Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bravo, Elad and L'Objet

The Chic International Tabletop Design Company, L'OBJET, Celebrates Its Tenth Year with a Dazzling New Collection

In 2004, Elad Yifrach founded L’Objet, to design and create the most beautiful and hauntingly lovely dinnerware and tabletop décor.

Elad recently launched his newest collection, SOUS LE CIEL, for Spring 2014.

It was inspired by beautiful shapes of myths and antiquity—and the eternal refinement and timeless beauty of Asian traditions. It celebrates luxury—with gold-dipped teaspoons and artfully etched porcelain.



I think of his pieces as universally inspiring—for everyday and for lavish celebrations and family traditions. Come with me to see Elad’s latest creations.

Sous Le Ciel concepts are his best to date—and will become instant classics. The gold-rimmed plates, the delicate cups and the seductive bowls will be desirable for passionate hostesses and everyone who
admires perfection and elegance.


L’OBJET: THE NEW SOUS LE CIEL COLLECTION

Chinese emperors of the Han Dynasty were known to their subjects as the ‘Sons of Heaven’. This collection, Sous le Ciel, pays homage to their world, which marked perhaps the greatest period of artistic expansion in the ancient world. This was a time of unprecedented prosperity and innovation in the arts, including the invention of paper, glazed ceramics, and developments in silk weaving.

Through their trade along the Silk Road, the Chinese also discovered a superior breed of horse that became a symbol of power and prestige. They were called “heavenly horses.” 




Horses were honored by the ancient Chinese and this motif is present throughout the collection, with table accents including spice jewels, chopstick rests and place card holders, as well as exquisite sculptures for the home all featuring elegant horses and horse heads.

Other home accessories include beautifully sculpted black porcelain and 24K gold trays, and scented candles presented in tea canisters so intricately crafted that each is a work of art for the table or mantel. 





I first had the great pleasure of meeting Elad when he launched his L’Objet collections. His gilded plates, embellished cups and teapots, and his exquisite vases turned tabletop décor for weddings and birthdays, religious holidays, dinner parties, afternoon tea celebrations, and everyday dining.

We’ve also met in Paris, and recently we enjoyed a delightful luncheon and antique study at the Biennale des Antiquaires there. I’m so proud of Elad’s focus and his progress, his passionate development of his designs. And with the new Sous Le Ciel collection he offers the most beautiful tabletop concepts of this season. You must admit--they are highly lustworthy and seriously collectible.




The collection delves deeper into dinnerware than previous L’Objet collections, with beautifully conceived pieces such as a traditional Chinese spoon coated in 24K gold, chopsticks in black wood and jade cabochon, and green-tea cups with beautifully patterned lids to keep the tea at precisely the right temperature, all of which pay homage to Chinese customs. 








Come with me to meet Elad


Born and raised in Israel, Elad was exposed to the region’s rich cultures of the region from an early age. 

He is a lifelong traveler and devotee of the Mediterranean. He recently traveled to Bali and to Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean, as well as Paris, as anyone who follows him on Facebook knows. His posted images are dreamy. (I recommend that you friend him immediately).

“I am passionate about creating beautiful objects to enhance the finest homes, tables and desks,” said Elad Yifrach, founder and creative director. “The spirit, natural beauty and striking architecture of the Mediterranean, from which I come, are a constant source of inspiration for every L’OBJET piece I design.”

Elad draws inspiration for L’Objet from voluptuous traditional designs of the Middle Eastern and North African. He loves classicism and sweeps up inspiration and homage from French and Greek history. He strives to keep alive the most elaborate and rare traditions of craft.

The elegant architecture of a Greek island such as Patmos or Mykonos can be seen in the rounded pearl filigree of the Perlee Blue dinnerware. In the same way, the vibrant spirit of Venice is reflected in the bold prints of the exclusive L’Objet Pour Fortuny collection, which features classic blockprints and jewel colors.





