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Alexandra and Alexandre von Furstenberg
In the early 1990s, a trio of sisters-Pia, Marie-Chantal, and Alexandra Miller-emerged from their sheltered upbringing and took the New York social scene by storm. With a glamorous international background, the daughters of Chantal and Robert Miller(of Duty Free Shops fortune) were a dream come true for bored magazine editors on the lookout for new, younger crowd to fill their pages. Everyone began to breathlessly chronicle the choices these young women made, from clothing and nightclubs to husbands. The saga reached a pinnacle in the summer of 1995, when Marie-Chantal and Alexandra were married in two of the grandest weddings society had witnessed in more than a generation. The sisters have retreated from the public eye since then, preferring to build their own families and careers in the world.
Alexandra, the youngest, married he childhood sweetheart Alexandre von Furstenberg , son of fashion designer Diane and Prince Egon, of noble Austrian-Italian family. When they moved to Los Angeles soon after, Alexandra who ha studied costume design at Brown University, became a buyer for a small boutique. A few years later the couple returned to New York, and she went to work with her mother-in-law. As Creative Director for Diane von Furstenberg Designs, her job was to breathe new life into the company that made its name with the ubiquitous wrap dress of the 1970's. She is anything but lost in fashion past, however. A fan of the latest, cutting-edge styles, Alexandra von Furstenberg would never be caught dead in vintage clothing. "I can't stand wearing someone else's old clothes," she says, adding with a laugh, "I had a hard enough time sharing clothes with my sisters."
The Place Alexandra and Alexandre now live, on the 22 second floor of a modern Manhattan high-rise, which has been in the Miller family for 15 years, has been home to each of the girls in turn. Alexandra and Marie-Chantal first shared it during their last two years of high school. Pia and Christopher Getty called it home for a while when they were first married. Marie-Chantal and her husband, Prince Pavlos of Greece, followed suite a few years later. Alex and Alex moved in a year ago, before their daughter, Talita, was born. "This place has definitely seen alot of makeovers in its time," quips Alexandra, who has turned it into her own very personal Zen-inspired retreat.
A white monochromatic palette dominates the home. Much of the furniture is Ralph Lauren. Alongside works of Andy Warhol, Ross Bleckner, and photographer Peter Beard, are black-and-white photos of Alexandra with her sisters and husband taken by various photographers over the years.
Silver and nickel objects d'art accent the rooms. One black lacquered table is covered with about forty silver-dipped shells, most of them Buccellati. Carefully placed around the apartment are the silver boxes which the couple received as wedding gifts, all bearing the von Furstenberg family crest. Even with all these shimmering objects, however, the apartment's most defining featured is ultra-cleanliness. It is pristine. Shoes must be removed at the door; nothing is out of place. In fact, when asked what a stranger might learn about her from the apartment, Alexandra responds without a moment's hesitation "that I am very clean!"
Their last three homes have been dressed in the same fashion. Alexandra has always been drawn to the spare and minimal look. The Malibu beach house of their friend Sandy Gallin, a Hollywood manager, was a great inspiration. "We just adored it," she says. "The windows were always open and a fresh beach breeze would be blowing in. It was very white. The floors were stained dark-very dramatic. But it was filled with comfortable, big, white furniture with plush pillows. It was such an airy, pleasant space. I really admired that and we've made a New York version that works for us."
Alexandra remembers growing up surrounded by fabrics and heavy textures- "Very Maongardino," she says referring to the late decorator known for elaborate schemes and dramatic gestures.
"When I went out on my own, I wanted to take a different route. Everything I have in my house is there for a reason," she says. "It is meant to be used in some way, and I don't have too many of anyone thing. It I so clean and sparse and white. It's my sanctuary."
So, how does having a baby affect the sense of order and repose that Alexandra von Furstenberg has prepared so well? "Not much," she says. "I never wanted to get too far into baby land. When my daughter was born, I got a small tattoo, a little heart, because I wanted to mark her on me and to mark the occasion. It was something I'd always wanted to do, but never felt like I was able to. But it seemed like once I became a mother myself, no one could tell me not to. So I did it."
Taken from the Book, Bright Young Things.