Inside the Memorable Homes of Jack Lenor Larsen, Pierre Cardin, and Stella Tennant’s Legendary Grandmother
Pierre Cardin’s Refurbished French Chateau
Perched atop a hill and overlooking a Lubéron valley sits a French chateau with an epic pedigree. Once owned by the Marquis de Sade—an infamous figure who lived during the 18th and 19th centuries—the castle was auspiciously purchased and restored by the legendary fashion designer Pierre Cardin. “A friend, an artist, told me, ‘Pierre, you must buy the castle,’” Cardin, a pioneer of mod style, recalled to Architectural Digest in August 2007. “I was taken by a certain enthusiasm and encouraged by the marvelous view.”
That view notably includes land that was once part of Roman France. But despite this ancient history—and Cardin’s own talent for designing curvilinear furniture and decor items—the castle’s furnishings skew somewhat traditional, and at times, almost toward the Ancien Régime.
“I wanted to keep it as though, at a distance, it hadn’t been touched,” Cardin reflected. As writer Joseph Giovannini observed at the time, the couturier spoke these words while wearing “sensible black shoes, khakis, and a plain plaid shirt under a casual blazer.” Clearly, more country fare than an ensemble fit for a stroll down the Champs-Élysées.
The Famed Estate of Stella Tennant’s Grandmother, The Duchess of Devonshire
In obituaries following model Stella Tennant’s sudden and early demise, much has been said of both her androgynous looks and aristocratic background. That background can be traced to Tennant’s grandmother, The Duchess of Devonshire, and to the remarkable estate in which she lived. (Named Deborah but called Debo by her family, the duchess was the youngest of the famed Mitford sisters.)
Located in Derbyshire and occupied by the family of Tennant’s maternal grandfather since the mid-1500s, Chatsworth is an architectural wonder. The estate, which includes grounds designed by revered landscape architect Capability Brown, has been the subject of not one but three dedicated Architectural Digest features. In December 1979, the duchess reflected to the magazine, “You enjoy looking after a place you love.” Five and a half years later, in June 1985, she penned an essay of her own about the ancestral home. Finally, in November 2007, the magazine visited residence once it had been passed on to her heirs.