The Joseph Abboud Touch In Ties, Pillows, Buicks and Bedford
Inside the fashion designer’s home.
The Joseph Abboud Touch In Ties, Pillows, Buicks and
Inside the fashion designer’s home.
Joseph Abboud does not want to talk business. He does not want to talk fashion, either. Joseph Abboud wants to talk home, his home. And after you step inside the trim 52-year-old’s 10,000-square-foot French country home in
“I do have a pretty good track record,” quips the warm and likeable father of two, sitting in his spectacularly appointed living room dressed head to toe in—what else?—Joseph Abboud clothes. “I wear only my own-designed clothes,” Abboud says. “Only my underwear is not Joseph Abboud. We don’t do underwear.”
No underwear, alas. But Joseph Abboud, the company that is, the reported $250-million-and-then-some company the designer founded 15 years ago, does do ties, sweaters, chinos, shirts, suits, belts—practically everything a fashion-savvy man today may need to build a sophisticated yet casual, elegant yet comfortable, wardrobe. And recently, as he certainly wants you to understand, thanks to Joseph Abboud Environments, the fashion-savvy man and fashion-savvy woman can accessorize their home with Joseph Abboud home goods—from dinnerware and flatware to bedding and mattresses, from beach towels and bath towels to throws and pillows. (Some of his own-designed decorative pillows sit atop the hand carved European rustic bed in the Abbouds’ master bedroom.)
There’s more as well. Besides Joseph Abboud chinos and crewnecks and Joseph Abboud cups and comforters, there is also a Joseph Abboud-designed car: the Buick Regal GS Joseph Abboud Edition.
All of the many things Abboud designs share his signature look—a stylish mix of warm, neutral earth colors, elegant subtle patterns, and rich, luxurious textures. That signature is apparent in his house, the home he shares with his wife of 26 years,
“I love all the natural colors,” says Abboud, who, in the highly competitive world of fashion, is credited with having changed the color palette used in menswear. He is so aware and taken by earth colors that on a
Abboud’s clothes are sold in better department stores including
Besides natural color, Abboud also clearly loves natural materials—wood and stone, leather and silk, iron and marble, slate and granite: you can see these and other real-earth materials throughout the house—from the Connecticut fieldstone walls in the living room (“I love stone and Connecticut fieldstone has a rich brown in it,” he says) to the hand-hewn South American hardwood beams in the ceiling and the madras slate floor crisscrossed with heart pine beams in the adjoining den.
More natural material can be found in the family’s glorious kitchen where whitewashed ash cabinets, limestone floors and a honed marble countertop make for a very elegant yet inviting country look. And still more natural material can be seen in beautiful hand-wrought bronze and iron gates throughout the house. Abboud recently installed an eye-arresting Italian hand-wrought iron and bronze fence around his property “to keep the deer out,” he explains. “This is the only way for me to protect my plantings.”
Says Abboud: “Just as I love the character of clothes, I love the character of wood and stone and iron. They are more than one dimensional.”
They also have an appeal that (you need only visit
When in 1970, he was a college junior, the University sent the nattily dressed student to
For 12 years, he worked as, among other things, merchandiser and buyer at the prestigious retail store, Louis of Boston, where he not only learned a great deal about fashion but got to meet, and eventually work for and befriend, fellow Westchesterite Ralph Lauren. “I think he’s brilliant,” Abboud declares. He worked for Lauren for four-and-a-half years (he rose in the company to become the associate director of menswear) before launching his own label in 1986. “I realized I had something new to say, something that wasn’t already out there.” And he was so sure that American men would be receptive to what he had to say, he didn’t bother to do any market research. “I went by instinct. I designed clothes that I wanted. I was a pretty good guinea pig for my line.”
He showed the same willingness to simply dive into unfamiliar waters when it came to designing his house. It wasn’t easy. “It’s why my hair turned gray,” he quips. “Building and designing a house is a monumental task—the details, the decisions, the problems. It can be a nightmare.” Not to mention, expensive. “The house was way over budget,” Abboud admits. “I certainly poured more money into it than I had planned to.”
So, why did he do it? Why did he not just buy a house, hire an interior decorator and be done with it? “Maybe it’s because we fashion designers have big egos,” he answers joking at first, then adding more seriously: “The house is just a continuum of the creative process. Being creative is what drives me.”
He began the domicile stage in that creative process a decade ago, after his wife Lynn discovered that there were eight acres of land on a lake for sale in
He shops at the local Food Emporium and works out at the Saw Mill Club in
Increasingly what is important to Abboud is helping others, especially children. In May, he plans to hold the Second Annual Mohegan Sun—Joseph Abboud Celebrity Tennis Classic at the Saw Mill Club to help benefit the special care nursery at Northern Westcheser Hospital Center, the CJ Foundation for SIDS and the Imus Ranch. “I’ll do anything for children,” he says.
Abboud’s house, he confides, is now his great pleasure—“my sanctuary.” That has a lot to do with the fact that he designed it himself, even though he had no training in architecture or home design. “It takes a lot of confidence to trust your taste,” he says. “But you should trust it. Most people can do it.”
Perhaps. But few can do it as well as he.