Saturday, August 11, 2012

Edith Wharton in Vogue Magazine


The September Issue of Vogue Magazine has just hit the stands and it includes a fascinating essay on Edith Wharton written by Colm Toibin and a gorgeous photo spread by Annie Leibovitz shot at The Mount, Edith Wharton's home in Lenox, Massachusetts. This really is Edith Wharton's year!  It is the 150th anniversary of her birth, there are celebrations all over the country, especially at The Mount, and now she's in Vogue.   Shot on the grounds of the beautiful Berkshire retreat that Wharton designed and lived in from 1903 until 1908, these photos taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz and styled by Vogue's creative director Grace Coddington capture the gracious beauty of this autobiographical home and its grounds.  It is truly one of this country's historical and literary treasures.  President Theodore Roosevelt, diplomat Water Berry, writer Henry James, and sculptor Daniel Chester French were all part of Wharton's inner circle and came to stay with her there.  If you get a chance to visit this area of western Massachusetts (a great destination with Tanglewood nearby and the Williamstown Theatre Festival not faraway), be sure to visit The Mount.  The house and the gardens are magnificent and it is where Edith Wharton wrote her masterpiece "The House of Mirth."

Natalia Vodianova plays Edith Wharton and actress Juno Temple plays Edith's secretary Anna Bahlmann

This story in Vogue is a beautiful and creative piece and one of the best magazine layouts I have seen in a long time. The art direction and styling are simply brilliant.  Entitled "Custom of the Country," it recreates Edith Wharton's inner circle by casting writers, artists and actors of today such as Jeffrey Eugenides, Elijah Wood, Jack Huston, Mamie Gummer, and Juno Temple to play Wharton's friends and colleagues who would have spent time with her at the Mount. These romantic and evocative vignettes include vintage cars, costumes, and even current Edwardian fashions off the runway.  I am wondering if "Downton Abbey" influenced some of the designers this year.

Writer Jeffrey Eugenides plays Henry James; actor Elijah Wood plays Wharton's chauffeur; and actor Jack Huston plays Morton Fullerton, the man whom Wharton loved

Near the Mount is Chesterwood, the home and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French, played here by artist Nate Lowman

This scene recreates a picnic between Henry James, Morton Fullerton and Wharton

Wharton's niece landscape designer Beatrix Farrand, played here by actress Mamie Gummer; diplomat Walter Barry, played by writer Junot Diaz; architect Ogden Codman Jr., played by writer Jonathan Safran Foer; and painter Maxfield Parrish, played by actor Max Minghella

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Pick up this issue -- if you are a fan of Edith Wharton you will love the way her life at the Mount has been reimagined by Annie Leibovitz and Grace Coddington in the pages of Vogue.

24 comments:

  1. I heard this issue of Vogue is the largest ever published. This article alone seems to me worth the purchase. I'm in the process of creating my list of suggested reading for the Book Belles. I think I should probably add something by Ms. Wharton. As always a wonderful post. Bonnie

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  2. Now you've gone and gotten me all excited and eager to run out and get this edition of Vogue. A regret of a trip out to Boston and Concord two years ago was that, even though we made a stop in Stockbridge, which isn't far from The Mount, we didn't get to Wharton's home. Someday. Until then, I will be in pursuit of this issue. Lovely, lovely post, Sunday.

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  3. Oooooh! Edith and The September Issue.
    I need to block out an entire day for this one!!
    xoxo,
    p

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  4. thank you for the tip! I am off to get it at the local newstand tomorrow. I can't wait to read it. And I love annie leibovitz.

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  5. Oh, I can't wait to read the article about Wharton! I find her life and work so fascinating. I don't think the September issue has hit the news stands in Arizona yet - I've checked two different stores and they both still had the August issue displayed. I will keep checking!

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  6. The Vogue September issue in the UK is wonderful but this sounds fantastic. Hoping for an equivalent British story in Vogue...

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  7. Stunning! And Jack Huston is inspired as Fullerton! I was just at The Mount for a reading of my novel about all these very people. Just beautiful.

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    1. Hi Jennie, I can't wait to pick up a copy of your book "The Age of Desire" about Edith Wharton and her circle of friends. I was recently looking at the Mount's blog and saw the news about your recent reading there. How exciting! Congratulations.
      Best, Sunday

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    2. Thanks, Sunday. I hope you enjoy my book as much as I enjoy your blog. Penguin has been tweeting your link all day on my behalf. So excited to see the focus on Edith. Loved your Bloomsbury rt treasures, btw!

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  8. Yay! I work here and it was so exciting to have Annie Leibovitz and Grace Coddington come and shoot for the weekend. I hope this editorial will help The Mount and Edith Wharton gain more interest amongst visitors and literature enthusiasts!

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    1. Hi Erica, that must have been thrilling to have Annie Leibovitz, Grace Coddington, and all the writers, artists and actors that were featured in the shoot come to the Mount to create this photo spread for Vogue. It really turned out great and I do think it will generate lots of interest in the Mount. And how perfect that it came out during her big birthday year!
      All the best, Sunday

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  9. This article looks fascinating! I'll have to keep my eye out for this issue. I'm very intrigued by some of the writers chasen to stand in as models. I wonder if they were selected strictly based on appearances? Or do they feel a connection to Wharton through their own work? I can't wait to read the article and possibly find out!

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  10. I haven't read an issue of Vogue in years, but now I'm going to have to go out and get this issue! Frankly, if it were always like this I'd be a subscriber.

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  11. Am buying an issue tomorrow. Have been to the Mount while it was still being restored and love all Wharton's novels - especially her use of irony.
    Thanks for the heads up-
    b

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  12. Can't wait to buy this issue, and also a copy of "The Age of Desire". Edith Wharton is one of my favorite authors ever.

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    1. Thanks Kathy! Hope you like it. Btw - here are pictures of the real Morton Fullerton and Walter Berry http://jenniefields.com/the-age-of-desire/gallery/

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  13. Love this! Going to newsstand today! xo

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  14. I particularly love that authors take a starring role in this photo shoot!

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  15. Love this shoot, but then I have such love for Edith Wharton.

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  16. I just came across your blog: very lovely. I missed the Vogue issue, though I was at The Mount in Lenox in September and saw the actual site of the photo shoot. A great tour there by a very articulate guide. The place is in need of loving donors, so I hope the Vogue article helps to that end.

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  17. Domenica, I LOVE your blog ! so glad I discovered it just now! I'm recommending it to others and on my Pinterest.
    I want to do a fun Downton Abbey party at my pub...
    cheers!

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