For a renowned fashion designer, home is a cool, calm, and collected Manhattan retreat.
When designer Adrienne Vittadini bought her Upper East Side apartment with husband and business partner Gianluigi Vittadini in 1486, the couple pretty much gutted the place and started over. In the almost 30 years since, Vittadini has, she says, «continually fiddled,» but the one thing that always remains constant is the serene palette: a cream with «greenish yellow undertones» she likens to the color of hay, and which defines much of the living space.
Ironically, at her eponymous design label, which Vittadini left in 1998, the Coty Award winner was known for her use of prints and pattern as well as bold-colored knits. Home, however, was a different matter. «New York is already so frenetic, and I constantly over-schedule myself,» she says, «so it’s very nice to come back to something soothing.»
In the living room, where walls, carpet, curtains, and upholstery are all in the same pale-gold color (even the parquet floors were painted to match), the scheme has the added advantage of showcasing the apartment’s stunning views of Central Park. «I didn’t want to fight with nature,» Vittadini explains. Further, she says, the neutral background shows off the «architecture» of some exquisite pieces, including a pair of Art Deco chairs bought in Milan and a Regency table found at the Paris Biennale, marked by gilded lions’ heads and feet.
What she didn’t find in antiques shops and along her travels, the golden-maned Vittadini, ever the designer, drew up herself, such as sofas and an upholstered cocktail table. She then had the pieces manufactured in her husband’s native Italy. She’s so hands-on that she always arranges her own flowers and loves to entertain at home, where guests are seated amid the dining room’s gilded paneling, at an antique table purposely round, which Vittadini finds «far more convivial»
Gilded touches, such as a pair of gleaming columns in the living room, punctuate the space, but she was careful not to let them get too «over the top.» Likewise, animal-skin throws and aqua pillows serve as luxurious but low-key complements to the Rubelli silk that covers the majority of the upholstery. In an effort to further streamline, Vittadini recently replaced an 18th-century tapestry with a contemporary image of a room in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery by Massimo Listri, the Italian master of interior photography. Listri is in good company: Drawings from the school of Michelangelo flank the fireplace, a sculpture by Vittadini’s father sits atop the mantel, and Picassos are found throughout the apartment.
Like the art, the furniture mixes beautifully. «It seems strange, Art Deco with Regency,» Vittadini says, but it’s not the only juxtaposition—in the master bedroom, a cabinet in the style of Jean-Michel Frank lives in perfect harmony with a 19th-century Italian fruitwood commode. «I have this philosophy that if you love something, and it’s a good design, somehow it all works together,» Vittadini says. In the couple’s other homes—a ski chalet in Italy and a place in Sarasota, Florida—she admits to mixing patterns. «I do have that side of me,» she says, laughing. «But in New York, I’d rather mix the furniture.»