What are some of the most common errors people make in decorating? In life generally?
Hmmm, I’m not sure about others, but I guess not being true to yourself and not being voraciously curious. Curiosity is what broadens my mind. There is nothing more satisfying than studying and discovering. So the single greatest mistake I could make decoratively or in any other domain of my life would be to say that I know all I need to know and that nothing better than what I have seen already is ever going to come up.
If you could teach a child one thing, what would it be?
The profound and absolute respect for life.
What and who do you most abhor?
Cruelty. And I abhor any one who places fanaticism before open-mindedness, acceptance and goodness.
What and who do you most love?
Music on par with harmony. Any one who tries to understand someone who is the most opposed to himself.
What are your greatest sources of anxiety? Of bliss?
My greatest sources of anxiety are human stupidity, which is on par with religious fanaticism, as well as violence and disrespect. My idea of bliss is being with the one I love, petting my dogs in my library and listening to Bach.
Who has been your most important client, and why?
Maybe there are two kinds of important clients. The first kind makes you famous for no other reason than that they themselves are fabulously rich and famous. The second kind, are the ones who make your aesthetic vision richer and therefore become a factor of growth professionally and personally. It is obvious that Sir James Goldsmith belongs to the first kind and to some extent the second as well. But to the second kind Amy Fine Collins, Beatrice Stern, Cecile David Weill truly belong, as well as a few others, ladies of extremely refined personal tastes with whom I was able to have aesthetic conversations, through which I, we, could elaborate into something purely their own, something new to me and very specifically fashioned for them. The result was original, different from my own personal vision and ultimately quite enriching to me.
What would you say distinguishes your work from that of your colleagues?
I am really not sure. We all work differently, neither better or worse. We all have our own specific clientele and try to do the best possible work for the specific needs of those whom we work for…
How essential is a decorator for a client with developed taste?
Again it all depends on how one works. I always listen, try to understand, discover and ultimately help them make choices. A brilliant idea is only brilliant if it works in the particular space a person lives in. One can have perfect taste in loving all things French of the 18th century, but if one lives in an American country house or a Mexican villa, rigidly applying that particular refined and elevated taste will only give atrocious results. My job is to make things work so that it gives substance to the aesthetic dreams of the person I am working for. I am not sure that a decorator is essential. Maybe it is only useful. Maybe we all become enablers of our clients…