Elad used traditional fine materials and has found top artisans who work in arcane and exacting crafts. To perfect L’Objet designs he works with a diverse group of manufacturers, to create the finest objects in their categories.

A dinner plate may be layered then fired three times with 24k gold and fired once more to achieve the optimal rich glow of the precious metal. He also created hand etched picture frames using small needles developed by Venetian jewelers to create a distinctive texture.

Elad currently resides in New York City. When he is not busy traveling and designing, he enjoys yoga and entertaining.




TRAVEL AND CRAFT:

Precious materials including 24-karat gold, platinum, Swarovski Crystals and fine Limoges porcelain are carefully manipulated by a diverse group of craftsmen across Europe and Asia who push the boundaries of traditional techniques to create lines that are rich in history and thoroughly modern.

In 2012, L’OBJET partnered with Fortuny, the legendary Italian fashion and textile design house, to create L’OBJET Pour Fortuny. For the first time in Fortuny’s 100-year history, they have chosen to align their brand with another, selecting L’OBJET to create a curated collection of dinnerware, serving pieces, frames and candles using signature Fortuny patterns to reinterpret the iconic brand. L’OBJET Pour Fortuny is a harmonious union of style, color, pattern and an affirmation of both brand’s commitment to quality and design. 



WHERE TO FIND L’OBJET COLLECTIONS:

I received the following email from Elad Yifrach—who was on a plane, returning from exotic destinations that will no doubt inspire new collections. Elad said:

Retailers:

In the US we just launched a special installation of the 10th anniversary collection at Bergdorf Goodman. They were my very first account when I started the brand and we thought it's a great way to celebrate with an exclusive East Coast launch and a big presentation.

Gump’s in San Francisco has the West Coast exclusive for the launch and its already on display in the store.

Harrods in London has a very large (850 SQF) L’OBJET boutique. It’s our biggest boutique today and the full lifestyle concept of the brand is presented there.

Neiman Marcus is our largest partner in the US.

Gearys of Beverly Hills, Saks Fifth Avenue, Michael C. Fina, Elements/Chicago, all offer beautiful selections—and can help with special orders.

Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and China is our premier partner for the region.

Thomas Goode in London.


CREDITS:
All images here are used courtesy of Elad Yifrach and L’Objet.

L'OBJET | Luxurious Home Goods
www.l-objet.com
(855) 562 5388

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dear Denise

This week we celebrate the 39th birthday of San Francisco’s favorite jetsetter and social queen and beloved friend, Denise Hale.

I’ve gathered tributes and friskiness and a splash of humor from noted admirers and worldly friends, including Michael Tilson Thomas, Ralph Rucci, Jo Schuman, Ken Fulk, and David Downton. 


New photos by Drew Altizer. Fun stuff.


Denise Hale: On the occasion of her April birthday we study her mystique, meet a world of friends, and drop in on her travel, jewels, fashion, country life, city life and parties. I reveal a few essential social tips. How to be a desired guest!

It’s a fun read—with lots of revelations. Pour a glass of well-chilled bubbly, or a glass of Montrachet (her favorite) and let’s toast the great Denise Hale and meet her merry tribe of talented pals.

New portrait of Denise Hale by the great portraitist, David Downton


Out and About with Denise Hale: Let’s See How She Earns the Title Social Queen

She’s a compelling dinner companion, opinionated, witty, provocative, with vivid stories of travel, no-count counts she has known, kings and queens, political scandals, famous faces, latest medical advances, art previews, and flirty fun.

Hale is out every night. She is on everyone’s guest list. She’s at the top ‘VIP’ guests, from the opera or ballet gala, the Vanity Fair Oscar party. She follows her best friend Zubin Mehta on his orchestral peregrinations. On her way to Los Angeles, she stops in at a medical fundraiser lunch, and later in the week’s it’s a private conference of top Silicon Valley tech minds, San Francisco fashion events, and in between there are dinners at private clubs, drinks at Claridge’s, a bar mitzvah, a museum exhibit preview, and girlfriends’ birthdays.

