A seminal sale in the world of interiors is looming. In a few hours, in Paris, important objets that were the result of a fruitful and exciting collaboration between two giants in the worlds of art and fashion of the 20th C will be, A-Gent of Style predicts, snapped by fervent collectors. Albeit small as it contains only twenty-one pieces, the auction under the aegis of Christie’s has already gathered great momentum and exposure online and in the press over the last few weeks – The Financial Times’ How To Spend It gave it yesterday its cover and main feature. And it is bound to heighten the price points.
The great couturier Hubert de Givenchy will be parting with his unique and unparalleled collection of museum-quality Giacomettis. ‘Even if my heart tightens at the idea of parting with these objects, that’s it,’ the designer explains. ‘My decision has been taken.’ The pieces in the collection are all personal and tell a specific story about the relationship and friendship that span decades between the two men. ‘I was already an admirer of his amazing creations, which he made with a lot of imagination and dexterity,’ explains M. de Givenchy, approaching 90, of how this special relationship began. The man who created iconic garments for some of Hollywood’s biggest names — from Audrey Hepburn (the little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is his) to Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman — was initially ‘seduced’ by the shape of Giacometti’s octagonal tables. Three of these very important examples (estimate £700,000-£1m) are offered in the sale which also includes four bronze stools and a major white patina lantern that hung in the main staircase of Givenchy’s chateau, which preceded the one created for the Musée Picasso in 1984 (still beautifully hanging with other white patinated lanterns in the main staircase). Giacometti, then not as popular as his sculptor brother Alberto Giacometti, was commissioned by the likes of Henri Samuel or Bunny Mellon and made his first pieces for Givenchy’s house at Jouy at the end of 1960 (he was introduced to the Swiss artist by art dealer Aimé Maeght, he of the famous Foundation in St-Paul-de-Vence), and from the early 1970s worked on bespoke pieces for the designer’s elegant and well-storied Renaissance Château de Jonchet in the Loire Valley, a couple of hours away from Paris.
‘Every time I asked for something [Giacometti] would write the idea down in his notebook, like a schoolboy,’ recalls de Givenchy. ‘Once he started working on a piece, he would ask me to come and take a look at the maquette, and it was always much more beautiful than the thing I’d had in mind, not only because of the imagination [it revealed] but also because of the incredible subtlety and refinement.’
Animals (dogs, deer, birds) are a recurring theme in the pieces Giacometti designed for de Givenchy, who describes them as ‘touching and endearing’. ‘The animal “talks”, his face is made with intelligence, infused with life. Each time [he made one], it was like a story,’ he adds. ‘Beautiful stories.’ ‘With this sale, I want to pay a further tribute to him, an additional recognition which he does not need, but which shows how important he was to me.’
Once again, it is time to see a private collection that encompasses decades of passion and a special relationship but also that captures a special era and aesthetics be disseminated into various, anonymous homes. A-Gent of Style was fortunate to see several Giacometti pieces over the years at antiques dealers, fairs or viewing exhibitions, and has alway been fascinated by his work instantly recognisable by its delicate, fragile-looking yet hand-wrought finished pieces and charmed by the elegance, craftmanship and humanity of his works especially the white patina lights, the birds and of course the doggies.
It won’t be too long before we see these iconic pieces suddenly emerge in another magazine feature or a sale, taken out of a new context and given a new chapter of their lives. And even if the gracious and restrained Manor du Jonchet is strongly associated with its Giacomettis, how exciting to ponder and fantasise over what it will look like without them and what they will be replaced with (if at all).
Art defies time, boundaries and slipping into oblivion. In the great word of Jeanne Moreau (this one is for you, G.E): “My life is very exciting now. Nostalgia for what? It’s like climbing a staircase. I’m on the top of the staircase, I look behind and see the steps. That’s where I was. We’re here right now. Tomorrow, we’ll be someplace else. So why nostalgia? ”
Below some images taken from Instagram of the viewing exhibition at Christie’s Paris curated by Monsieur de Givenchy himself.
Now that the Indian summer London has been graced with in the last few weeks is officially over and that the whirlwind of events brought by the London Design Festival and Fashion week have come to an end, there is yet another event not to be missed, starting today, before PAD and Frieze Masters enthrall the design and art communities next week.
Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler have once again come up trumps with yet another fascinating collaboration, this time ceramics, one of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite decorative objets. The iconic English design firm in association with Adrian Sassoon is pleased to present a selling exhibition of Hitomi Hosono’s latest work at their legendary Brook Street showroom from today until Tuesday 27th October 2015. The famous 18th century Mayfair townhouse and its elegant interiors provide the perfect setting for Hitomi’s magical and intricately carved ceramics comprising over 30 works inspired by the renowned Colefax and Fowler classic fabric collections.
