Reggie Out & About: Friday, April 11, 2014

Reggie Out & About: Maureen Footer’s George Stacey Book Signing Party at Brunschwig & Fils

As many readers of this blog well know, Reggie has a penchant for attending book signing parties, particularly ones that celebrate the authors of beautiful design books.

Last night he attended one in honor of Ms. Maureen Footer and her just-published book, George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic.

The party was held at New York’s D&D Building in the gorgeous new showrooms of Brunschwig & Fils.

The party was very well attended by members of the design communities and friends of the author.

Ms. Footer is one of the most cultured and lovely people I know.

She was exquisitely turned out for the party, beautifully coiffed and bejeweled.

She is one of the nicest people in New York, where she sits at the helm of her eponymously named decorating firm, Maureen Footer Design. She’s clever, amusing, and elegance personified. And yes, Dear Reader, she is very chic.

Furthermore, Ms. Footer is highly intelligent, classically educated (she is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds advanced degrees from Columbia University and École du Louvre), and has an engaged and curious mind. While she is firmly rooted in a rarefied world of beauty and refinement, her boundaries stretch far and wide, and she is eager to take in new experiences and explore new places and ideas. I feel supremely fortunate to count her as a friend.

She is, in a word, divine.

Joining Ms. Footer at the party was His Eminence, Mr. Mario Buatta. He wrote the foreword to her book. They have been friends for many years. I like Mr. Buatta, and I find his droll company amusing and thought-provoking. They broke the mold on that one, Dear Reader.

Reggie is very pleased to have had his copy of George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic inscribed by both Ms. Footer and Mr. Buatta.

After paying his respects to Lady Footer and His Eminence, Reggie went on a search for a drink and to check out the Brunschwig & Fils showroom, and also to see who else was at the party. He is happy to report that the event was well supplied with wine as well as tables laden with cheese, delicious cured meats, and tasty nibbles. Everyone appeared to be having a delightful time.

Two of the first people Reggie came across that he knew were Ms. Dolly Lewis and Ms. Amanda Walker, Boy Fenwick’s talented and fun assistant designers. Reggie is very fond of them both.

In touring the Brunschwig & Fils showroom, which takes up a large portion of one of the floors in the D&D Building, Reggie came across a delicious tented room that caught his fancy. He learned that the tables in it had been piled high with copies of George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic. They flew off them during the party. The young woman sitting on the banquette was there to take orders for copies to be sent later by Potterton Books. You can order one for yourself, Dear Reader, from Rizzoli USA, the publisher of the book.

I’ve had my copy of George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic for over a week now. It is beautiful to look at and chock full of marvelous photographs and drawings of Mr. Stacey’s chic interiors and their aristocratic inhabitants. But it is much more than a pretty coffee-table book. Unlike so many decorator books that are rolling off the presses these days, Ms. Footer’s treatise on George Stacey’s work is a scholarly, deeply researched, and thoughtful exploration of the designer, his importance to the field, and his influence on subsequent generations of decorators to this very day. With the publication of Ms. Footer’s book, George Stacey is finally getting his due, and his estimable place in the world of modern-day decorating is now realized. I expect George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic will become an influential source of inspiration for those in the field for many years to come. It certainly deserves to be.

I highly recommend that you add a copy of Ms. Footer’s book to your library, Dear Reader. I am confident that you will find yourself returning to it again and again, as I have done in the short time I’ve owned it.

Turning around I was pleased to find and speak briefly with Mr. Mitch Owens before he slipped out the door for another obligation. I am delighted to know him and will always owe him a debt of gratitude for the marvelous story he wrote about our house when it was featured in Architectural Digest, where he is the Decorative Arts & Antiques Editor.

And who should I come across next, but Mr. James Andrew, of What Is James Wearing? fame. I often see him at such parties, and I always enjoy stopping and speaking with him. He is very amusing and a pleasure to talk with.

I am happy to report that the new Brunschwig & Fils showroom stays true to its origins, with much of the fabrics on display colorful and patterned. The place was flowing with chintzes, toiles, and printed fabrics, each one of them more beautiful than the next. Thank goodness the new owners of Brunschwig have not turned the venerable fabric house into yet another promoter of beige boringness.

Reggie throughly agrees with what the Miss Prescott character in the movie musical Funny Face famously instructed her magazine’s readers to do, which is to “Banish the beige!!”

Of course I had to take a photograph of this gilt Louis XVI-style fauteuil, covered in Brunschwig’s iconic tiger-patterned silk velvet. Scrumptious!

I next came across Ms. Laurie Scovotti, who used to work for Boy Fenwick as an assistant designer before moving to Chicago. I’m glad to report that she has moved back to New York. It was fun catching up with her at the party.

I also enjoyed meeting and chatting with Mr. Jeff Petre of McKinnon and Harris. If you are not familiar with the company’s estate, garden, and yacht furniture, I suggest you check out their website. I first came across McKinnon and Harris’ outdoor furniture more than twenty years ago and have aspired to owning it ever since. It is exquisite.

There were any number of people that I stopped to speak with at the party but did not photograph. Reggie is not, after all, a professional photographer or recorder of such events, Dear Reader, but rather a happy-go-lucky participant in the fun of the social swirl. I was pleased to run into Mr. Brian Sawyer at the party. I first met him many years ago shortly after he arrived in the city when he was an associate at Robert A. M. Stern. He has since gone on to become a celebrated architect and landscape designer.

Everywhere one turned at Brunschwig there was something to delight the eye. I loved the Venetian blown-glass chandelier in the preceding photograph.

I next stopped and spoke with Ms. Ashleigh Rich and Mr. Jonathan Tait, shown above. I initiated the conversation because I was wearing what was virtually the same outfit as Mr. Tait, of an orange Hermes tie, a blue-and-white checked shirt, and a navy blazer. Ms. Rich works for Kravet, the parent of Brunschwig & Fils, and Mr. Tait works at Scully & Scully. I enjoyed meeting them, and found them charming and fun.

The showroom is arranged as an enfilade of rooms, each one more elegant than the other.

Peeking my head into one of them, whom should I come across again but Ms. Dolly Lewis, Ms. Amanda Walker, and Ms. Laurie Scovotti, Boy Fenwick’s current and former assistants!

Mr. Boy Fenwick himself soon arrived, and the four of them started flipping through the wings of lovely fabrics on display.

The five of us then decided that dinner was most defintely in order, so we retired to the nearby Canaletto Restaurant, on East 60th Street, where we had a jolly time of it indeed.

Ah, what a wonderful few hours I had last night, and how fortunate I am to have such an accomplished friend as Ms. Maureen Footer to celebrate and a bevy of others to join me in doing so!

George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic
by Maureen Footer with a foreword by Mario Buatta
Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.