July 24, 2015 |
Simple pleasures, an incredible career, and an unwavering determination to bring Diana Vreeland's legacy to life all add up to Alexander Vreeland at the beach.
Early morning swims at Gibson Beach in Sagaponack, yoga, and tending to his extraordinary trees with meticulous care are just a few of Alexander Vreeland’s favorite things to do on the East End. This summer he is also excited about Daringly Different, the newest addition to his Diana Vreeland Parfums Collection, which will be celebrated at Figue in East Hampton on July 24. “The beauty industry is new to me,” he says. “But I love doing this. I feel like everything I’ve done so far brought me here.”
What preceded this latest project was an illustrious career in fashion that included running communications for Ralph Lauren and sales and marketing for Giorgio Armani. Wanting to learn more about the life of his grandmother, the iconic editor and creative legend Diana Vreeland, he wrote the 2013 book Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years. “Women look to my grandmother as a role model and inspiration,” says Vreeland, who took over his grandmother’s estate about six years ago. “She helped and inspired many people. After all of this, I just knew I wanted to create a product in her name.”
The bottles, designed by the renowned Fabien Baron, are themselves works of art, and the amusing names of each perfume are pet expressions of Diana’s: Perfectly Marvelous, Extravagance Russe, Absolutely Vital, Outrageously Vibrant, Simply Divine, Smashingly Brilliant, and Daringly Different; the next fragrance, Devastatingly Chic, is being released this fall.
But while the names of his perfumes are exaggerated and over-the-top, Vreeland’s personal style is more simple and carefree. “I love architecture; I created the plans for [my Bridgehampton] home myself,” he says. “I designed it as a long barn and used wood from a 200-year-old structure I found in Vermont. We took [the Vermont building] apart and rebuilt it on Long Island, incorporating the living room and bedrooms within it.”
The distinctive barn rafters throughout the living room offer an elegant contrast to the cement floors and white walls. Hanging from the ceiling are white, globelike fixtures—large paper lanterns that add visual interest and light in the most elegant, nonintrusive way. Vreeland also custom-designed both tables in the room. “It’s my favorite room,” he says of the open-concept living-dining area.
It’s the view, though, that is the focal point of the home. Windows open up to a mesmerizing landscape that includes a vast number of trees, including tulip trees and maples, that the Vreelands have planted over the years since buying the property, originally a hayfield, in 1998. Ginkgo trees surround the end of the pool area, and the entrance to the house is enclosed in a plethora of Kousa dogwoods. “I can’t stop looking out the windows, staring at the trees and fields when I am here,” says Vreeland, who spends time in the East End yearround with his wife, Lisa Immordino Vreeland, and their 13-year-old daughter, Olivia.
Vreeland’s grandmother inspired the family’s love of the Hamptons and it was Truman Capote who found the Vreelands their first home in Sagaponack in 1967. “My grandmother didn’t like the summer very much, but she loved the ocean and was a big fan of Southampton,” says Vreeland. “For us, the Hamptons is all about simplicity. From the minimalistic décor to the simple pleasures out East, out here, it’s really all about spending time with family and relaxing.”
photography by costas picadas