The Devil is in the Details

As often happens, once I’m on something it tumbles around in my head a bit.  I’ve had the article on the Vreeland apartment on my desk for a week now and every day I’m noticing something new.  It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the color and miss all the wonderful stuff.

(Slightly off subject, matching cuffs have held long-time appeal and both sets of Vreeland’s that are pictured in this piece are enviable.)

I was struck by Vreeland’s quote in the article, “I was always working, not hunting valuable antiques.  Couldn’t afford them anyway.  Frankly, antiques bore me to death.”  And yet.  And yet her home is layered and sophisticated and some of her stuff is quite good indeed.

Megan’s post yesterday made me flip back to this page as Vreeland, who was a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar and editor-in-chief at Vogue, used several fashion sketches on this wall.

Included in the jumble is this picture of Winston Churchill (natch) guarded by a prowl of porcelain leopards, a gift from jeweler Jean Schlumberger.  

Chic! Unique, no?  But then there’s this.  Staffordshire dogs.  

And this charming Staffordshire couple.  Staffordshire is just the type of collectible for society women, of which Vreeland assured she was not one.  And here, they are part of a salon set just on its ear, staged as “garden in hell.”

I don’t quite have the nerve to paint my doors black ( I know, Joni, I know) but giggle with delight at Vreeland’s red door which reminds me neither of the church of Arden or the Church of England.  In the article Vreeland reminisces on her home in Brewster, New York, “It had one pink door, one blue, one yellow.  And I had a ball getting each color just right.  The painter did the samples fourteen times.”  

This little tablescape of shells makes a happy home for the coral necklace with the jade clasp.  It does seem many of Vreeland’s things were gifts including many of the Scottish snuff horns with silver tops and cabochons.  Seems folks would catch wind of what she liked and her collection would grow “one by one.”
For a different view of the apartment do check Jennifer Boles at the Peak of Chic here.  Style Court’s Courtney Barnes has a terrific post on one of Vreeland’s portraits and Aesthete’s Lament has captured some of her wisdom here
All images House & Garden, May, 1988.  Photography by Oberto Gili except the image of Vreeland in grey, which is by Priscilla Rattazzi.  Interior design by Billy Baldwin.  Also, there were similar pieces of Staffordshire at Suzanne Cooper’s (45th & State Line) when I stopped in last week.  Suzanne is transitioning into semi-retirement and much of her inventory is greatly reduced.
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16 thoughts on “The Devil is in the Details

  1. Exactly, the “devil is in the details” and to have a ball, being tempted – certainly adds to the fun of the work.
    Now good luck finding the right shade for your doors.
    Show us the fun.

  2. Patricia — what an early morning treat. I’m really enjoying pouring over the pictures with your personal commentary to guide me.

  3. Glad you are all enjoying her space. Kathleen – I did paint the front and back of my front door black and then one interior door that leads from the front hall to the kitchen. And I love it. The next step is the mullions in the kitchen, but this does call for a professional as mistakes with black paint would not be worth the cost of correction.

  4. Fabulous post, Patricia! I enjoyed it so much!! Vreeland was one of a kind…….so mysteriously chic!….I love the staffordshire ….love the layers too; I could just gaze and gaze upon them!

  5. wonderful post…. now you have me re-thinking the colors for my yet-to-be-painted doors. My double entry doors were already red……hmm.

  6. I love the grey sweater and trousers she’s wearing.

    And love the cuff bracelets. I used to have a collection of gold bracelets that I’d collected over many years. They were bumped and battered. Then they were stolen. It still causes me great pain to think of them.

  7. You just never knew what was going to come out of her mouth. She would say just anything. No one ever called her on it. She made pronouncements, like PINK being the NAVY BLUE of India. She was fantastic. Look at her hands. She had a face that could make a train take a dirt road, but she had young and slim, elegant hands. Look on You tube under Diana Vreeland for some interviews. She rather sounds like Lauren Bacall. There will never be another, that’s for sure.

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