To begin, the book was announced by a beautiful mailing—a kind of brochure—featuring the book cover and snippets of the best photos for a mini-peek as to what would be inside the actual book, Fifth Avenue Style. Of course, there was an invitation to celebrate the book’s debut.
The book itself arrived in exquisite paper that matches paper similar to what’s inside the double-folded, extra sturdy jacket cover. Great attention to detail. The wrapping paper was secured by a gorgeous gray ribbon whose ends had been snipped pennant-style. The care taken toward presentation is what you would expect from someone who thinks about minutiae and concentrates on all the things that add ambiance and sensory style to an object of importance. The photography by Tria Giovan is impeccable. The pictures are, of course, museum quality.
Howard Slatkin has got to be Type-A personality: a gilt lover, a moulding fanatic, a fabric wielding expert, a bias relief aficionado, a light inspired master, a plaster finish freak, antique wall enthusiast; an expert in trays, toile, and florals; a candle maven, an aesthetic when it comes to sconces, a finial devotee, Chinoiserie collector, a texture and "embellished" textile designer, a flamboyant iconic art collector, an OCD organizer, and a man of good taste—no, great taste—and I say this with love. There are the rich and then there are the very riche. Slatkin knows the finer things in life; he loves and skips through over-consumption and over-abundance with what the French call, “joie de vivre”, with a flair unparalleled.
He has taken and procured for his own the very best of Russian, Asian, Chinese, French, Italian and Dutch masters in the arts, furnishings, and case goods of the past. He displays the best of the classics. Should Louie the XV of France or Napoleon be alive today—they would commission Slatkin for their palace overhauls.
“One should not be hired to dust the Slatkin residence, lest they go mad.” -Andrea
Some of his most clever ideas in the apartment are “jib” doors covered in wallpaper, with art securely hung on the doors that seamlessly blend in with the walls and as a consequence, hide closets and wet bars. His penchant for loving and recreating the finest art painting techniques such as plaster work, trompe l’oeil, faux bois marquetry and ornate panels, along with gold and silver metal hooks, finials and unusual door knobs is masterful. His taste is so high-end, it puts Horchow to shame. He follows his passions and even has a “scent room” that houses hundreds of candles—and we can only imagine what a sensory visit to there would be like. His own personal clothes closet would make the Housewives-of-Where-ever extremely jealous: they are color coordinated with stacks of fine shirts and shoes not even Barneys can duplicate. He even has cards depicting his china patterns in order to make the dishes more accessible at a glance.
Slatkin is in good hands with Vendome Press. Each page is framed like fine art. The endpapers are sketches of the apartment resembling an elaborate blueprint, only embellished and detailed.
One could spend many many weeks discovering the finely decorated rooms—and more time yet, deciphering what real collectible treasures look like. At sixty dollars ($60 US) the book is a bargain and I am still wondering how this went to press so inexpensively. This is an extraordinary book that a designer can look at and marvel at with each viewing. There is not a museum anywhere that rivals this style of living. Howard Slatkin is a genious and someone who has made his private dreamworld into a fantastical lifestyle.
Fifth Avenue Style by Howard Slatkin, Photography by Tria Giovan; The Vendome Press, (how did he get the publication details on the last page of the book?); ISBN 978-0-86565-289-7, Retail: U.S. $60/Can $70
Here's a link to more information about the book: http://www.vendomepress.com/fifth-avenue-style/