“CELEBRITY HOARDER”: TESSA KENNEDY & CHRISTIE’S



 
Third time lucky. In the last few weeks, A-Gent of Style is delighted to have collaborated with Christie’s on another of their ‘Interiors’ sales (some of you might remember the Michael Inchbald sale and two weeks ago Les Trois Garçons‘).
On saturday morning, Charlotte Young, Christie’s Specialist responsible for today’s collection on the blog, gave A-Gent a preview and private tour of a new exhibition at Christie’s South Kensington celebrating the impressive and eclectic treasure trove of objets amassed by legendary interior designer Tessa Kennedy. The 128 lots will go under the hammer tomorrow Tuesday 18 March at 10 a.m with a low estimate of £153,400 and the most expensive item being the pair of brass mounted mahogany pedestal cabinets belonging to her close friend ballet icon Rudolf Nureyev going for £8000-12,000 (lot 40).

IMG_2788_1024x1024_500KB

Tessa Kennedy is an international award-winning interior designer who for the last 50 years has discreetly created interiors with a sense of grandeur and a hint of theatre for an impressive list of elite clients. These include Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, George Harrison, Sam Spiegel, Michael Winner, Pierce Brosnan,
the Saudi Royal family and HM King Hussein of Jordan, as well as significant commercial commissions for De Beers and world-renowned hotels such as Claridges and The Berkeley. She is perhaps best known by the public for designing
the Rivoli Bar at the Ritz which was re-instated in 2001 and for which she was awarded Designer of the Year. In acknowledgment of her work she was made a Fellow of the International Interior Design Association.

Kennedy is the first to admit that interior design was not a career she would have imagined herself pursuing as a young debutante in 1957, despite an artistic ability and an early love of Brighton Pavilion. It was a time when women were not expected to have careers and due to her considerably privileged background as the daughter of Geoffrey Kennedy and Daska Ivanovic, niece to the shipping magnate
Vane Ivanovic, Tessa was expected to marry well and bring up a family, so she was sent to finishing school in Switzerland.


0295_Tessa_Kennedy_and_Susa


Swept off her feet at the first party of the season at the Spanish Embassy in 1957 when she met Dominick Elwes, son of the Royal Portrait Painter Simon Elwes, the two hit the world headlines when her father made her a Ward of Court, preventing them from marrying in the UK. They eloped to Cuba where events took a somewhat surreal turn when their stay was curtailed by the onset of the Cuban Revolution in 1958 but not before they were wined and dined by some of America’s most notorious gangsters and had struck up friendships with Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Ernest Hemingway in Havana as they sat around the gambling tables.

Kennedy’s road to interior design was laid by Dominick on their return to London in the early 1960s when he nonchalantly offered her assistance to the emerging and highly successful David Mlinaric after he was forced to turn down a commission from the young couple’s friend Jimmy Goldsmith on the basis that he had too many other projects. Tessa completed the job with vigour, despite having three young children at home and quickly established a reputation for creating luxurious schemes where practicality and the comfort of her clients were always a consideration. Her first accolade was the winning of a competition to design Grovesnor House Hotel while still with Mlinaric in 1968, which gave her the boost she needed to establish her own studio Tessa Kennedy Design with her Mlinaric colleague Michael Sumner. Together they went on to win many other commissions including the design for the Equestrian Club in Riyadh, which resulted in Kennedy being the first woman to work for her own company in Saudi Arabia.


Fullscreen capture 16032014 162842


Naturally the design principles she applies in her work are evident in her own homes. Many of her sumptuous interiors have been featured by House & Garden, World of Interiors, Vogue and Tatler. What these articles and the collection offered here capture is how much of her remarkable life is reflected in the pieces that act as catalysts for anecdotes about amusing or poignant events with her friends and the process of collecting as a whole.

A selection of the lots were inherited from her grandmother Milica Popovic, whose brother was Dusan Popovic one of the founders of Yugoslavia. She married twice, first to Kennedy’s grandfather Dr. Ivan Rikard Ivanović also a politician and then to the shipping tycoon Božidar ‘Božo’ Banac. Her apartment in Monte Carlo was a hub for social gatherings where Princess Grace and other members of the social elite gathered to watch the Grand Prix from her balcony. But how many other people can say that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton lent them their private jet in order to fly home from Monaco with their grandmother’s ormolu wall trophies (lot 1) as they were too large to carry on a commercial plane? Or that Marlon Brando gifted them a painting (lot 58) after an extended stay at their Surrey residence while he was filming? Of course these connections are perfectly natural when you are as well-connected as Kennedy and your second husband is the Hollywood film producer Elliot Kastner. Many a summer holiday was spent on set with him and Kennedy’s five children, where cast and crew became a close-knit family. They had such a good time on the set of Missouri Breaks in the mid-1970s that Marlon Brando gave Kennedy his jacket (lot 121) as a memento. But what is so enjoyable about these stories is although modestly told there is an underlying pride in the glamorous connections that time has not diminished.


