Do Not Disturb

Overview

Gianni Versace's unbridled enthusiasm for the baroque finds new expression in Do Not Disturb, his playful peek behind the closed doors of the Versace homes. Versace's Garden of Eden is found at home - be that a stuccoed Ottocento pavilion fronting the Lago di Como, a sumptuous home office in the center of the fashion capital, or an Art Deco pile in South Beach. Versace's Adam and Eve might well be Sylvester Stallone and Claudia Schiffer, modestly shielding themselves from our view with a Gorgon-headed dinner ...
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New York 1996 Hardbound. VG-/Good+, wear along foot edges and corners, DJ has torn edges, minor loss in places, and adhesive from label removal on back cover. Ah, naughty ... Gianni! The front cover of Do Not Disturb shows Versace himself in a Renaissance pose, wrapped in a sumptuous silk quilt; what you can't see on this page is the back cover, on which a nude Claudia Schiffer, hair snaking around her beautiful shoulders like a Teutonic Medusa's, gives you a come-hither stare as she toys with the same strategically placed quilt. Versace, before his untimely death in 1997, had perfected the art of living voluptuously, and these photographs--about half of which include perfect, mostly naked people romping gleefully through the sybaritic surroundings of Versace's various homes (in Milan, Miami, and Lago di Como)--are a testament to his great ability to elevate the beautiful to icon status. For its sheer, amazing gorgeousness, this may be the most wonderful (and one of the most poignant) lifestyle books of the l Read more Show Less

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June 1996 Hardcover nf/nf Quarto. 271pp A near fine copy in an equally nice dust jacket. In an archival mylar protective wrapper.

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Possible retired library copy, some have markings or writing. May or may not include accessories such as CD or access codes.

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314, 324 1996 Hardcover First Edition; First Printing Very Good in Very Good dust jacket Hardcover. 4to. Abbeville Press. 1996. 269 pgs. First edition/First printing. Some light ... shelfwear to the DJ top and bottom edges. Dot on the bottom edge of the pages. Book is free of ownership marks. Text is clean and free of marks. Binding tight and solid. No wear present to the boards. 314, 324; 1.07 x 13.26 x 9.94 Inches; 269 pages. Read more Show Less

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Hardcover. 4to. Abbeville Press. 1996. 269 pgs. First edition/First printing. Some light shelfwear to the DJ top and bottom edges. Dot on the bottom edge of the pages. Book is ... free of ownership marks. Text is clean and free of marks. Binding tight and solid. No wear present to the boards. 314, 324; 1.07 x 13.26 x 9.94 Inches; 269 pages Read more Show Less

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Overview

Gianni Versace's unbridled enthusiasm for the baroque finds new expression in Do Not Disturb, his playful peek behind the closed doors of the Versace homes. Versace's Garden of Eden is found at home - be that a stuccoed Ottocento pavilion fronting the Lago di Como, a sumptuous home office in the center of the fashion capital, or an Art Deco pile in South Beach. Versace's Adam and Eve might well be Sylvester Stallone and Claudia Schiffer, modestly shielding themselves from our view with a Gorgon-headed dinner plate. His vision is translated through the lens of the world's most accomplished photographers - Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, and Massimo Listri - and illustrated with a cornucopia of drawings and pastels by Karl Lagerfeld and Gladys Perint Palmer. Sir Roy Strong, a former Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, contributes a stunning text to match the visual feast.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789201133
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Pages: 269
  • Product dimensions: 9.94 (w) x 13.26 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Green Thoughts by Roy Strong

The elegancies of the garden were reborn in Italy, one of the fruits of the civilisation of the Renaissance. There the villa life of ancient Rome was recreated as men began to emulate the lifestyle they had read about in the letters of Pliny the Younger, whose two villas at Laurentum and Tifernum Tiberinum were surrounded by gardens. These spread out from the villa to embrace the domain around by way of porticoes and gracious colonnaded pergolas, paved terraces and paths forming a network along which the owner and his guests could stroll sheltered from the hot sun. But these gardens were not only for exercise and conversation but also places in which to eat and for social intercourse, for the garden was scattered with little pavilions and marble seats. Diners in Pliny's Tuscan villa had their repast to the cooling sound of music cascading nearby into a marble basin. Trees and shrubs were orchestrated to form avenues and amphitheatres, box was sculpted by the topiarist, roses and violets in abundance provided both colour and fragrance, and everywhere nature was transformed by the hand of art to give the visitor every sense of pleasure and delight.

