"On the release of her new book, style doyenne Ann Getty throws open the doors to her treasure-filled San Francisco house.
On a recent Friday afternoon, Ann Getty, porcelain skin delicately touched with a dash of rouge and her Titian-red hair swept back, is sitting in the mirrored and gilded dining room of her San Francisco house, under a tiered ormolu chandelier originally owned by the famed fashion maverick Daisy Fellowes. Getty is finalizing the schedule for an upcoming trip to Paris with her eldest granddaughter, Ivy. "I'm planning it the way we used to do Paris with the boys—lots of walking," says Getty, who is dressed in taupe Loro Piana slacks, a pale-blue cashmere sweater, and an artfully knotted green-and-cream cashmere gauze scarf. "We have long lists of restaurants from Francophile friends. We'll be going everywhere on the Métro, changing trains, crisscrossing Paris. Of course, we'll go to the Musée d'Orsay to see my Pierre Bonnard portrait of pianist Misia Sert that I've loaned them. That will be exciting."
The only Parisian delicacy Getty won't be tasting, however, is couture. "I used to attend the couture shows, but they told me I was the most impatient client they ever had," she says. "I never enjoyed fittings, standing for hours with pins sticking into me. But I did Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino, and I loved Balmain in the era when Oscar de la Renta was there."
Tall and lithe with regal posture, Getty has worn gilded Emanuel Ungaro gowns and showstopping JAR jewels with panache all around the globe: St. Petersburg, London, New York, and San Francisco. But these days, though she still appreciates a sartorial splash, she's more likely to be found hard at work in her design studio in a white Gap button-down—exquisitely hand-ironed, of course—and tailored Levi's jeans. ("For years, Hermès was the only company that made pants long enough for me," before she switched to American denim.)
"I find it rather amusing when I'm described as a socialite," she says, laughing. "It's no longer my focus. I go out once a month, barely, just to maintain my so-called status." Happy to leave the late nights to others, Getty has turned her full attention to her clients, and her team, led by her senior designer of close to 20 years, Maria Quiros."