Friday, May 30, 2008

Dodie and Friends: Part II

As befitting someone who traveled extensively around the world, Rosekrans has accumulated a number of close friends over the years. Clockwise Left: Ann Getty, her frequent travel companion seen here in Dior couture, Chanel couture, and a Fendi dress; Dodie Rosekrans; Boaz Mazor, Oscar de la Renta’s right hand man for many years and a good friend; The Count and Countess d’Ornano, Countess Isabella d’Ornano has been a friend of Rosekrans for over 40 years; Rosekrans in her signature jewelry; standing next to Kenneth Jay Lane.

Ann Getty:

Married to Gordon Getty, the son of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, Ann Getty has been a key figure on the San Francisco social scene for over five decades as well as a seasoned couture customer; traveling twice a year to Paris for the collections. But although she appreciates the craftsmanship and time that goes into the making of couture garments, she is not as reverential when it comes to the shelf life of many of her pieces.

Unlike most clients who hold onto their haute couture purchases forever, Ann Getty tends to do the opposite. A surprising fact when one considers the number of Valentino, Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Chanel, Ungaro and Balmain (by Oscar de la Renta) haute couture she has worn over the decades as a client. "They are beautiful, but I consider them an important minor art," she has said. "They are clothes. You wear them and pass them along. I don't have any left in my closet."

Home for Ann Getty is a 50,000 sq. ft. mansion, which dominates the Getty compound. Nestled in the City’s Pacific Heights area, the sprawling estate also includes amongst its many amenities a recording studio and private Montessori school for the Getty children.

In recent years Getty has added the title of interior designer to her resume. A not so unusual career path when one considers that many of her couture purchasing contemporaries and peers, such as Denise Hale and Dodie Rosekrans, are also consummate collectors of fine art and furnishings. Buying couture is in essence only a small part of the fine art of living; one that includes an appreciation for the way unique things are made. In the same way couture customers understand the construction of many of their couture purchases, an equal amount of interest is lavished on the provenance of a piece of furniture, or the process an artist went through to complete a painting.

Despite this, Getty realized early on that it would be difficult for some people to take her seriously as an interior designer, when considering her $2 billion-plus fortune and a private 727 jet. "There may be the perception that I'm spoiled, have no sense of the price of things, that I just wouldn't understand a budget," she acknowledged one day in her dining room, which is lined with chinoiserie panels made in 1720 for the Elector of Saxony and furnished with commodes signed by Andre Charles Boulle, Louis XIV's ebeniste.

But the success of her design business, followed a few years later with a furniture line, the Ann Getty House Collection, has proved her critics wrong. The selling power of her furniture line is based on the fact that most of the pieces are either limited edition or quality reproductions of favorite items from her own collection.

Countess Isabelle d'Ornano:

The Countess Isabella d’Ornano and her husband are known for being surprisingly modest and down to earth. This despite being the founders of the haute skin care and perfume line Sisley, established in 1976, and boasting a lineage that can be traced back to several prominent aristocratic families (Her mother was the sister of Prince Stanislaus Radziwill who was married to Jackie Onassis’ sister Lee Bouvier).

The Countess is also known for her gracious manner, being soft spoken, an effortless sense of style and a glowing complexion (no doubt the best advertisement for any skin care line). Although she doesn’t buy as much couture today as she did in the past, she was a client at the houses of Balmain, Jean-Louis Scherrer, Louis Féraud, Guy Laroche and Per Spook.

Sisley was by no means the count and countess’ first venture in the cosmetics industry. His grandfather was a friend of Francois Coty, the most successful perfumier in the world at the beginning of the 20th century. He decided to go into business himself and named the company he founded after a forest near one of the family estates, Lancôme. That company was eventually sold, but the business has stayed in the family blood.

Their duplex apartment has been photographed countless times in publications and one can see why. Entering the d’Ornano’s Paris home is like stepping into a whimsical world. As a series of 18th Century parquet covered rooms open up onto each other, what is revealed the a kind of intriguing mix of ancient, 18th Century, and modern furnishings that one usually accumulates through inheritance or years of travel. There are colorful snails running up the walls and onto the ceiling in one room, while a cut crystal chandelier hovers over a bronze table holding primitive art, not far from which lies a modern lamp on the floor.

The house seems to be a subtle nod to the d’Ornano’s themselves, who have always tried to balance their classic and aristocratic backgrounds with a contemporary lifestyle. Thus the apartment itself is less a showpiece than a repository of family memories. For it was here that the count and countess brought up their four children, all of whom are grown up but still connected to the business in some way. It’s also a reminder that despite their aristocratic bearing the d’Ornanos actually work for a living and lead full lives.

Dodie Rosekrans maintains a close friendship with the Countess and her family; even going so far as to site Mina Poe as one of her favorite places to shop in Paris. Located at 19 Rue Duphot, the tiny upscale boutique, selling everything from shawls to bejeweled slippers, is run by the Countess’s daughter-in-law.
© THE POLYGLOT (all rights reserved) CHICAGO-PARIS

No comments: