Inside the Maximalist Mansions of a Countess

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put that on

It all started, as so many partnerships do these days, on Instagram. Last summer, Lizzie Fortunato, the jewelry designer and co-founder of the eponymous accessories brand, posted a photo in which she wore a Demylee sweater with a “messy neck”, as it refers to the tangle of necklaces that she wears often. . Spotting the label, New York-based Korean-born knitwear designer Demy Lee herself sent a direct message suggesting they are collaborating, and the founders — with Fortunato’s sister and business partner, Kathryn — were leaving for the star races. The resulting three-piece capsule collection includes a mustard-colored short-sleeved sweater with a rhinestone chain sewn along the crew neckline as an integrated necklace and Shaker stitch. cotton cardigan compensated with large candy-colored resin buttons. The third item, a white cotton button-up shirt with hammered gold studs, has special meaning for Fortunato, as it was inspired by the Demylee shirt she wore when her husband proposed to her. Each of the tops is casual enough to wear with jeans while adding a little something extra to an outfit. But don’t hold back, says Fortunato, from adding even more sparkle. From $225, lizziefortunato.com.


Natalie Sytner’s love of Italian motifs dates back to her childhood trips to Tuscany and Sicily, during which she followed her parents as they “made friends everywhere and found all kinds of gifts. and amazing ceramics and objects”, some of which would end up on the walls of their family home in London. In 2021, Sytner, a former fashion publicist, launched Bettina Ceramica, a line carrying a charming mix of Italian ceramics that she named after her Ligurian mother. Rather than simply stocking traditional pieces, Sytner partners with multi-generational makers to give their archival styles a contemporary twist, whether by updating the color palette, scale or enamel. – wavy-edged fruit bowls from Chianti and folk-inspired ceramic lamps from Apulia, for example, come in fresh, bright white – and thus help maintain endangered traditions. The fourth-generation Venetian artisan whom Sytner commissioned to make a series of colourful, hand-painted acquasantiere, the wall-mounted holy water fonts traditionally found at church entrances, was stunned when the international customers have exhausted the collection; the outdated style hadn’t sold in his shop for years. “It brought that whole part of his business back to life,” says Sytner. Starting around $53; bettinaceramica.com.


read it

For maximalists who have been subjected to the myriad of white walls and minimalist blonde wood interiors of the last decade, a balm in book form: “What a Beautiful World!”, comes out this week and is co -written by Christiane de Nicolaÿ-Mazery of Christie’s France, is an in-depth look at the interiors of Countess Isabelle d’Ornano, co-founder of French skincare line Sisley Paris. It was the Countess who designed the company’s spas across Europe, as well as its Paris headquarters and her own homes in London and France’s Pays de la Loire region (her Paris apartment, which also appears in these pages, is the exception — the Countess decorated it with French interior designer Henri Samuel nearly five decades ago). The rooms featured offer a unique and sumptuous mix of rich colors, dizzying patterns, carefully crafted pieces of craftsmanship – d’Ornano has an affinity for baskets – and works of art. They feel even more specific to her thanks to the ubiquitous family photos and needlepoint pillows she’s made all her life. “The atmosphere of home isn’t just created by beautiful things, it’s created by the way you live,” says d’Ornano, who suggests paying attention to the real estate element most often overlooked in n any room, the ceiling: in the Quai d’Orsay apartment, large snails by the sculptor Jean-François Fourtou climb up and down, as if sliding towards the house. $85, sisley-paris.com.


look at this

“The mind works through me,” responds photographer Ming Smith when asked how she is able to sense the exact moment to take a picture of someone on the street – just as they walk into the light, say. , and their expression always changes so slightly – so that the resulting image seems frank but definitive and deeply intimate. Smith has been creating such images since even before the 1970s, when, bolstered by a debate over whether or not photography is an art she had overheard while on a modeling assignment, she found herself focused on taking black and white photos of everyday people in her Harlem neighborhood. Soon after, she started applying oil paint to some prints to improve their mood. Eight previously unseen painted images appear in “A Dream Deferred”, an exhibition of Smith’s work at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London. In one, an elderly woman sits pensively in a restaurant as if reflecting on the past, and wistful blue streaks reminiscent of clouds appear above her head. Also on display are vintage gelatin prints from Smith’s “Invisible Man” series (1988-91) – its title refers to Ralph Ellison’s novel – for which she photographed her subjects at night, often without flash and at slow shutter speeds. Yet even when blurred and shrouded in darkness, the characters are impossible to miss. And while the show’s title comes from another work by a writer adept at illuminating black American life, Smith herself fulfilled a dream of her father, who wanted to be an artist. “A Dream Deferred” is in place until April 30 houldsworth.co.uk.

“I don’t try to make genderless shoes as much as I design without gender in mind,” says Sunni Dixon, who launched her New York-based shoe line, Sunni Sunni, in 2019 after years of hearing that men’s heels weren’t commercially viable. “If it’s hot, it’s hot. And I will try to offer it in your size. Indeed, Sunni Sunni’s styles, including square toe mules with a bold chain and colorful heeled boots with an embossed python print, are available in a full range of sizes for both men and women. But Dixon isn’t the only designer making heeled or embellished shoes to fit wider feet these days. Soon after her New York brand, Suzanne Rae, launched shoes in 2017, designer Suzanne Rae Pelaez began offering size-inclusive velvet Mary Jane heels, Italian nylon mesh low-heeled pumps, and rich suede peep-toe sandals. Parisian designer Ieva Juskaite created the unisex line JiiJ last year, after struggling to find shoes in her size and taste; she now makes futuristic boots and chunky silver heels out of Frumat, a vegan leather made from apple skins. And then there’s the Brooklyn-based Syro line, which was co-founded in 2016 by Shaobo Han and Henry Bae with the goal, according to the brand, of “confronting the authority of heteronormative masculinity and creating a space to celebrate the joy of women”. For proof of that intent in practice, see the brand’s curved-heel boots or its shiny chrome platforms with a 5.5-inch heel.


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