Oh, and did I tell you that she achieves this even though as a lifelong insomniac (blame war time), she never sleeps until 3am—and never rises before 11am. Lunch is at 1pm—never a minute earlier. Dinner’s at eight.

Colin Bailey, director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, is a close friend.

Last week it was a private dinner celebrating the Salon Doré at the Legion of Honor museum. The evening was hosted by Dede Wilsey (queen of museum fund-raising), and Hale attended with new BFF Town & Country editor-in-chief, Jay Fielden.

I’ve known Denise Hale (formerly Mrs. Vincente Minelli, and for 28 years Mrs. Prentis Cobb Hale) for ages. I’ve written about her in many publications and on THE STYLE SALONISTE, where she is a permanent favorite. I’ve invited her to join me on a jaunt in Las Vegas, and we’ve enjoyed haricots verts at Le Voltaire in Paris. We email often (she’s an expert with her iPad), and she keeps a close and prudent eye on my travel adventures.

Denise Hale wearing Ralph Rucci, and accompanied by Ralph Rucci.

International couturier Ralph Rucci is also a close friend.

“There has been no one since Coco Chanel who can mix kings and queens with leather boys with her aplomb and I cannot ever imagine the world without her. I adore her,” said the designer.

Denise Hale glides effortlessly and glamorously from gala balls to private lunches, all the while managing her Northern California cattle ranch. From palaces and palazzi, and on to intime weekends with famous (and notorious) actors, she’s also the A-list guest and friend of best-selling authors, bad-boy dukes, a duchess or two, a leading dermatologist, city honchos, restaurateurs, editors-in-chief, heiresses, and the talented, eccentric, and witty around the world. 

Denise Hale at the San Francisco Coach store, celebrating Glenda Bailey’s newest book on Bazaar.


Above, Denise Hale cozies up to interior designer Peter Marino at a recent Chanel party.


Denise can always be counted on to throw her million-watt star power around a room even if she has recently been released from hospital.

Jet-lagged, just in from London or Belgrade, she will nonetheless dazzle. Does she ever in-hale? Absolutely.

John Traina and I once picked her up to attend a San Francisco celebration—and Denise was so pale in the back seat that we thought we should immediately take her home to bed. She demurred, and on arrival at the ball, she transformed into the belle of the ball. (You know her rule, of course: never cancel except for death. A guest has an obligation.)

Does she ever ex-hale? With pleasure.

She leaves her troubles at the door, and focuses on intense chats with guests, ensuring that everyone feels like a star. You’d never know that a mudslide had blocked the road to her ranch, or that her German Shepherd had been attacked by a coyote and was seriously injured. (See David Downton’s tips on this talent to be a gracious guest, below.)

At a recent party for the Valentino store opening and dinner at the Battery, she focused on longtime pal, Carlos Souza. They’ve known each other for thirty years, see each other seldom, and spent the evening catching up.

A recent shot of Denise Hale with Valentino’s international envoy Carlos Souza, a longtime friend, at a private dinner at The Battery.


Count on Denise Hale to support her friends, and to be great company. Her evening uniform: black silk shoes, a black silk clutch, black silk twill pants (Ralph Rucci), and a beaded jacket or cashmere tunic or silk evening top, with lavish additions of Bulgari necklaces, Boucheron rings, de Grisogono bracelets, and Cartier earrings, some of them from the seventies, a major Bulgari bracelet from the sixties.

Denise Hale, out and about with Ken Fulk.

Last week, dinner at Archetype, the hot new Howard Backen-designed restaurant in St. Helena, and the next evening a party with interior designer and BFF Ken Fulk.


Denise Hale wearing an Hermes shawl, with Greg Lopez and Alex Chases.

There was the opening of the chic Ferragamo store in San Francisco, hosted by Vanessa Getty, Trevor Traina, Allison Speer and Kathryn Lasater.

