06 February 2014

the CLASSICIST: Perry Ellis

By now we can easily spot a Classicist. in dress- in how they decorate their homes.

True to form-the late- and great, Perry Ellis is one text book Classicist-with a caveat -for him it came with great ease-nonchalance- and aplomb. There was nothing studied-or staid in his aesthetic-in his work, or at home.

While we read about studied simplicity-and there is that-it's work, and a valid way of doing things, I return time and again to Perry to study the real thing.

In his Westside brownstone Perry Ellis chose the Classics. An antique French marble fireplace and a romantic floral firescreen at left, were featured in his front parlor.

From The New York Times book of Living Well, we find glimpses of Perry Ellis's home-and it's no surprise  to see antiques-a number of them having belonged to his parents, and an eighteenth century quilt on a poster bed. According to John Duka who wrote the notes on "Perry's Place," Ellis treated his furniture as he did his friends-with great respect. The house was brought up to date in a more modern way (his clothes too), but that privileged edge of the Classic dominates.

Perry regarded his collection of antique furniture as "good friends to be cherished."

A 17th century French writing table stands in contrast to white walls alongside a well worn wing chair.
 An 18th century yellow damask settee and grand piano complete the room.

Perry's clothes were right at home. There's an affinity. Style. Ease. Authenticity. 

Ellis with ease, modern pieces are mixed in the Dining Room. 
A cylindrical table base with a glass top sit on  a Persian carpet, and a portrait of Ellis hangs over a expansive floating console

Born and bred in Virginia, Perry carried that patrician DNA with him .
"My house reflects the things I grew up with."  That DNA had a slant on it-as did his clothes.

Authoritative but fresh.

"High ceilings, wood paneling, space."


  1. Gaye a truly great Fashion Designer. I love the image of Perry with his dog!
    The Arts by Karena

  2. Such a comfortable and easy to live in home. I think his dog is a basset hound (or PBGV?), love watching them, they've such a sober demeanour and then suddenly a big goofy grin!

  3. One of the truly great designers. A sophisticated and deceptively simple style. Thank you for reminding us all. XXX

  4. Great post. I lived in NYC when Perry was at his height and most amazing. I still wear one of his navy blazers from one of those collections to this day. The fabric is like nothing you have ever seen, but so subtle that only an expert eye would know....the hand is amazing. I could shoot myself for giving away the sweater from the same collection that was cabled yet had no seam....amazing feat of genius. I hope it ended up in a Goodwill bin and budding design student found it and treasures it! xx.DT

  5. Thank you very much! Firstly a lovely, informative post, secondly I have tried to figure our what I don't like when it comes to photos, and you gave me the word: studied, as in the opposite of effortless. You quite made my day:)

  6. I miss this kind of style and these kind of interiors. I think Perry Ellis was the first designer anything I ever saw in person as a kid. But hanging plants over a wooden staircase-this is a bad idea.



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