I was invited to the second Annual Lyford Cay Design Weekend, to interview the photographer and film maker Bruce Weber, who was showing his short movie on Elizabeth Taylor. Bruce is a friend and has photographed me since I was 18, normally wearing Ralph-esque clothes, in Ralph-esque locations, although he once he had me lying naked on a crocodile. Not very Ralph at all.
My great friend, Amanda Lindroth, is one of the founders of the Design Weekend. She was feeling somewhat overwhelmed as I arrived “This is going be the second and FINAL Design Weekend!” she announced, which I somewhat doubted considering they were oversubscribed, we were in The Bahamas and the sun was shining.
On the Friday evening British interior designer, Nina Campbell, gave a very energetic talk about her latest impressive decorating jobs in exotic locations, like deep China, where she brought her own Tetley tea bags and tried to avoid eating dog. Nina went onto America after the weekend to do a book tour “Well it’s not exactly a book tour” she told me “It’s more an anyone-who-might-turn-up-and-listen tour” Later she sent a photo of her famous heart shaped glasses, with one lens snapped in half “My heart is broken” she said.
After Nina’s talk it came to interviewing Bruce but I was passed a last minute message ‘Bruce does not want to be interviewed, can you simply introduce him?’ As one of the preeminent photographers of the fashion industry Bruce Weber hardly needs introducing so I stood like a lemon, before a packed room, fumbling through a story of Bruce photographing an elephant and trained butterflies.
At dinner I sat next to designer Hutton Wilkinson who presents a competing collection of bedding for HSN. We delighted in sharing HSN war stories but Hutton looked at me in disbelief when I described my collection of sheets, 100% cotton, simple designs, soft color pallets “Poor Darling” he said “My sheets are 100% satin, in emerald green, with lots of embellishments but if you sleep on them in silk pajamas you need to wear a seat belt or else you slip out of bed” Hutton pointed out his wife of 36 years sitting at a next door table “Oh” I said, slightly surprised “Do you have children?” “Oh no my dear, I chose chandeliers over children”.
On Saturday 250 guests were let loose on golf carts to snoop around several homes who had graciously opened their doors. Interesting interiors but you weren’t allowed to open any cupboards. So disappointing.
That night Newell Turner, who holds the very grown up job of Editorial Director of the Hearst Design Group, hosted a panel of designers, impressive ones, like madcap Mary McDonald from Million Dollar Decorator, Miles Redd and David Kleinberg, who trained his eye with the great Parish-Hadley.
A fancy dinner followed where I sat between Newell and Alex Hitz, the chef and TV personality, who had developed and over seen our dinner, which of course meant I could not possibly have said anything rude about the menu.
I thought the below photo captured a moment of that design weekend charm. Amanda’s entrance hall, a master stroke of color, texture and scale and before you ask, no that’s not wallpaper, its pecky cypress. And yes I bribed Domino to sit there like that.