A lovely evening at the San Francisco Ballet gala with Alex Chases, great hair stylist.


San Francisco’s social life is lively and rich year-round, thanks to the city’s generous philanthropists. Denise Hale is a longtime fixture of the scene.


Now, Let's Speed Up to Cloverdale to Visit Denise in the Country

It’s a mellow summer afternoon at the HE Ranch, and lunch is about to be served on the jasmine-scented brick terrace overlooking the pool.

Shimmering handcrafted Burmese silver pagodas from Bagan create a blaze of light on the elaborately patterned pietra dura marble dining table, custom-crafted in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. White ‘Iceberg’ roses tinged with pink are arranged in Burmese silver goblets among eighteenth-century English serving platters and monogrammed pure white Irish linen napkins.

Handcrafted silver pagodas from Burma glitter on the dining table, a marble pietra dura creation from Agra. Photography by Lisa Romerein.


The menu includes al dente spaghetti with just-picked heirloom tomatoes, accented with a few basil leaves and extra-virgin Italian olive oil, simple and traditional, a style she learned first in Rome.

Denise is chic in her country uniform of white Chanel t-shirt, perfectly pressed ivory twill Ralph Rucci slacks, and a dazzle of Bulgari gold and diamond bracelets and necklaces. Tomorrow, same outfit, with an Indian emerald necklace, acquired many years ago in Jaipur.


Hydrangeas on the hacienda terrace are from specialist grower Dr. Jerry Bolduan, Green Valley Growers, Sebastapol, California.

Sheltered beneath mossy three-hundred-year old oaks and surrounded by fragrant lemon trees and a barrage of pale green hydrangeas, a guest could easily imagine that this is a dreamy villa in Tuscany or a fabled corner of the Dordogne.

“My husband, Prentis Cobb Hale, the love of my life, always said that when I come through the gates of the ranch, I’m transformed, I become a different person,” said Hale. “In the city I belong to the world. In the country, I love to be alone. I invite very few friends. Mostly in the summer. It’s so beautiful here and I want to share it with special people.”


“The first time I went up to the ranch with Prentis was April 8, 1969, I thought it was the most depressing house I’d ever seen,” recalled Hale. “It was very dark and dusty. But I thought it had possibilities. We freshened it, brought in some antiques. John Dickinson advised me. We collected modern art. Now it has become my home, my haven.”

It’s almost three hours from the city—a refuge and spiritual haven.

“Prentis was a man of great charisma, a big game hunter, president of the San Francisco Opera, an outdoorsman, involved in the cultural life of the city,” continued Hale. “The ranch was a great retreat for him”

The adobe house had been built in the fifties, and was used for only two months a year as a hunting retreat.

She infused the rooms with her European style and antique Persian rugs, marble obelisks from Florence, stacks of books everywhere, fresh flowers and fragrant fruit from her garden.


Guests, intoxicated by the pure country air, drift off to sleep on Frette, Porthault, and Pratesi linens in garden cottages decorated by the great John Dickinson. Even in the middle of nowhere, the grand appliquéd cream and blue headboard was custom-made for her bed in the seventies by the palazzo workshops of Emilio Pucci, through designer Valerian Rybar. Oh, the opulence.

But Hale remains an enigma. She works hard to manage and maintain the ranch. With ranch manager Don McNab, who Hale calls ‘the absolute boss’, she achieved national certified organic status recently for her beef cattle from the USDA.

“It look two years, with constant inspections, but we were determined and I’m so proud,” said Hale, whose work involves supervising repairs to miles of fences, keeping up the roads, repairing roofs, overseeing an arborist who maintains the trees, replacing a maze of water pipes, grooming the gardens, and taking extreme summer heat and drought and the wrath of winter storms in her stride. 


Power outages on New Year’s Eve. Done that. Phone wires nibbled by mice. Yes, it happened. Drought, water pipes bursting, cattle astray, wildfires at a nearby property, mudslides, torrential rain, and heat waves—she has conquered them all.



