxicating sense of theatricality (names like Tony Duquette and Oliver Messel come to mind) that capture the essence of the jet-setter and also the ‘Englishman in New York’ who has stayed true to some beloved English decorating traditions and sensibilities such as the seemingly mismatched, cluttered, piled-on but also cosy, bold and studied look, fearless of any trends, types and conventions.

In Bowles (and Peregalli) We Trust.

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by David Downton

by David Downton, at Claridge’s, 2013

– Imagery from The World of Interiors – 

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