EDI­TOR’S LET­TER

Architectural Digest (UAE) - - Contents -

Be­fore my ca­reer took a turn to­wards in­te­ri­ors and de­sign, I was a fash­ion edi­tor on a glossy men’s magazine. Each sea­son I would head to Paris and Mi­lan to dis­cern the lat­est tai­lor­ing and sports luxe style trends. It was a bian­nual whirl­wind, a mer­rygo-round of shows, de­sign­ers and cities. I thought I had left the mad­ness be­hind me when I moved into the seem­ingly calmer world of de­sign. How wrong I was. I still pack up my bags and leave Dubai for de­sign weeks in Lon­don, Mi­lan and Paris sev­eral times a year, and I still know what’s trend­ing — only now it’s sofa sil­hou­ettes, wall fin­ishes and the lat­est smart home tech­nol­ogy.

Fash­ion brands have long used awe-in­spir­ing in­te­ri­ors to daz­zle their cus­tomers, from the grand cou­turier sa­lons of 1920s Paris to the evoca­tive lifestyle pho­tog­ra­phy of Nineties print ad­verts from the likes of Ralph Lau­ren. High fash­ion houses like Ar­mani, Ver­sace, Fendi and Mis­soni have max­imised on their sar­to­rial style cre­den­tials to create fully-fledged home­ware ranges, and as high street fast fash­ion brands like Zara and H&M get in on the act, the prospects for other es­tab­lished de­sign­ers to add in­te­rior items to their of­fer­ing has be­come more at­trac­tive and more achiev­able.

Much like fash­ion, the de­sign world has been dis­rupted by on­line re­tail­ers, and is sim­i­larly skewed through an In­sta­gram lens. Our homes are now a back­drop to nu­mer­ous por­traits of our lives, and there has been a cor­re­spond­ing move­ment by fash­ion brands to take ad­van­tage of this. If the av­er­age per­son doesn’t spend as much on con­spic­u­ous fash­ion any­more, then lux­ury brands are pro­lif­er­at­ing their al­ter­na­tive of­fer­ings — most no­tably home­wares.

In this, our fash­ion is­sue, we revel in the new world of fash­ion-led in­te­rior de­sign and prod­ucts. Gucci has cre­ated mod­ern mas­ter­pieces un­der the stew­ard­ship of Alessan­dro Michele, whose home decor range is ev­ery bit as sump­tu­ously dec­o­ra­tive as the clothes he sends down the run­way. Read Stephen Doig’s re­port on the Guc­ci­fi­ca­tion of the world in our new Style sec­tion, which also fea­tures a port­fo­lio of this sea­son’s most di­rec­tional wom­enswear looks, shot against the back­drop of Dubai’s most fash­ion­able new in­te­rior.

In con­trast, our Port­fo­lio pages are brim­ming with ex­am­ples of en­dur­ing style, from the Château de La Colle Noire, Chris­tian Dior’s beloved home in South­ern France, to An­gela Mis­soni’s quirk­ily colour­ful home, which acts as a gath­er­ing place for four gen­er­a­tions of the fash­ion dy­nasty. Then there is the time­less rus­tic­ity of He­lena Christensen’s week­end re­treat in the Catskill Moun­tains, where our cover star es­capes to un­wind. Christensen has sus­tained a ca­reer as a model and an ac­com­plished pho­tog­ra­pher for over three decades, which un­doubt­edly has as much to do with her out­look on life as her tal­ent and ethe­real beauty. She gra­ciously wel­comed the AD Mid­dle East team into her home and prof­fered some in­spir­ing ad­vice on how to achieve a work-life bal­ance in our un­ceas­ingly dig­i­tal age. Read my can­did in­ter­view with her on p. 103. The abridged ver­sion? Fash­ions fade, style is eter­nal.

ON THE COVER SU­PER­MODEL HE­LENA CHRISTENSEN IN HER UP­STATE NEW YORK ABODE. PHO­TO­GRAPH BY MARK C. O’FLAHERTY

1. He­lena Christensen's idyl­lic home in the Catskill Moun­tains (p.103) 2. The su­per­model in a 1990 Chanel cam­paign pho­tographed by Karl Lager­feld (p.52) 3. In­ter­view­ing Christensen 4. Hal­ima Aden mod­el­ling mod­est fash­ions for a land­mark ex­hi­bi­tion (p.48) 5. Boucheron Lierre de Paris neck­lace (p.61)

5. Chris­tian Dior's for­mer home the Château de La Colle Noire (p.112) 6. VP Globe by Verner Pan­ton (p.40) 7. Ho­lika ring by Cartier (p.60) 8. Pea­cock lounge chair by Verner Pan­ton

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