Robert Murphy is an antiques dealer specializing in twentieth-century decorative arts and a journalist. He was formerly Paris correspondent for W and Women’s Wear Daily and his work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Details, the International Herald Tribune, and other major publications. He lives in Paris.
Photographer Ivan Terestchenko is an internationally renowned photographer whose work has appeared in several books and in W, Casa Vogue, World of Interiors, Elle Decor, and Architectural Digest.
“As he did with fashion, Yves seized at one moment in time, a taste that was in the air, only to show his mastery. During the 1970s exoticism and Marrakech were currents in the air and St. Laurent became the authority. He was interested in Art Deco before it became fashionable, even before Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfeld . . . St Laurent’s and Bergé’s taste is an expression of a culture and is always a story. When they decorated a house it was no longer an ordinary house: it became a story to tell.”–Jacques Grange
“Some of the most influential interiors of our time.”–Town & Country
“(A) beautiful glimpse into their private world.”–Habitually Chic
“A visually stunning book about a richly layered lifestyle built over the course of 40-plus years.”–Home Design with Kevin Sharkey
“(An) amazing book.”–Decorati Access Interior Design Magazine
“You’ll agree that this is a book with which you will be enchanted. And if a little of that YSL flair rubs off on us, all the better.”–The Peak of Chic
~ Clear “In this lavish volume, the eight splendid homes . . . are presented in immaculate detail.”
“The Private World” is divided into eight chapters. The first is a 12-page analytical essay on the philosophy that guided Saint Laurent’s and Berge’s residential designs, while the remaining seven are each devoted singly to three homes in Paris, a work studio in Paris, a seaside house in France, and two homes in North Africa. These seven establishments are generously dealt with by photographs that cover exterior and interior spaces, full-room sweeps and focused close-ups of individual objects. Some of the seven locations and specific rooms have appeared previously in design magazines and other books. Still, the sum of the images offered here is stunning in revealing the care and resources that Saint Laurent and Berge devoted to collecting, decorating, and simply creating extraordinary backdrops for their lives and dreams. Overall then, it is fair to say that the book is an ode to the wondrous extremes to which a cultivated French taste for antiquities, modern art, and even adapted stage settings can go.
What limited text is offered in this otherwise ambitious book sets the scene for understanding what inspired Saint Laurent’s and Berge’s tastes and sensibilities, but one wishes for so much more. This desire for additional material is most strongly felt in looking at the individual residences, especially the villa at the seaside resort of Deauville. Here, for example, I longed for a great deal more information regarding the influence of Marcel Proust on the main house and Leon Bakst on the dacha. (That material is better handled, in fact, in the two chapters that Christiane de Nicolay-Mazery devotes to the Deauville property in her “French Interiors: The Art of Elegance.”) One wishes too that the publishers of “The Private World” had taken the time to eliminate the many typographical, grammatical, and syntactical errors found throughout the book.