Fullscreen capture 16032014 163243


The biggest influence on Kennedy’s collection was the ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev whom she met at a party at the Royal Palace in Monte Carlo in the 1960s whilst visiting her grandmother and with whom she shared a close friendship with until his death in 1993. Their joint interest in rich textiles and opulent costume, ecclesiastical and gothic tastes is perhaps most obvious in the design of her bedroom.
The Aubusson hangings were among several lots purchased from the Nureyev collection which Christie’s sold in two parts (New York and London) in 1995. She has fond memories of collecting Nureyev from the stage door at the Royal Opera House after his performances and driving him past all the antique shops she had been to that week, having selected items she knew he would like to see as they drove past. The half-tester bed (lot 79) also reveals how the right piece is often worth the wait. She first spotted it in the window of an antique shop in Islington where she was distraught to find it had already been sold but a year later it was back in the window as the buyer had moved to a smaller property. This time it had been promised to Filmways Pictures to dress the set of The Eye of the Devil (1966) but Kennedy could not let it go. She bought it immediately and rented it to the film company instead.




Fullscreen capture 16032014 164353

Some of you might already be slightly familiar with the sale as it has garnered a lot of attention lately in the press, notably in the ‘Curtain Call’ article of House & Garden April edition which features for the final time Kennedy’s Knightsbridge lavish and theatrical apartment with its opulent dining room’s crimson silk velvet walls.
But whilst this title is fitting for the apartment it seems that Kennedy herself is not quite ready to hang up her hat.

A-Gent of Style was particularly taken by the decadent Renzo Mongiardino-esque silk voile-tented hallway and also the nook-cum-dining room wrapped in Claremont’s sublime, multifarious print Coccini. Here is the fabulous shoot with all the items in the sale in situ:


Fullscreen capture 16032014 163105

Fullscreen capture 16032014 163002

11

12

photo

photo 1

photo 2


And below is what A-Gent of Style saw as he went around the exhibition and discovered some of the treasures that made Tessa Kennedy’s glamourous and romantic life already so full (if these objects could speak!). Given the provenance and stories behind most objets, it wouldn’t be surprising if the lots went for much higher than their estimates. A-Gent can also testify that most of the objets are in good condition and have not lost the lustre of Kennedy’s glitzy, Hollywood-meets-royalty, jet-set style.

A-Gent of Style also had the great privilege to meet the charming decorator herself who delighted him with a few anecdotes (a few years ago, Tessa’s children wanted her to sign up for ‘Celebrity hoarders’, a Channel 4 series with regular people) and talked about the difference between a cut velvet and a gaufrage, as you do at 11.30 a.m on a Saturday (the headboard of her storied Gothic bed below is made out of cut velvet and is not gaufraged, a small but exacting detail A-Gent of Style would like to share with those of you who might lose sleep for not knowing).

You can view the full catalogue of the sale here. Happy biding!



IMG_2777_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2783_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2785_1024x1024_500KB

cskphtnve_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2778_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2781_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2782_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2790_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2787_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2797_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2798_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2792_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2791_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2823_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2824_1024x1024_500KB

cskphtnvd_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2793_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2796_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2799_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2800_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2822_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2814_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2810_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2815_1024x1024_500KB


IMG_2818_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2819_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2821_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2820_1024x1024_500KB 

IMG_2804_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2801_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2805_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2803_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2826_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2802_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2808_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2807_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2806_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2816_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2812_1024x1024_500KB

IMG_2817_1024x1024_500KB


A-Gent of Style would like to thank Christie’s and especially Charlotte Young,
this sale’s specialist, for all their help and support.

 – Photos by Christie’s, House & Garden, A-Gent of Style and Tessa Kennedy
(new follower on A-Gent of Style‘s Instagram!) –




RUSSIAN DOLL: PIERRE BERGE AND HIS ‘DATCHA’





One of the perks of getting the digital subscription of Architectural Digest as opposed to the printed version is that you get bonus photos and sometimes an accompanying video of the article you are reading. As he was sliding the pages of the latest issue on his iPad, A-Gent of Style came across the astonishing spread of Pierre Bergé’s secret paradise in Normandy, completely unbeknownst to him to this day.


Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.43.21



With residences in Paris, Manhattan, Marrakech and Tangiers, Pierre Bergé and
Yves Saint Laurent (don’t miss the brilliant biopic on their life when it is released in the UK at the end of March) had this fairy-tale country retreat built not far from Château Gabriel, the late 19th C mansion the fashion power couple purchased in 1980 on an 120-acre estate.

