BART’S LOOKBOOK: With a little nudging from his friend Aimee Bell, who is Vanity Fair’s deputy editor, Bart Boehlert has penned a memoir “How I Look.” In addition to his day job as senior writer, special projects at Ralph Lauren, Boehlert types away for his blog, Bart Boehlert’s Beautiful Things. While the first few chapters are fairly family-oriented, the style-centric Amazon book has some memorable vignettes. He recalled racing around town chauffeuring Perry Ellis in the designer’s bottle green Jaguar, and then in between drives assisting Isaac Mizrahi, Richard Haines and the rest of Ellis’ design team. Boehlert noted how Ellis and Laughlin Barker had two Fire Island houses – a summer one on the ocean side and a winter one on the bay. So gilded was Ellis’ eye, he once told Boehlert he liked his previous Jaguar better because the line around the back seat windows had a more graceful curve.
Recalling his days working at Bergdorf Goodman, Boehlert described how customers “simply gawked” at the sight of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. “Women just stopped dead in their tracks…I had never seen anything like it in New York,” Boehlert wrote. The author himself had a petrifying moment with the former First Lady years before when his hung over self crossed the finish line of a three-mile road race on Martha’s Vineyard only to barrel over in dry heaves and then find Onassis standing by looking horrified.
More enjoyable was Boehlert’s recollection of roaming through what had been years before the Goodman family’s expansive apartment including maids’ rooms behind the kitchen on the store’s ninth floor. (A maintenance worker had offered the tour of the empty dwellings on a whim.)
Boehlert, who also worked for Conde Nast, detailed an interview with Polly Mellen in her South Kent, Conn., home where a big bed encased by glass doors offered a breathtaking view of the rolling hills, garden and pool. “This is where Richard Avedon lay down and said, ‘Now I know where I am going to have my nervous breakdown,’” Mellen told Boehlert. Aside from describing how she became “the spoiled brat of the fashion world,” Mellen told Boehlert about her Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue years under Diana Vreeland. “I was in love with Mrs. Vreeland, no doubt about it…I just ran to work. Truly. Which I continued to do until I was the oldest sittings editor in the world. I was still running to work.” she said.
As for his own house, which he shares with the graphic designer and artist Ted Dawson, Boehlert noted following Slim Keith’s decorating advice, namely that every seat in a room should have a light for reading and a place to put down a drink. He also references his garden guru pal Rebecca Cole’s belief that when planting containers mix three kinds of plants in three different size pots and arrange them close together for a natural garden. Whatever the course of action in search of signature style, Boehlert advises, “pursue your own path which is yours and your alone.”