Victor, Victoria Magazine!

Victoria was the beginning of my love affair with magazines. I stumbled upon it at a grocery check-out at the astute age of 12, mistakenly assuming it was about the Victorian world of my period doll, Samantha. It was a fortuitous mistake. The Victoria of the early 90s was a glossy, richly filled publication; every page was layered in gorgeous photography. Fashion inserts featured couture styling, luscious velvets, and a great deal of jewelry. I learned good aesthetic principles from those pages, thick with creative decorating, history, gardening, and excellent writing. I eventually began to read other magazines - Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Vogue, and Town and Country, but I never threw away a Victoria. When I returned to the U.S. in 2003 to find that the magazine was no longer on the shelves, it was a real blow. Hoffman publications brought back Victoria in 2007, and I wondered if they could really capture the unrivaled combination of good taste and graceful living that made the original magazine so unique. They could. The latest July/Aug issue not only features Draper's freshened up Greenbrier, but the restored rooms of Edith Wharton's The Mount. Don't miss this issue!!!

The graceful Greenbrier. Originally founded in 1778, the 721 room hotel within a few hour's drive of D.C. has hosted most U.S. Presidents and numerous other dignitaries. When Draper first encountered the Greenbrier, it was in dilapidated condition, having served as an army hospital during WWII. She roamed the halls with a flashlight, planning the rooms for which she would become famous. She claimed to have encountered the ghost of another guest, Robert E. Lee, in a corridor. 

The entry staircase Draper made famous. Her philosophy about pattern was "more is more."

A room vinegette, with more layered pattern and the fearless use of color that characterizes much of Draper's work.

Ancient influence is felt throughout the Greenbrier. Draper interspersed busts and statuary with bold modern design. 

Edith Wharton's beautiful home. The author of what many consider the first book on interior design, "The Decoration of Houses," designed the 1902 estate herself. Edith's inspiration was the English country home, Belton House.

While architects Ogden Codman (with whom she co-authored "Houses") and Francis Hoppin finalized the plans for the house, the garden design was all Edith's own.

Edith Wharton stuck to her decorating principles; the guidelines she gave in "The Decoration of Houses" were followed religiously at The Mount, to marvelous affect. Wharton's goal was to revive house decoration as a branch of architecture, holding that a room with lovely furnishings and poor design could never achieve true beauty. She preferred exquisitely detailed design with simple furnishings and colors. In this space at The Mount, the architecture of the room is indeed on display, while quiet details and soft colors bring harmony to the space.

Images, Victoria Magazine. Exterior view of The Mount, These pictures are not featured in the magazine story; check out the newsstand for the full scoop.


Averill said...

Gorgeous photographs -- I'll have to pick up a copy.

PS - I had Samantha, too! :)

MK said...

I have to say, I have not been as impressed with the new Victoria as I was with the old Victoria. What I particularly miss are the fashion spreads from the old Victoria. The clothing was just beautiful -- couture-type stuff, as you said, and beautiful photographs. Now I feel like it's not only not high-fashion, it's pretty style-less. I haven't seen every issue of the new Victoria, so I might be wrong, but that's been my impression.

annechovie said...

LOL, I remember spotting the very first issue of Victoria at my local Kroger when I was 14! Like you, I was really into it back then. Good memories.

Sanity Fair said...

MK - I had the same impression. The latest issues are SUCH an improvement. The early issues, fashion especially were dowdy (very 40 year old housewife). They're really upped their game. All the stories and photographs are fresh and new.

MK said...

Awesome! I'm so glad! In that case, I'll have to pick up the current issue. :)

The Antiques Diva™ said...

I'm with you on Victorian Mag - I love it and actually go to KaDeWe (the Berlin dept store) to pick up single issues costing 8E per issue - but it's worth it!! It looks like I need a trip to KaDeWe to pick up the latest issue!! Thanks for the tip!

Beth Connolly said...

I am so glad to know this. I had picked up a copy a while back and was disappointed-happy it is better. I loved the old Victoria-I would pour over every issue. As for the Greenbrier, we spent many lovely family vacations there. It is not the same either. Not as Dorothy Draper as it was. I think both Victoria magazine and the Greenbrier would be more enjoyable to those unfamiliar with how they were in their hay day.

Sanity Fair said...

Style Redux - I've heard the same thing about the Greenbrier. Unfortunately, I've never visited. I like the images I've seen that are current, but I'm not clear on what they changed... but they DID change some things, because I know some of the Draper furniture was sold. Do you know what changes they made?

studioJudith said...

Heavenly images .. .
I shall look for the NEW Victoria!

ticklishfromadistance said...

Beautiful images. The Greenbriar is such a throwback for me. Every time I go, I feel I have steped into another world.

Alicia said...

I use to subscribe waaay back when & now I just added it back to mailbox. While its not always my cup of tea, there's always a few sips of delight.
With the magazine industry fighting to survive there are great subscription deals to behold.
Its a great way to get a deal & help them survive!!!

Paris Hotel Boutique said...

Can't wait to pick up the latest Victoria. I'm a big Draper fan and look forward to seeing the freshened up Greenbrier. Going to Borders tomorrow!! Thanks for the post!


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