was just standing there, and he walked up to me,” fashion entrepreneur Tamara Mellon recalls of her first encounter with Hollywood mogul Michael Ovitz, in 2011. “We were at a business conference in Aspen, and he said, ‘Are you Tamara Mellon?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ and he said, ‘I would like to take you for a private drink.’” Ovitz’s bold strategy worked. “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s direct!’ But he was the only guy there without a potbelly and old-man pants on – he was wearing nice jeans, looked pretty fit, and had nice teeth. So we went out.”
Four years, many more private drinks, and one enormous diamond ring later, Mellon and Ovitz are a larger-than-life super couple, juggling their respective businesses between Mellon’s home base in New York and Los Angeles, where Ovitz’s giant, ultra-sleek mansion in Beverly Hills doubles as a quasi-exhibition space for his world-renowned art collection. As Mellon learned quickly after their introduction, Ovitz’s razor-sharp eye extends far beyond his taste in jeans. One of Hollywood’s best-known talent agents, he has personally represented Barbra Streisand and David
1918. Letterman, and he cofounded Creative Artists Agency in 1975. Ovitz built a career on his uncanny ability to spot opportunities for his clients, and he has an equally impressive knack for hunting down great art. Over the past three decades, he has amassed hundreds of landmark modern and contemporary pieces, including major works by Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Adolph Gottlieb.
Mellon first visited Ovitz’s art-filled compound in the fall of 2011, a few months after they met. “I was like, ‘My God, you did all this? How did you find the time?’ It shows that he has patience and perseverance like you wouldn’t believe,” she says. Befitting its contents, the 35,000-square-foot structure is larger than many wellrespected museums. Composed of polished, sculptural plates of stainless steel and tucked among sweeping lawns like a gleaming silver lake, it was completed in 2009 after 10 years of meticulous planning. “At first, I’d get lost in there, especially at night when the lights were off,” says Mellon. “If I wanted to get a glass of water, I’d end up in one of the galleries instead of the kitchen.” Otherwise, she felt right at home, and with
The stainless steel exterior of the house, designed by architect Michael Maltzan, captures
the pool’s reflection.
Gown, Carolina Herrera.
Tamara in the sitting room beneath Picasso’s Arlequin Assis Jouant de la Guitare, Top; skirt; and shoes, all from Tamara Mellon. Bangles, Etro.