Together with being a jetsetter, a New York insider and a working girl, who didn’t need to be, Mica Ertegun had model in spades.
The 97-year-old Ertegun, whose late second husband Ahmet championed such musicians as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones as Atlantic Information’ cofounder, died Saturday at her house in Southampton, N.Y. After escaping Communism in her postwar Romania, she settled on a Canadian farm earlier than marrying, venturing into inside design, establishing herself as a method arbiter, extremely regarded hostess and philanthropist. Her father, Gheorghe Banu, was a Romanian physician and politician. Her trend sense stands the take a look at time, based mostly on a number of of her interviews with WWD through the years.
As an inside designer, Ertegun’s Manhattan city home embodied her eternal model – stylish, elegant and costly. Seven years into the MAC II enterprise that she began with fellow socialite Chessy Rayner, Ertegun stated pals had been asking them to spruce up their residences. The founders had been on the lookout for one thing to do and so they thought it will be “very straightforward,” selecting their very own hours and dealing with pals. Not fairly – “We made a whole lot of errors. I really feel a bit sorry for our first shoppers,” Ertegun instructed WWD in 1976.
Earlier than marrying her husband in 1961, the Romanian-born magnificence lived in sweaters and denims on the Canadian farm. “Not the ruffle sort,” her affinity for pants carried over into eveningwear and afternoons within the nation. Her de rigeuer daytime apparel was primarily the tried-and-true slimmish-skirt-and-sweater mixture and favored cashmere sweaters and textured stockings in the identical coloration. Off-hours, she was the consummate entertainer, internet hosting intimate dinner events, or catching non-public screenings, theater openings and the occasional live performance.
By her personal account, Ertegun saved only a few issues however her Madame Grès designs have been the exception, particularly togas. Her irreverent model would possibly include black crepe pants with a parrot inexperienced toga and ropes of pearls wrapped round her wrists. In 1975, Ertegun clued WWD into the truth that she hated to put on one thing that everybody else had. A lot in order that she gave up her Cartier watch after seeing it on many others. The same state of affairs performed out with a Louis Vuitton satchel that she had seen throughout Paris. Her replacements have been a person’s wristwatch and an Hermès shoulder bag with a bit make-up bag tucked inside.
She noticed trend as a sport that you just performed so long as it was enjoyable. Her intent was to look neat and her garments needed to be easy — seams straight and darts in the correct locations. (To maintain every little thing simply so, she relied on a dressmaker behind-the-scenes.) Ertegun instructed WWD in 1967, “In New York, everyone acknowledges the place your garments are from, even in case you keep away from the season’s standing symbols. The enjoyable of the sport is to attempt to preserve them guessing for a bit longer.”
To perform that within the late Nineteen Sixties, Ertegun mined finds from downtown shops, uptown thrift outlets after which some “assurance-insurance” items present in Paris, London, Rome and Zurich. Massive coats, gathered skirts and something cutesy or lower out have been off-limits. Braemar, Biba, Adolfo, Pierre Cardin, Madame Grès, Fernando Sanchez, Invoice Blass and Chester Weinberg have been extra her velocity. The best way she noticed issues, “One good coat a 12 months is the start of any wardrobe.”
A doer, not a primper, Ertegun’s make-up routine got here all the way down to cleaning soap, water, astringent and a bit lip balm. One other time saver was restricted hairdressing, since she preferred to swim commonly. Striving to — however not at all times assembly — a purpose of exercising thrice per week, Ertegun saved her hair lengthy sufficient to tug again and wore headpieces at night time. Her model arbiters have been Francoise de la Renta, Annette Reed and Woman Keith — the aesthetic varieties who learn, knew life and had no time for chit-chat. After noting how she was “fascinated” by Diana Vreeland, Ertegun stated, “She’s a doer, too…individuals who bore me, I simply don’t see.”
Progressive in her model, too, Ertegun appreciated versatility — as evidenced by the mink coat with a zip-off hemline, David Evans boots that mounted like stockings and pairing an Yves Saint Laurent “Smoking” with a nightdress styled to be a shirt that she had unearthed within the flea market at Marche Byron in Paris in 1967.
Together with her day job, Ertegun took a equally uncluttered method to adorning — simplicity, drama and non-matching colours. In one in all her WWD interviews within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, she described her husband as “amused however approving” of the enterprise. “In any case, our husbands lent us the cash to start out the enterprise, or how else might now we have funded it.”
However Ertegun wasn’t precisely a beginner at inside design, having had a lifelong curiosity in adorning and a one-year stint on the New York Faculty of Design. However faculty days bored Ertegun. “Their style and mine are so completely totally different. They have been speaking avocado and gold. I hope American style has modified.”
The well-heeled Ertegun and Rayner racked up shoppers like Saks Fifth Avenue, the Carlyle Resort and Jerome Robbins. And Ertegun took that position critically, by being dressed and able to go by 8 each morning. With out query, the socialite didn’t want the cash, however she instructed WWD that she would hate to work and never earn cash. “It appears type of dilettante,” she stated. By way of skilled recommendation, she praised Billy Baldwin’s counsel of “by no means to make use of something or to rent anybody low-cost to get worth for our pals.”
Vogue and residential design have been simply accents in a full and various life. As she as soon as defined to WWD, “Most of my pals don’t take themselves that critically. They’re extra pure and so they wish to have enjoyable. In any case, if it’s not enjoyable, it’s probably not price it. Don’t you assume?”