BEIGE HAMPTON: This month’s record rainfall has been a fairly dreary kickoff to the summer season, with many East Enders spending more time inside their homes than on the beach.
But Hampton Retreats, a company launched this year by real estate entrepreneur Brad Zackson, has improved the appearance of some homes in the New York resort area by hiring interior designer Carlton Varney to put together a package of all the amenities one might find at a luxury hotel, such as Frette linens, Ecru and Avancé bath and body products, and colored candles and scarves of Varney’s own design. Considering the homes represented by Hampton Retreats have a minimum value of $1 million, with weekly rents starting at $6,000, a little good taste shouldn’t be out of the question.
Still, the proposal took Varney by surprise, considering as president of Dorothy Draper & Co., the oldest established design house in America, he is known for having designed Jimmy Carter’s White House, The Greenbrier and The Fairmont Hotel, and was Joan Crawford’s decorator for 20 years. Providing a tasteful design package for homes he has never seen, where the owners lock their belongings up in a closet for the summer, was an unusual request.
“I never thought this would happen,” Varney said. “Brad came to me and wanted me to provide the same look as you would get in a hotel. To me it was far out. None of these houses are designed in a Dorothy Draper scheme. Each one is different and I’m not a beige person. They come to me for magical color. My natural is a watery turquoise blue.”
But Zackson is spending money, buying reams of Frette sheets in every size from twin to a California king, neckrolls and European square pillows for the beds, even the blankets, placemats and napkins, which will be delivered by trucks to the various homes — whether the traditional shingled beach houses or modern day McMansions —and picked up again for cleaning and service the next week.
As Zackson often told Carter on decorating decisions, “I’m not into the politics of this. I’m only the decorator.”Varney avoided the topic of whether the kind of clientele Hamptons Retreats would be targeting would really appreciate his level of taste.
“I don’t want to get philosophical,” he said. “I think from the point of view of taste, there isn’t good or bad, there’s only taste. Somehow, your decorator has become a label. It’s a talking point like a Valentino dress. Decorators have become like labels, and that gives you entree.”
Besides, he said, the only thing one really needs for a good weekend in the Hamptons is “the right partner.”
“It’s never any good without the right partner,” Varney said. “Somebody, for which no other reason, who is enjoyable. Forget the money part, just make sure they’re fun.”
POETIC HARDWARE: Inga Sempé, a rising French talent in industrial design, finds beauty in functional objects, be it a doorknob or a potato peeler. One of her most talked-about designs is a “brush” bookcase designed for Edra: a metal frame entirely covered with synthetic bristles through which one slides the hand to get the books.
“I wanted to make something that is open and closed at the same time,” said Sempé. “It’s perfect for people who are disorganized.”
She’s also winning raves for a pleated lamp she did for Cappellini. Sempé, whose work is on exhibit through Sept. 14 at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, was born with creativity in her blood and has already won a prestigious young designer award from the city. Her mother is an artist and her father, Jean-Jacques Sempé, is known for his illustrations, having created many famous covers for The New Yorker.
CASTING COUCH: Vladimir Kagan’s sleek and sculptural furniture designs have seduced the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper, Tom Ford, Donna Karan and Giorgio Armani. But only now, at 75, has the German-born, New York-based Kagan truly cracked the tough French market.
Furniture retailer Roche-Bobois recently asked him to play guest designer. The result, unveiled recently in Paris, is a curvaceous couch with a removable wool cover, and a glass coffee table. Both will go on sale for $8,600 and $1,968, respectively, at most of its 148 European stores and its 35 U.S. stores by the end of the year.But what to put on the table? Why, the designer’s new autobiography, of course. Kagan said he expects to finish penning “The Complete Kagan” later next year.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews