HTSI editor’s letter: Hollywood comes home
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Luca Guadagnino’s world is one in which I would happily reside. OK, yes, the emotional repressions and unspoken truths of his cinematic oeuvre might be something of a challenge (not to mention the Grand Guignol of some of his more gory films). But I wouldn’t give a fig about the horrors if I could live within his sumptuous walls. From the quintessentially Italian interiors of Call Me by Your Name (set in Lombardy), to the glossy splendour of Pantelleria, which forms the backdrop to A Bigger Splash, Guadagnino’s filmic universe is a parade of exquisitely observed scenarios, painstaking in their detail and yet totally believable on screen.
The first exhibition of his design studio at Salone del Mobile last April has consolidated his side hustle as an interior designer of international repute. The practice has already designed fashion sets, retail spaces and private residences among other things, and for this autumn’s design special, Jackie Daly interviewed him in Milan. It’s interesting to discover how living as a child in Ethiopia informed so much of his visual thinking, as well as his passion for such classics as Lawrence of Arabia. And although the director may not have such a relentless aesthetic as directors like Wes Anderson or Woody Allen, there’s something about the tone of his projects that identifies them as being emphatically his own.
Belvoir Castle has played host to many film crews – recently it featured in The Crown. The ancestral seat of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, in Leicestershire, Belvoir is unusual in that it remains in private hands. It also contains a rich archive of antique wallpaper, fragments of which have galvanised recent restoration of the suite known formally as the Howard Bedroom. The commission, a collaboration between de Gournay and Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, has offered us an opportunity to examine the house’s history to discover how a refit might work cohesively with the existing rooms. Harriet Quick tells the story in an interview with the Duchess, Emma Manners, while Maureen M Evans shoots the castle in a truly resplendent light.
As a counterpoint to so much richness and colour, Diane Keaton’s debut textile collection with S Harris is almost entirely monochrome. Like Guadagnino, much of Keaton’s taste has been informed by the movies, although one could argue that her strictly mono style was instilled in her at birth. She talks to Cara Gibbs about her foray into fabric and her obsession with collaging and moodboards, as well as – hurray! – her love of magazines.
I’m also delighted to unveil homeware brand Abask, the latest project from MatchesFashion co-founder Tom Chapman and his business partner Nicolas Pickaerts. The first project undertaken by Tom since he sold a majority stake in Matches in 2017, this new venture takes him into a familiar and yet very different realm. An ecommerce business that will launch with some 2,000 pieces from 105 brands and evolve as they develop new products for different rooms, Abask will feature some of the great design names past and present. Victoria Woodcock goes to Milan to talk to the business partners and get an exclusive preview of the range.
And lastly, cocktails – because the most immaculate interiors deserve to be served with something similarly pleasing to the taste. On the publication of her new book, The Cocktail Edit, Alice Lascelles offers a foolproof guide to building an at-home cocktail cabinet, the bottles with which you should stock your trolley and which tools you need to mix the perfect drink. She also encourages you to play fast and loose with her recipes and suggestions: cocktail hour is all about the experiment. Cheers!
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