The design dialogue between house and garden is central to the Renaissance tradition as it was to fan out across Western Europe in the coming centuries before the English landscape style replaced it. Up until that revolution house and garden were as one and indeed both were the domain of the architect and the designer who cast them as a unity. The interior of the house was a series of roofed compartments for living in. Equally the garden fulfilled that role, although its rooms remained open to the sky bringingthe beauty of transformation by the play of light and also by the transmutation of the seasons. Both made use of perspective to bring the parts into an ordered whole. That, however, went further, for house and garden were bound too by making use of the same repertory of decoration and pattern. That found inside the house, for instance, on marquetry, embroidery, metalwork, plasterwork, furniture or porcelain would re-echo motifs from the garden. The same swags of flowers or baroque scrolling on a textile would articulate the composition of a parterre. Colour in both house and garden too formed a dialogue moving from the muted palette of countless shades of green and brown, which acted as a backdrop, to the brilliant accents in red, yellow, blue and purple scattered across it.

The garden has the added richness of the seasons. Winter reveals a garden's bones in terms of built structure in the way of sculpture, buildings, evergreens and trees. Spring, when Nature stirs to new life, begins to clothe this with the first flush of leaves and flowers endowed with a luminous freshness. Summer, when the garden is fully clothed, is like an aristocrat en grande tenue, luscious, abundant, flaunting its floral jewels in all their glory. And then the party is over and autumn signals its swansong in a final elegy of golds and ochres and browns, and calls not only for the exercise of the imagination but also those of patience and tranquillity. A house can be instant. A garden never.

The horticultural inheritance at the Villa Fontanelle on Lake Como was a splendid one, for it had been planted a century ago in the naturalistic English manner with superb specimen trees, some of whose branches sweep downwards to touch the waters of the lake. The land rises sharply at the back of the villa, access to it being by means of winding paths and flights of steps which ascend up its rocky surface and from which trees soar upwards and down which mountain streams gush. Those waters have proved a great gift to the garden, for they have brought animation in the form of a grotto, cascades and a fountain. But when I first came a decade ago these elements looked tired and lay like some Sleeping Beauty to be awakened. I recall sitting by the faded dusty parterre, which stretches out like a carpet beneath the façade which faces the lake, making some scribbles suggesting what might be done.

On the next visit our bedroom window was flung wide and Gianni Versace said, "There, Roy, is your garden." Well, that was not quite true because it was Versace's garden transformed by the application of his own imagination. In the years that have followed I have watched that garden change and grow. White lilies arise from a sparkling fountain in the midst of what is now an immaculate parterre, but they have multiplied with others added beneath two other façades. Medusa wall fountains spout water framed by an ivy clad arcade in the centre of which Neptune wields his trident against a curtain of cascading water. Everywhere statues have sprung up and a small army of gods and goddesses now people the hillside. Urns bearing trophies of glossy clipped box add punctuation marks to walks or march along the balustrade next to the lake. A river god reclines amidst ferns presiding over a sinuous floorscape of baroque scrolls etched in pebbles and verdant turf. One sees the classical taste which animates the interior of the villa spill out through and across the garden. One witnesses too in the vivid swathes of purple pansies or pink begonias which fill the parterres Versace's unashamed delight in the controlled use of strong colour.

A couple of years ago he asked me to do another scribble, this time for his palazzo in Miami. I tried to cram too much into it, for it is quite a small courtyard and its main feature was to be a swimming pool. But I recall drawing patterns in pebbles to look down on from the upstairs windows, including the famous Medusa head, and exhorting him to think of the Villa d'Este in terms of wall grottoes and spurting water. From photographs I can see that he has listened, for here is a place of fantasy, the walls and floor encrusted with pattern in natural materials which catch the light, glinting and gleaming in response to the movement of the sun and to the play of the jets of water in the pool. I seem to be contemplating some Renaissance grotto, mysterious, hidden and secret and yet the sunbeds tell me we are in the 1990s. Pliny would have approved.

The courtyard garden of Versace's Milan palazzo has been transformed too. There is always a special place in my heart, however, for the little triangular roof garden which opens off Versace's apartment from the library. It is its very simplicity which appeals. Two lemon trees stand sentinel as you pass through the doors into the terrace. A small collection of antique fountain heads lines a treillage wall which soars upwards covered with sweet smelling jasmine. There's a little arbour engulfed with climbers forming a tiny alfresco dining room. Huge terracotta pots with clipped box balls within them line the balustrade which looks down into the courtyard. Here on a warm summer's evening the delights of the villa are brought in microcosm into the heart of a great industrial city, offering calm and serenity. Water trickles, the air is fragrant and, as the light fades, shadows softly fall and for a magic moment the villa has come to the town, rus in urbe. What more could any man want?

Author Biography: Sir Roy Strong is a forner Director of the British Museum and the author of numerous architectural studies and monographs.

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