” There are several things about the apartment that accord well enough with anybody’s expectations. Of course the “garden in hell” turns out to be neither remotely hellish nor particularly horticultural. But quite aside from the flamboyant scarlet-flowered cotton of the walls and curtains of the living room, there is undeniably an abundance of the color red: red carpets, red-lacquered doors, closet linings, and picture frames. True to form, when Vreeland consented to have her rooms photographed for the present article, she threw in a couple of quotable remarks for good measure. “Anyone who can photograph this place would find the Sistine Chapel a cinch,” she says. “It was all done in 1957, and even then it was already a period piece.”” I want my apartment to look like a garden: a garden in hell!” ” – from Architectural Digest september/october 1975 issue
The painted leather screen in front of the living room bookshelves was acquired by Vreeland’s parents on their European honeymoon. Fabric on walls and furniture is from England. The needlework pillows on the sofa with playing-card motifs were made by Vreeland.
Peonies spill over a writing table on one side of the living room. Among the treasured photographs and personal memorabilia on the table is the picture of a cat that once belonging to the French novelist Colette. Two sketches by Christian Bérard hang on the wall, one of Vreeland herself.
In the bedroom the silk-printed scarf lying on the blanket cover is where Vreeland’s shoes and handbag are laid out in the evening. Wall and curtain fabric, the same pattern as the one in the living room, but a different color, was made in Spain.
The bed, originally designed by Syrie Maugham, is reflected in a Louis XVI mirror over the dressing table. On the table are perfume bottles, family pictures and a photograph of Vreeland’s late husband in a red-lacquered frame.
Text by Valentine Lawford |Photography by Champion Pictures