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I remember standing in the living room of our house in Rye, New York, when my father first told me that he had purchased Fortuny from the Countess. For some reason, he waited two years before choosing an otherwise ordinary day to share this news. He was standing, as he so often does, holding his glasses on a stack of papers in his hand. “I don’t know what I am going to do with it,” he told me.
I had no idea what I was talking about, but with that air of bravado that most sixteen-year-olds possess, I answered, “Whatever you do, you can’t sell it,” not yet knowing of his promise to the Countess. “You will never have an opportunity like this again for the rest of your life.” Although I couldn’t tell you what we were wearing or what time or day it was, I vividly remember exactly where we were standing and how these words spilled out of my mouth without hesitation or a moment of thought. It didn’t even cross my mind that one day I might work for Fortuny, let alone run it with my brother. What I did know was that Fortuny was something very special, a rare and magical treasure as unique as Venice itself. I had no idea what this would mean at the time, but up there with being born, getting married and having kids, I cannot think of anything that has had more of an impact on my life.