For at least the last 150 years, the rolling, wooded hills of New York State’s scenic Westchester County have attracted American aristocrats and other financial fat cats looking for a bucolic escape from the hurly-burly of Manhattan. Rockefellers and van Cortlandts built palatial country estates, and some of the area’s current crop of upper-crust homeowners include Martha Stewart, Ralph Lauren, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Georgina Chapman, and Richard Gere. Billionaire financier George Soros keeps a lavish spread in the area and Bill and Hillary Clinton moved to low-key Chappaqua after they left the White House in 2001, while the Trump family presides over a historic 230-acre estate in tony Bedford known as Seven Springs.
One of the posh and picturesquely pastoral area’s newest residents is fashion world royal Alexander Wang who’s recently shelled out $1.85 million — a good chunk over the $1.75 million asking price — for a carefully preserved and updated midcentury pavilion in the affluent hamlet of Katonah. Completed in 1960 and reported to have been designed by a couple of unnamed Bauhaus-trained architects, the low-slung contemporary pavilion sits on almost five acres of rolling meadows surrounded by pristine woodlands.
With stark white walls warmed by honey-toned hardwood floors, the wood-accented stucco and glass residence is composed of three distinct wings divided by two stone-paved courtyards. A wall of windows in the living room frames a painterly view of the surrounding trees, and the not-especially spacious but cutting-edge kitchen is open to a roomy and sun-filled combination dining area and family room. Two guest bedrooms face the front of the house, where a long driveway is bordered by a rustic stacked stone wall, while the primary bedroom tumbles out through a wall of windows to a slender balcony with serenely leafy view.
Near the gated entrance atop a two-car garage, a detached office, art studio or guesthouse sports concrete floors painted dark grey and polished to a light-reflecting luster. There’s a small bathroom and a huge wall of windows fills the sleek all-white eat-in kitchen with light. The house is snugly burrowed in to the sloped terrain where overlooks a great sweep of lawn, while a tear drop-shaped swimming pool is discreetly placed off to one side surrounded by lush plantings and, somewhat unexpectedly, a classic picket fence.
Briefly Creative Director at the venerable French fashion house Balenciaga, now head of his own eponymous brand (and famous among fashion’s beau monde for throwing fantastic, much-buzzed-about Fashion Week parties), the San Francisco-born sartorial superstar lives primarily in New York City where in the fall of 2016 he shelled out almost $8 million for a nearly 2,800-square-foot condo in a snazzy, starchitect-designed building alongside the Hudson River in the fashionable and artsy West Chelsea neighborhood. The two-bedroom and three-bath spread, featured a few years ago in Architectural Digest, has 11-foot ceilings, vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows — some with up-close views of a solid brick wall, fastidiously tailored millwork and a 600-square-foot terrace with an oblique river view.