MY LIFE, MY STYLE

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents -

De­signer Gabriela Perezutti Hearst.

Thun­der­ous clouds hang over New York City when I ar­rive at Gabriela Perezutti Hearst’s Westvil­lage town­house, but in­side, ev­ery­thing is serene.the stat­uesque de­signer greets me makeup-free, her short blonde hair slicked back, and we set­tle down with camomile tea in the bright liv­ing room, where strik­ing works by the Ar­gen­tine artist Diego Gravi­nese hang on the wall. This is where Hearst un­veiled her epony­mous fash­ion la­bel in Fe­bru­ary last year, with an el­e­gant col­lec­tion of mod­ern, min­i­mal­ist pieces crafted in the most ex­quis­ite fab­rics — stiff twill capes, struc­tured mel­ton-cloth coats over flo­ral-printed chif­fon dresses, and chunky knits soft­ened by del­i­cate lace pan­elling.the en­tire de­but was snapped up there and then by Jen­nifer Sun­woo, the wom­enswear mer­chan­dise man­ager at Bar­neys Newyork.

It may sound like be­gin­ner’s luck, but Hearst’s cre­ativ­ity shone through from an early age. Born into one of Uruguay’s old­est ranch­ing fam­i­lies, she grew up on an es­tan­cia sur­rounded by horses and gau­chos. She re­mem­bers watch­ing Walt Dis­ney’s Cin­derella when she was six years old and tak­ing the scis­sors to her grand­mother’s col­lec­tion of hand­made silk and lace gowns. “I was try­ing to make my own princess dress like the birds and the mice in the film,” she says.“i was cap­ti­vated by the power of clothes to trans­form you.”

This fas­ci­na­tion led her to Europe and a short-lived ca­reer as a model. “My look was Blade Run­ner an­drog­yny in the era of the Brazil­ian bomb­shells,” Hearst re­calls. “And, at 21, I was al­ready too old — in mod­el­ling terms, you’re a se­nior cit­i­zen.” Two years at act­ing school in New York fol­lowed — “my best per­for­mance was con­vinc­ing my gau­cho fa­ther to let me go” — and she has fond mem­o­ries of her time at the Neigh­bor­hood Play­house learn­ing the Meis­ner tech­nique and tak­ing dance classes with Martha Gra­ham. “I knew I wasn’t go­ing to be an ac­tress, be­cause I just wasn’t good enough,” she says. “But we learnt to dig for truth­ful­ness in a per­for­mance, and that has shaped me, be­cause I’m al­ways look­ing for au­then­tic­ity in ev­ery­thing I do.”

Even­tu­ally she got a job at a de­signer show­room, and, real­is­ing she had a knack for it, launched a luxe bo­hemian line, Can­dela, with two busi­ness part­ners and a col­lec­tion of maxed-out credit cards. “my dad was like, you ei­ther make this work or you’re com­ing back to sell cat­tle with me!” she says. Over 10 years, she turned $900 of seed money into a fully-fledged com­pany, with fans in­clud­ing Diane Kruger and Alessan­dra Am­bro­sio. But it wasn’t enough. “Gabriela Hearst came from my de­sire to make things with qual­ity, high-end fab­rics,” she says of her name­sake la­bel. True to her roots, the brand mar­ries fem­i­nin­ity with a rugged prac­ti­cal­ity — her latest col­lec­tion, for re­sort 2017, in­cludes cus­tom rose-gold hard­ware in the form of minia­ture stir­rups, shirts with folk­loric sleeves, red her­ring­bone em­broi­dery and sturdy stack-heeled boots.