The Japanese-born, London-based artist is spearheading a new generation of ceramicists, appealing to collectors who value the art form as much as sculpture and fine art. It takes Hosono approximately three months to develop a new design and mould. Some of the smaller pieces take a month or so to make and then another three months to dry before firing whilst the larger works can take up to six months to dry before being ready to fire. Despite this painstaking process, the artist manages to achieve intricate and delicate results which somehow have something of the past as well as looking rather futuristic.
Hitomi first studied ceramics at the renowned Kanazawa College of Art, later attending Danmarks Designskole in Denmark, before taking her MA in ceramics and glass at the Royal College of Art. The recipient of many awards, her work is in the permanent collections of major museums, including the Victoria and Albert and the British Museum.
“I enjoyed time spent in the Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler townhouse” said the artist. “The sumptuous interiors populated by an incredibly diverse collection of antiques and works of art were fascinating. I found myself drawn particularly towards objects with a history of trade and the Far East. In this magnificent English house a sense of cross-cultural spirit has flourished.”
“One Colefax and Fowler fabric pattern which caught my eye featured beautiful roses and pansies, which appeared to be moving as if blown by a gentle summer breeze. The softness and delicacy of rose petals is something that I wish to communicate in my own work and has led me to explore new forms and ways of aligning sweeping porcelain petal elements along a curve, emanating from multiple dense centres.”
“Hitomi’s work represents all I admire in contemporary ceramics” says Philip Hooper, design director for Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. “The craftsmanship, patience, vision and technical skill involved in creating these fragile pieces is almost beyond comprehension. I am thrilled that she has found so much inspiration in 39 Brook Street and that it has been a catalyst in helping her to create many new pieces that will be on show for the first time.”
Brook Street: An Artist’s Eye
7th October – 27th October 2015
Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, 39 Brook Street, London W1K 4JE
Monday – Friday 9.30am-5.30pm
– Images courtesy of Adrian Sassoon –
The Turkish Turkish fantasy created by Serdar Gülgün has been an assault on
A-Gent of Style‘s senses since he discovered the quintessential Renaissance man a few months ago through his latest book, celebratory press coverage and of course Instagram.
For those who are not familiar yet with this magician of interiors, Istanbul native Serdar Gülgün is a world-renowned interior designer, Ottoman art collector and expert, and an internationally acclaimed lecturer, historian, and author. And now one of A-Gent of Style‘s favrourite new designers. From his now well storied stunning 19th-century historic mansion on the Bosphorus to his collections of historical art to his books, The Grand Bazaar Istanbul and Ottoman Chic, Gülgün is known for his passion for bringing Turkish history to life. For those who have visited Istanbul in style, he is the man behind designing the A’Ya rooftop terrace at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet.
Redolent of Turkish bazaars, his decors are replete with objets d’art and filled cabinet of curiosities as well as lavish touches of eccentricity. Original architecture and spectacular design elements intoxicates with a sublimely elegant kaleidoscope of pattern, colour and texture.
“To me, stylish interiors are like sensual beings that appeal to all the senses” opines Gülgün. “They are made up of many layers, colours, patterns, textures, fabrics, as well as beautiful music, exquisite scents, delicious food, pleasant words, and ultimately, gracious manners.” “I am a translator”, he adds. “I translate the old into the new. It is a process of recapturing the obscurities of the past and reinventing them in the light of the future”.
An Istanbulite and a devotee of Ottoman imperial culture, Gülgün has always been intrigued by the rare spectacles of the Ottoman court and dreams of the Old World. “I fell in love with this house when I first saw it in shambles. It took me many difficult years to restore it but I don’t regret it one second,” Serdar Gülgün says of his labour of love and most personal design masterpiece: his home, Macar Feyzullah Pasha Kosku which he oversaw the process of meticulously for seven-years to revitalise and return it to a state of elegance and splendour.
Gülgün lets his imagination run wild with audacious-yet-sophisticated flourishes: intricately carved ceilings, spacious rooms, domed ceilings, frescoed walls, enormous Oushak carpets, sensuous brocaded upholstery, inlaid mother-of-pearl Syrian armoires to name but a few. His whimsical taste and flamboyant imagination effortlessly conjures glamorous, gem-encrusted art pieces, which are meticulously handcrafted in the original 15th century workshops of the Grand Bazaar. Infusing natural elements with centuries-old workmanship, each curiosity takes his followers on a new flight of fancy.
Standing at the crossroads of many cultures between West and East, the Ottoman style this sultan of chic excels at is also spiced with influences from Chinese and Indian to French and Italian, all of which are present in his enticing interiors. Constantly inspired by the atmosphere of his ancient city, Gülgün believes a successful interior design is a place of experience in which authentic elements of culture fuse and achieve alchemy, awakening all the senses and transporting its inhabitants to a place of fantasy.
“The word ‘extravagant’ generally refers to something in excess and is related to flamboyance, which can easily turn inelegant, but Ottomans found a way to achieve an elegant extravagance,” explains Serdar Gülgün
You can follow Serdar on a short tour of his house (and marvel at his French)
Hopefully this will all be music to your ears too. But enough spiel for now, let the images speak for themselves…