After the death of the couturier in 2008, the business mogul sold their storied
Paris apartment
and the chateau (as well as most of their museum-quality art and antiques collection that famously sold at Christie’s for an astounding $484 million in 2009) but kept ‘La Datcha’ (the French spelling for the Russian word dacha meaning holiday home). This chic log house is truly unique and can boast many influences and inspirations. To A-Gent of Style, it is a kaleidoscopic fusion of a gingerbread house, Les Ballets Russes, Matryoshka dolls, Renzo Mongiardino and is slightly reminiscent of the Bloomsbury Group’s Charleston House and the works of their descendant
Cressida Bell. What La Dacha is not is polite, pared-down and minimalist.



Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.45.56

This 19th C flamboyant country cottage was decorated by Jacques Grange, a long-standing friend of the couple who had worked his magic on many of their residences over the decades. It was built as a multi-purpose living area with a main room and only a small kitchen and powder room. It has no bedrooms. Bergé asked Grange a few years ago to build an outhouse, with a covered walkway, that would be linked to the cabin and that would serve as a sleeping annex containing a guest suite and a master bedroom.

The picturesque folly, supported by stilts, is replete with lacy wood, intricate fretwork, arches, carving, pine panelling and colourfully painted joinery. Textures and layers are predominant especially in the main room with soaring ceiling, alternating beams and red bricks. Kilims are not only used as floor rugs but also upholstered on some of the Austrian horn chairs and chaise longue. There is a stunning 19th C Orientalist panel above the fireplace and many taxidermic animal heads adorning the walls that would make Les 3 Garçons look butch. Apart from the many nooks, A-Gent of Style‘s favourite room has to be the jewel-box kitchen adorned with antique French tiles and Moorish stained-glass windows and doors.

Outside, in the lush garden designed by American Maddison Cox bursting with hydrangeas, Bergé had an additional guest house created. This time a vintage Romanu-style caravan was redesigned to sleep two additional guests which Grange filled with two single, painted pine beds, an antique geometric kilim rug and original William Morris fabric on the curtains.


 A-Gent of Style hopes you like ‘La Datcha’ as much as he does.



Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.41.43

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.44.57

1

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.45.07

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.42.08

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.45.15

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.23.09

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.41.31

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.02.42

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.41.12

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.45.34

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.45.25

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.01.52

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 13.45.41



– Photo by Pascal Chevallier/Architectural Digest –



YVES SAINT LAURENT: THE MOVIE & PARIS APARTMENT



 



Away from the buzz of Paris Déco Off and Maison & Objet, the only evening off
A-Gent of Style managed to get was on Sunday when he, like one million or so French cinema-goers in the last fortnight, went to see the Yves Saint Laurent movie, the first of two French biopics to be released this year. And A-Gent though it was
un chef d’oeuvre. Do see it when it is released in your country or on DVD.







Loosely based on the Laurence Benaim’s biography and approved by Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent, directed by Jalil Lespert, recounts the passionate and turbulent life of one of the most famous French couturiers, whose work was heavily influenced by his personal life and traces the events of the precocious talent who took over from his mentor, Christian Dior, in 1957, when he was only 21 from the beginning of his career in 1958 when he met his lover and business partner, Pierre Bergé until the designer’s death in 2008 (the movie focuses mainly though on the 1950s, 60s and 70s). Their relationship somehow mirrors Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti’s who together also created an iconic fashion house, amassed an incredible art collection and sustained a personal relationship for over 50 years. You can see A-Gent of Style‘s feature of Giammetti’s latest New York apartment here.




Actor Pierre Niney, boundless talent of the Comédie française (the French equivalent of the RSC, more or less) doesn’t play Yves Saint Laurent so much as embody him.
His performance is riveting and impeccable. The movie is intimate, insightful and entertaining. Wait to see a young Karl Lagerfeld mingling with Saint Laurent’s muses, Loulou de la Falaise and Betty Cattroux (interestingly enough, Catherine Deneuve is not featured). And the physical similarities between the actors and the actual persons are sometimes uncanny (Now, A-Gent of Style is very much aware that his adoration for Hamish Bowles – see the last post – is worryingly turning into an obsession but don’t you think he looks very much like Monsieur Saint Laurent?! The lanky figure, the floppy hair, the black-rimmed spectacles and of course la mode??).


The other show-stopping factors of the film are the visually sumptuous interiors.
Be it Saint Laurent’s childhood mansion in Oran, Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s Paris apartment or their villa in Les Jardins de Majorelle in Marrakesh, the décors are ravishing and breathtaking. Whilst they are not faithfully accurate, they certainly capture the spirit of the museum-quality objets d’art the A-Gay couple surrounded themselves with over five decades.