A Visit to Denise in the City

From her moss green silk velvet-walled Russian Hill apartment overlooking San Francisco Bay, Denise Minnelli Hale has reigned for more than four decades as San Francisco’s most famous, Eurocentric, and truly glamorous jet setter. An accomplished and old-school hostess, she gathers coteries of attractive guests for ultra-private dinners in London, romantic soirees in Paris, high-profile gatherings in San Francisco and New York. 



"Perched from her all-enveloping green silk velvet lair high above San Francisco, the divine Mrs. Hale oversees the world and those whom she loves with the biggest, most tender heart,” Rucci noted. “If Denise decides that you are a friend, her level of determination, loyalty, kindness and belief has no measure. “

She wears her elegance and her essence of cool just as she wears her Bulgari and Boucheron jewels, like a second skin.

Her style is consistent and it appears effortless, and always rather understated.

“I don’t follow fashion,” said Hale. “For me, the simpler, the better. I love understated, beautifully cut clothes.”

She’s fiercely loyal to just a few designers.

In sixties Rome, it was classic dresses by Federico Forquet and party gowns by Roberto Capucci. In Beverly Hills she loved Galanos. GianFranco Ferre made her custom made ballgowns and sequined evening tunics each season.

Now her polish and perfection is emphasized with Ralph Rucci evening- and daywear, her uniform.


Custom-made Ralph Rucci double-faced cashmere jackets, black or white, plus her new red shagreen and diamond di Grisogono cuffs, classic Bulgari necklaces, David Webb bracelets, a James de Givenchy diamond pave sea anemone pin, are daily wear. Her coiffure is neat, she daubs no color on her nails, and she wears little makeup. Classic.

For a gala, she’ll visit the bank vault and select perhaps a stunning David Web diamond pin, an Imperial jade and diamond ring, a gold and diamond Bulgari bracelet ( a birthday gift when she was nineteen), or large sapphire earrings that seem to shoot sparks. Then they go straight back to the bank.




David Downton Draws Denise

The great London artist/illustrator David Downton has been a close friend and confidante of Denise Hale for many years.

I asked him for tips and insider rules on understanding the world of Denise.

New portrait of Denise Hale, April 2014, by the celebrated London artist/illustrator, David Downton.

Inside Denise's World, Exclusive for The Style Saloniste, by David Downton

1. LEARN TO UNDERSTAND DENISE
Sure, Mrs. Hale has lived in the US for a year or two, but you might not guess it from her accent. Those rolled r's and soft and sibilant and very sexy and mysterious s's, for a start. Pay attention! And her unpredictable syntax and delicious conspiratorial tone are glamorously Serbian still. You will need to learn to follow Denise closely. Like all the classic languages, hers can be a challenge at first, but once you have mastered it there will be dividends.

Being witty is your ultimate goal


2. A FRIEND OF DENISE
If Mrs. Hale befriends you, you will stay befriended. She is fiercely loyal. Should you be unmasked as a serial killer, you can still count on her support ("Darling they were bores! Better off dead") A bad boy is a good thing,

But "don't rock the boat." Being attractive, attentive and male will get you to the nursery slopes but don't, please don't, turn out to be a slob, a fake or a phony. She has your number. Disappoint, and don't expect a returned call.


3.DENISE O' CLOCK
Mrs. Hale lives in a time zone as yet unchartered. Set your watch to Denise O'clock and don't even think of ending your marriage, firing the help or planning a trip to India before noon. Mrs. Hale will be unavailable for counsel or comment. Much better to schedule your crisis between midnight and 2am, when you will receive the best advice you never paid for.


4.HIGH TIMES AT THE H E RANCH
An invitation to Mrs. Hale's ranch, the HE RANCH, in Sonoma County is coveted indeed. Be under no illusion, it is her German Shepherds who enjoy droits de seigneur. They will decide how much of their mistresses' attention you warrant, when you can swim in the pool (they patrol it or dive bomb it) and whether your invitation will be re-issued. Make friends with man's best friend. Quick!


