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I Heart Gilles Mendel

by habituallychic

09 . 13 . 07

A little while back, I saw two small photos of bachelor Gilles Mendel’s apartment and was dying to see more. Luckily for me, the October 2007 issue of Elle Decor has a whole spread dedicated to the designer and CEO of J. Mendel, his family’s company that was founded in 1870. Talk about chic!

J. Mendel began as a furrier and a very exclusive and fabulous one at that. Gilles great-great-grandfather swathed Russian aristocrats in sable and now he gets to dress celebrities and socialites not only in fur, but in the most beautiful and feminine evening dresses and daywear.

It’s so surprising that the ready to wear collection has only been in existence for three years and came about as a need to clothe the Madison Avenue mannequins at night to protect the expensive furs from the wrath of PETA. The women of the neighborhood would walk by the store after hours and see the little dresses in the window and come in the next day to buy them. It’s really no surprise that Gilles’ home reflects his day job and his love of travel, a theme that seems to run strong among all fashion designers who often travel for design inspiration.

Gilles’ friend and interior designer Alan Tanksley had a hand in creating the “tailored and pared down environment” for the man who is not quite a minimalist but who also doesn’t want be bombarded with excessive visual clutter after he leaves the office.

The most amazing pieces in the home are the nods to Gilles life as a furrier as seen above in the white mink covered Swan chair and sheared mink pillows on the sofa. I love the contrast between the feminine beiges of the living room and the dark masculine look of the black pony hair covered vintage Vladimir Kagan armchair, the black dining room and the black Saarinen Tulip table. You see white Tulip table everywhere so it’s even more chic and special in black.

Gilles acknowledges his love of the Far East, Africa and the 1970’s which is evident throughout the apartment. The mirrored walls in the living room could be cheesy but it in this home it looks like Halston meets the year 2007 instead of a feeling too Studio 54-ish.

The bedroom is a deliberate departure in the color department with the blood-orange walls and is meant to evoke more of the Asian influence, as well as Africa with the zebra skin rug. I’m still trying to find a reasonably priced zebra skin rug now that they’ve become all the rage. Perhaps, my South African friend will pick me up one on his next visit home…hint hint. I’d actually prefer a trip to Africa but since that’s not happening any time soon, I’ll settle for the zebra skin rug.
Another nod to the fur trade is the decadent chinchilla blanket and pillow made by J. Mendel. If you’ve never felt chinchilla, don’t even bother because once you’ve felt it, everything else will feel like sandpaper in comparison it’s that fabulous. Whenever the fur samples arrive in the office, everyone practically pets them bald they are that soft.

So here I sit sighing over another uber-chic home of another uber-chic and stylish fashion designer wishing I could not only afford his clothes, but his apartment! I guess I will have to make due by walking past his shop and drooling over the clothes like I’ve been doing since I moved to New York. Sigh.

Comments Closed

  1. katiedid September 13, 2007 | 3:59 am

    I am getting very upset that I am not getting my mags in a timely manner. I may have to have a talk with the editor! I can hardly wait to dsee the newest. Thanks for the peak! 🙂

  2. Jackie Von Tobel September 13, 2007 | 7:14 am

    Wow – all that fur is absolutely decadent. I would never want to wear clothes in that apartment. Just run around naked and roll myself up in fur! ( Sorry for the unpleasant visual)

  3. Habitually Chic September 13, 2007 | 1:52 pm

    Katie, Don’t feel bad, I always get my magazines after they are already out on the newstand so of course I end up buying them and wasting money.

  4. Habitually Chic September 13, 2007 | 1:53 pm

    Jackie, isn’t that fur fabulous? I would love to live there and roll around in it too!

  5. ALL THE BEST September 13, 2007 | 9:03 pm

    Now I heart Gilles Mendel too!!!! Great post!

  6. Habitually Chic September 13, 2007 | 9:21 pm

    Ronda, we can walk by the boutique together and drool while you are in NYC!

  7. beachbungalow8 September 13, 2007 | 9:33 pm

    sheesh. i need a black room. it’s just too fab.

  8. Habitually Chic September 14, 2007 | 4:06 pm

    Megan, I’ve been seeing black rooms a lot lately. I think it would be fun for a cozy den type room.

  9. franki durbin September 14, 2007 | 8:41 pm

    where to begin? white, white, fabulous white. I’m still not tired of the rich wall color, white accent, zebra rug combo. Is it truly a classic? It has staying power this time around I’d never have expected!

    I am drooling over these shots… but I’m more perplexed as to how I missed this in my own issue of Elle Decor. Now where did I put that magazine down… ?

  10. Habitually Chic September 14, 2007 | 8:54 pm


    I really need to find a zebra rug asap! They are definitely never going out of style!!!

  11. girl meets glamour September 14, 2007 | 11:14 pm

    Love, love, love that bedroom…I wonder what that paint color is?


  12. Suzy September 16, 2007 | 5:30 am

    Great post – its certainly worth another look, even though I just finished devouring my edition of ED.