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Understated Elegance: Lady Vivien Greenock  

Chalet Espérance: The Collection of Jill and John Fairchild, Gstaad  

For most of the 20th century, it was Europe that affluent Americans looked to when seeking aesthetic guidance for their interiors, and the post-war period imported a style that, to this day, continues to charm and evolve with contemporary décor.  

 The English Country House, trademarked by a mix of period furniture, faded chintz and brilliantly painted walls, has animated generations of designers, with masterful pattern play and comfortability set firmly at its foundation. The English Country House that we recognize today was popularized after World War I and the 1929 Wall Street collapse, a sobering time when the “make-do” attitude was a part of the collective conscious. Lady Sibyl Colefax, a London society hostess known for her exceptional taste and nonchalant approach, began decorating in stark contrast to the rigidity that dominated stately English homes. Several years into her venture as a decorator, Sibyl Colefax brought on John Fowler, a young talent and highly knowledgeable in the areas of upholstery, paint, and wallpaper, as well as the history of interior design and architecture. The firm name, Colefax & Fowler, as it remains today, has evolved through the cannon of interior design with a roster of influential directors such as Nancy Lancaster, Tom Parr, George Oaks, and David Green, as well as elite talents such as Lady Vivien Greenock.  

Lady Vivien Greenock, whose career started in Colefax & Fowler’s Ebury Street showroom, quickly rose in the ranks to become Tom Parr’s assistant and the youngest partner in the firm, and eventually head of her own team as Senior Director. After 27 years at the firm, Greenock would set off to develop her own eponymous business on London’s stylish Pimlico Road. In the spirit of her predecessors, Nancy Lancaster and Sybil Colefax, Greenock has continued the legacy of understated elegance designing for world socialites, powerbrokers, and tastemakers, as well as maintaining an under-the-radar marketing strategy. Greenock’s spaces are defined by her unmistakable finesse and, as she would put it, a layering process that results in an “undecorated” look that appears as if the client has put everything together themselves, like she had, “never been there.” As is the case with Chalet Espérance, the Alpine home of Jill and John Fairchild located in the Swiss mountains of Gstaad. Like their New York City and London residences, the Gstaad interior holds the same charm and comfort that is Greenock’s hallmark. Fresh, bright neutrals are tied together by botanical motifs and objects collected over a lifetime of travel. The classic English country house design is mingled seamlessly with beautiful woodwork that typifies the chalet aesthetic to create a welcoming family retreat where the Fairchilds spent winter and summer holidays. Our upcoming auction, Chalet Espérance: The Collection of Jill and John Fairchild, Gstaad on Wednesday, May 17 at 11am offers a glimpse into their rarified and luxurious life. Highlights in the sale include furniture from the Regency through Biedermeier periods complemented by a large selection of exquisitely upholstered furniture. Decorative art highlights include porcelain by Lady Anne Gordon and silver by Christofle. 

Time & Location

Chalet Esperance: The Collection of Jill and John Fairchild, Gstaad on May 17 at 11am

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