AD France has just featured new photographs of the arts patrons and aesthetes’s nine-room duplex apartment at 55 rue de Babylone, on Paris’s Left Bank,
one of the superlative interiors of the 20th century. After Saint Laurent’s death,
his and Bergé’s interiors were auctioned and sold at Christie’s in 2009 for an astounding $484 million—the Eileen Gray ‘Dragon’ chair alone brought just over
$28 million. It is still referred today as ‘the sale of the century’.
You can judge by yourselves here:

In the Grand Salon, the two main paintings, 'Composition dans l'Usine' (1918) and 'Le Profil Noir' (1928) are by Fernand Leger.  Lacquered vases by Jean Dunand on eithe risde of the sofa. On the left, De Chirico's 'Le Revenant', on the right, Leger's 'Le Damier Jaune'. An 'Africaniste' stool in the foreground is by Pierre Legrain

In the Grand Salon, the two main paintings, ‘Composition dans l’Usine’ (1918) and ‘Le Profil Noir’ (1928) are by Fernand Leger. Lacquered vases by Jean Dunand on either side of the sofa. On the left, De Chirico’s ‘Le Revenant’, on the right, Leger’s ‘Le Damier Jaune’. Two pairs of armchairs by Jean-Michel Frank and an ‘Africaniste’ stool in the foreground is by Pierre Legrain

 

Two cabinets by Adam Weisweiler, on the left, De Chirico's La Bombe de l'Anarchiste (1914) and Vuillard's 'Marie reveuse et sa mere' (1892). On the right, Munch's 'Bord de Mer' (1898) and 'Les Coucous, tapis bleu et rose' (1911) by Matisse. On the iconic 'Fauteuil aux Dragons' by Eileen Gray

In the background, two cabinets by Adam Weisweiler, on the left, De Chirico’s La Bombe de l’Anarchiste (1914) and Vuillard’s ‘Marie reveuse et sa mere’ (1892). On the right, Munch’s ‘Bord de Mer’ (1898) and ‘Les Coucous, tapis bleu et rose’ (1911) by Matisse. In the foreground, on the left, (half of) the iconic ‘Fauteuil aux Dragons’ by Eileen Gray

 



Two senoufo sculptures from the Ivory Coast, a chair and a bird, in front of Sir Burne-Jones' 'Les Rivieres du Paradis' (1875).

Two senoufo sculptures from the Ivory Coast, a chair and a bird, in front of Sir Burne-Jones’ ‘Les Rivieres du Paradis’ (1875)

 

Column in terracotta by Ernest Boiceau, English chair (anonymous) and a drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Column in gilded terracotta by Ernest Boiceau, English chair (anonymous) and a drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

 

15th C 'Cabbage Leaf' Flanders tapestry, Aloes lamp by Albert Cheuret circa 1920s, and silver-gilt and ivory objets d'art

15th C ‘Cabbage Leaf’ Flanders tapestry, Aloes lamp by Albert Cheuret circa 1920s, and silver-gilt and ivory objets d’art

 

Detail of 'Tenture des Nouvelles Indes'

Detail of ‘Tenture des Nouvelles Indes’

 

In the Salon de Musique, the mirrors adorned with branches are by Claude Lalanne and reflect gilted and bronze vases from the 17th C on a lacquered  sideboard by Eileen Gray

In the Salon de Musique, the mirrors adorned with branches are by Claude Lalanne and reflect gilted and bronze vases from the 17th C on a lacquered sideboard by Eileen Gray

 

Bronze tall vase by Jean Dunand

Bronze tall vase by Jean Dunand. Glossy, lacquered bitter chocolate walls

 

In the dining room, an Art Deco table surounded by 18th C gilted cahirs. German mirror from Louix XV and tapestry panels from Louis XIV

In the dining room, an Art Deco table surrounded by 18th C Italian Rococo gilted chairs. German mirror from Louix XV and tapestry panels from Louis XIV

 

Lacquered gold and red Bhudda in timber from the Ming dynasty, 16th C, the 'cabinet de curiosites' designed by Jacques Grange

Lacquered gold and red Bhudda in timber from the Ming dynasty, 16th C; ‘cabinet de curiosites’ designed by Jacques Grange

 

Gardens with a Roman marble 'Minotaur', 1st-2nd C BC

Gardens with a Roman marble ‘Minotaur’, 1st-2nd C BC

 


– Photos of interiors by AD France –

 

Page 5 of 6« First...23456
© Copyright agentofstyle - Designed by Dentdelion