For my dear readers who love high society and fashion photography, the name Slim Aarons might not be strange to you, one of the renowned American photographer who excels at capturing high society scenes for luxury lifestyle magazines, from socialite and celebrities to express their ultimate luxury living in their residence, exuding the stylish jet-set lifestyle throughout the 60s to 70s, his photography work has been one of my favorite also, as an inspiration to my personal work. Given the chance to recreate that scenerio in 21st century, to finally revisit southern France once again, I have found an ideal place to do so, that is, the most beautiful Villa et Jardin Ephrussi de Rothschild.
Located in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, one of the most sought resort destination for rich and famous, also as one of the ideal residential location for elite and the affluent, Villa et Jardin Ephrussi de Rothschild is literally like a shining diamond on this Cote d’Azur peninsula. A former residence of Madame Béatrice de Rothschild, an affluent and glamorous daughter of Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, one of the most prestigious family member that are very successful in the banking sector (and other business sectors too such as winery), she later got married with a successful and talented banker Charles Ephrussi, this beautiful villa represents the sumptuous and tasteful lifestyle of Madame Béatrice, as well as her passion of pursuing beautiful things and put them together in one place, her very own private mansion, one can simply feel the refined elegance of Belle l’Epoque, and the reflection of her constant appreciation about luxury lifestyle when you were spending your time there.
As a passionate art collector, Madame Béatrice is very conscious on every single detail of building this magnificent villa, not only she was very hands-on throughout the building process, from the furniture and décor to wallpaper, she also showed her consciousness of the environment that surrounded this beautiful residence of her, the garden in particular, has also become a crucial part of this residence that reflects her love about mother nature, the beauty of mingling the oceanic Riviera chic with greenery and flowers, splendid fountain work and display, to me, it feels like something that I can found from the gardening work by André Le Nôtre.
To experience the sumptuous lifestyle and vision of Madame Béatrice, one needs to take a look to a couple of impressively decorated rooms in this villa, the grandeur of the Grand and small salon for instance, have a close-up to the luxurious upholstery and furniture, replicating the imperial splendor, sumptuousness and magnificent that truly reflects the passion and love of her pursue on beauty. Then step into the Baroness’ apartments, the luxurious boudoir that exudes the elegance of Belle l’Epoque, thanks to the luxurious detail that selected by Madame, from the neo-Pompeian wood paneling, to the exquisite lady’s writing desk, which made by the official cabinetmaker to Marie-Antoinette, which truly reflects her tasteful and profound love of excellence and craftsmanship, all these details and setting are impressively preserved very well even until nowadays.
When it comes to my favorite spot, one should not miss the most beautiful Balcony of the mansion, where you can oversee the entire garden in the most favorable position above with no obstacle blocking your view, the magnificent atmosphere, thanks to the regency style details and the high ceiling, I simply can’t resist to just do an afternoon tea here with a few good friends, dress nicely with my super polish and preppy attire – maybe my favorite powdery grey suit (or a light blue seersucker jacket with a pearl cream trousers), a crispy white shirt and a satin grey tie, then a pair of polished black leather shoes, that is exactly where you can capture the most sumptuous scene like the one that Slim Aarons did but it’s real and literally by yourself.
Besides the regular opening for public visits, this beautiful villa also caters private reception and wedding banquet, adding extra magic to make your special occasion much more memorable and surreal. (of course, prior reservation will be necessary)
If Madame Béatrice is still here nowadays, I truly wish that she can tell me a lot of things about style and beauty, her aesthetic and passion (which apparently her standard is skyrocketing high), or at least, having a sublime afternoon tea together and enjoy the beautiful sunny afternoon in Riviera, with one of my favorite tune for my visit there – ‘Theme from a summer place’ by Henry Mancini.
Image courtesy of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.