The Fashion Weeks may be over, but this week I find inspiration in the homes of some of the industry’s most illustrious designers. These are truly iconic private residences belonging to fashion personalities both alive and dearly departed, where function falls far behind fabulousness. But if fashion is all about aspiration and fantasy, then why shouldn’t the most creative minds of the ages live in a fairytale setting?
Ever since my first visit to Marrakech I think I left a piece of my heart in the Villa Oasis. The fabled home of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé was transformed into a veritable cave of wonders fit for a sultan by designer Bill Willis back in the 1980s. Ornate tiled floors, carved plaster columns and wood paneled bedrooms with intricately hand-painted traditional Moroccan motifs are just some of the more basic features. And let’s not forget the Majorelle Gardens, a calm enclave of flora to trump all not-so-secret gardens.
Following Gianni Versace’s untimely death in 1997, the Casa Casuarina — which has enjoyed several incarnations, most recently as a boutique hotel — is now under the same ownership as the stylish property Hotel Victor. Admittedly it will take some guts to inhabit the overly blinged-out colonial villa, simply dripping with gold, velvet, mosaic and marble; it seems one can’t escape the iconic Versace medusa and her hypnotic gaze. But it does occupy one of the most coveted plots in Miami’s South Beach.
In addition to a “modest” real estate portfolio including properties in Rome, London and uber-glam Gstaad, Valentino Garavani — better known as The Last Emperor of haute couture — spends much of his now retired time at the palatial Château de Wideville, just a stone’s throw from Paris. Once the residence of one of Louis XIV’s mistresses, the castle was more recently re-imagined in rich Chinese-inspired décor and has been the perfect setting for many a decadent soiree, including the 2011 Love Ball.
As the adage goes, sometimes you have to go beyond dreaming it — you have to live it.