5. A NIGHT OUT WITH DENISE
Dinner can and will stretch to the small hours. Choose your venue carefully. My preference would be the jewel-like Fumoir bar at Claridge's in London, where the atmosphere is becoming to a lady and her diamonds, where the barmen are great (and the barmen are straight) and where a medicinal glass of Montrachet or of champagne (do NOT forget a silver straw to remove the bubbles) will make for a convivial time indeed. Prepare for a late evening, and you will be rewarded with a memorable night.



The Worldly Mrs. Minelli Hale

If she didn’t live in San Francisco, where would she alight?

“I’d travel. I’m at home wherever I am,” she said. “When you are curious, you are married to the world.”

And she continues to travel. Recent trips have included Paris and Belgrade, London and Los Angeles, and Macau. She’s happy exploring the fleshpots of Las Vegas (Wynn Encore resort, designed by pal Roger Thomas, is her favorite quick luxury getaway.)

Sipping Champagne at the maharajah’s palace in Udaipur, trekking through the Hermitage with Ralph Rucci in St. Petersburg is her passion. She traveled to Angkor Wat long before it was fashionable (or safe), and her trip to Burma fourteen years ago garnered her the silver pagodas that adorn her dining table. 

Denise Hale with Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga.

“I loved going to Petra with GianFranco in the royal Jordanian helicopter, and adored seeing the Taj Mahal with Zubin and Nancy Mehta,” said Hale.

“I am in some ways the little girl from Belgrade whose grandparents exposed me to an international life,” she said. “I went to Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, and Baron Alexis de Rédé’s Orientalist Ball in Paris. I arrive at a party and I leave my troubles at the door. I believe in ‘live and let live’. That’s my motto.”

At a recent event at The Battery with Allison Speer, Lindsay Tusk and Leigh Mathes.

A longtime patron of the San Francisco Symphony, and the Delancey Street Foundation (a notably successful drug rehabilitation center) , and a generous supporter of public television (she underwrites seasons of ‘Downton Abbey’). She recently donated the Denise and Prentis Cobb Hale Endowed Chair in Gynecological Oncology at CPMC in San Francisco.

Yes, she is at once highly recognizable and very elusive.

“I’m an enigma to many people,” said Hale. “I grew up in old-world Europe with very strict grandparents. I fled certain death in Yugoslavia, so I think differently. I was a child of war. I love to have a great social life, out every night, but I also value solitude. I’m really quite shy. I love to be alone.” 

Michael Tilson Thomas is a longtime friend of DH. She is a patron of the San Francisco Symphony.

Michael Tilson Thomas, the conductor and director the San Francisco Symphony, and a longtime close Hale friend, made the following comments to me, recently:

“She is incredibly empathetic. One of my earliest insights about Denise happened after I had a big concert. On Monday I received a call from Denise. She said nice things about the concert, and after a while, I wondered where she was leading.

She said, after a triumphant performance, you have two days off, and on the second day you are wondering is there any point in life and if anyone cares. I am here to tell you that I am here for you, and I do care.”

“With Denise, it’s all big archetypal stuff. In her life themes, it’s Greek drama, it’s fifteenth-century Venice, it’s eighteenth-century England, and it’s fifth-century Rome, how it plays out. She’s at the center.”

Michael Tilson Thomas continued: “One reason we are friends is that I can call her at 3am. I’ll come in from a concert, and we can chat for hours. She’s a sympathetic listener. And she’s not afraid to tell you what you do wrong. For years she’s been telling me I should wear silk dress shoes to conduct in the evening. I’ve resisted. Perhaps one day…”


Being close-close friends of Denise Hale is lots of fun, but also 
totally exhausting. 

Just ask San Francisco chums like designer Alex Chases or Greg Lopez, or Anna Weinberg or favorite dermatologist, Seth Matarasso, or Vanessa Getty.