Sub­tle nods to her Latin Amer­i­can her­itage can also be seen in the warm and wel­com­ing home she now shares with her hus­band, Austin Hearst, an en­tre­pre­neur who, among other pur­suits, serves as an ex­ec­u­tive at Hearst Cor­po­ra­tion and a trus­tee for Save the Chil­dren. They met in Buenos Aires and bonded over a love of horses. Austin spent his childhood sum­mers rid­ing on a 33,000-hectare stretch of oak-stud­ded land tucked along Cal­i­for­nia’s Santa Lu­cia Moun­tains known

The de­signer GABRIELA PEREZUTTI HEARST mixes Latin Amer­i­can in­flu­ences with el­e­gant min­i­mal­ism in her Man­hat­tan home. By LUCY HALFHEAD Pho­tographed by FRANÇOIS DISCHINGER

as Hearst Ranch. On their wed­ding day, at New York City Hall in April 2013, the bride wore a short blush Valentino dress with eye­let lace over beige rid­ing boots, and then, in June, at a party for 244 guests at the Amer­i­can Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory, she opted for Dior cou­ture.

The cou­ple moved in two years ago after a ren­o­va­tion project in which they fash­ioned a li­brary to house first-edi­tion books by Mark Twain and James Joyce, and in­stalled a fam­ily-friendly me­dia room in the base­ment, com­plete with a pop­corn ma­chine. Hearst found out she was preg­nant on the day she started de­sign­ing her de­but Gabriela Hearst col­lec­tion — 18-month-old Jack is her first child with Austin. She is also mother to eight-year-old twin girls Mia and Olivia, and step­mother to Austin’s two older chil­dren from pre­vi­ous mar­riages, so it was im­por­tant to cre­ate a home to suit their blended clan. “it’s very strange for me to bring kids up in a city,” she says, adding that she hopes to re­place the hot tub left by the pre­vi­ous owner with a flour­ish­ing veg­etable garden.

That’s not to say the house is any­thing but im­pec­ca­ble. “Nor­mally, it’s pris­tine,” she says. “i’m very strict with or­der.”

The six floors ex­hibit a per­fectly cu­rated mix of fam­ily heir­looms, Cire Trudon can­dles and vin­tage fur­ni­ture from 1stdibs and ebay, while even in the twins’ bed­room, the toys are lined up sym­met­ri­cally on the iden­ti­cal pink canopied beds. The sec­ond floor is ac­cented by an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of Latin Amer­i­can art, in­clud­ing fig­urines by Fer­nando Botero and colour­ful sketches by Julio Alpuy, and there are photographs at ev­ery turn, show­ing Austin’s grand­fa­ther Wil­liam Ran­dolph Hearst with Win­ston Churchill and JFK, and her mous­ta­chioed fa­ther on horse­back.

Since cre­at­ing her la­bel, she has rarely felt the need to wear other brands, but a rum­mage in her wardrobe un­cov­ers Stella Mccart­ney jack­ets, dresses from Sa­cai and Comme des Garçons, and vivi­enne west­wood pieces. “i also love valentino — if I was go­ing to get a gown, it would al­ways be Valentino,” she says. Her main shop­ping habit is vin­tage jew­ellery, and she has also in­her­ited gems from her mother-in-law, a for­mer muse to the de­signer Charles James, in­clud­ing the Vic­to­rian di­a­mond-and-ruby ring she is wear­ing to­day. “for cen­turies we’ve adorned our bod­ies with stones,” she says. “It’s an in­ex­pli­ca­ble hu­man at­trac­tion.” But hav­ing lived in New York for 16 years now, Hearst ad­mits the main in­flu­ence on her style is the city it­self. “when I dress it’s like a power play be­tween be­ing com­fort­able and look­ing sharp,” she says. “i’ve be­come the ul­ti­mate ur­ban war­rior.”

Gabriela Perezutti Hearst at home in New York wear­ing Gabriela Hearst dress, $2750, and shoes, $980; her own neck­lace. Sit­tings ed­i­tor: YETY AKINOLA

Gabriela Hearst shirt, $1050, skirt, $2445, and boots, $1960. Left: at her ranch in Uruguay. Be­low, from left: with daugh­ters Mia and Olivia; pho­tos of her fa­ther and daugh­ters.

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