Ken Fulk celebrated Hale’s birthday with a lavish ball and guests included Billy and Vanessa Getty, San Francisco Symphony’s Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and his wife, Fabiola, along with Nancy and Paul Pelosi, Ann Getty and Jo Shuman Silver, Ron and Barbara George, and OJ and Gary Shansby. For late night entertainment, Hale requested the troupe of actors from the hit transvestite show, ‘Hot Greeks”.

She loves friskiness. 

Denise with Jo Schuman and Ann Getty.

I asked the great Jo Schuman Silver, the producer of ‘Beach Blanket Babylon’ or her insights on Hale. She is Hale’s longest-best friend in San Francisco:

“I met Denise at an I. Magnin fashion show in 1982. We clicked. I’d known her from the LA Times social pages and had always been impressed with her and thought she was fascinating. Denise always stood out, with her beautiful hair, her elegant profile, the couture gowns,” said Schuman.

“I know she’ll be up at all hours, so after a show, I’ll phone her to recap the evening, discuss the social whirl. She is the most loyal friend. No matter what is happening, in a second she will give you the right direction. She’s a fantastic mentor.”

Denise with San Francisco-based jazz singer, Paula West and a performer with The Cockettes.

The Denise Edicts to live (or die) by include the rule that you must never cancel at the last moment, except for death. Cancel, and you will never be invited again.

“It is imperative to arrive at a dinner party on time, and to be interesting and engaging, and never discuss your problems. It's your job to be a scintillating guest,” noted Ken Fulk. “Husbands, wives or partners are not invited unless they are equally engaging. You must look chic, no jeans, and always jackets and evening heels are preferred. No-show and you're off the list for good.”

“I’ve led a privileged life,” Hale noted. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate. But I insist on manners and consideration from everyone.”

To add to the drama of her life story—and the mystery, and perhaps her introspection—Hale was brought up in war-torn Belgrade by her adored grandparents.

“My grandmother, Ana Radosavljevic is responsible for who I am,” she said.

Nelson Mui with Denise 

With first the Nazis and then Communists threatening her family, she escaped in a rowboat as a young girl from the rugged coast of Yugoslavia, with her teenage cousin. A Royal Navy minesweeper (defying official orders) picked up the pair bobbing about in a rowboat in the Adriatic Sea. Hale kept in touch with the captain of the ship, who saved her life, and still keeps his letters in an album.

Soon, she married her first husband, a businessman with interests in the Far East, and lived a life of sparkling diamonds in Rome, with husband number on. Divorced and happily living in a chic Rome apartment in the sixties she was introduced to husband number two, director Vincente Minnelli.

Her love-match with husband number three, Prentis Cobb Hale, lasted more than 27 years.

“Today I’m running a working cattle ranch,” said Hale.

It’s privacy Hale enjoys the most, beyond padlocked gates.

“I have complete silence here,” she said. “I walk beneath the full moon and gaze at the stars at midnight in my garden. I crave the privacy. I found nirvana at the ranch,” said Hale. “Once I ‘m up there, I never want to leave. But it is all in the hands of fate. I have only two fears in life—earthquakes and snakes. I am not afraid of anyone. Whatever is meant to be, will be…”

Happy Birthday, Dear Denise!

Frisky business: Denise with Daniel Diaz. 


CREDITS:
All ranch photography by Lisa Romerein, www.lisaromerein.com. Used with permission.

David Downton in London sketched the elegant new portraits of Denise. David is the artist of the portraits that appear on PBS in honor of Hale, who is a staunch supporter of Masterpiece on PBS and especially ‘Downton Abbey’. Presented here exclusively and with permission of the artist.

Exclusive social photography by Drew Altizer, www.drewaltizer.com.

Other images are from Denise Hale’s private albums are used here with express permission.

All photography and art are used here with the express permission of the copyright holders. I am very grateful.