Photographs by Daniel Krieger
On an impossibly gorgeous day at the tail end of summer, we headed out to the Hamptons heaped with caviar and some unlikely accoutrements. Our journey’s end: the Hearst family estate, where MAISON-DE-MODE.COM—the online purveyor of luxury ethical fashion created by Amanda Hearst and Hassan Pierre—would hold an exclusive trunk show al fresco. Our mission: to spoil guests with Pointy Snout caviar, served up in sustainable style.
We arrived at a scene that shocked with its beauty. Pitch blue sky against unending deep green lawn. Kaleidoscopic gardens. The whole aspect sloping down to a glint of pond. Skittering shapes dotting the lawn—a consortium of dogs, cats, gaggles of geese, clutches of ducks, a brood of exotic chickens, bossy swans. Was that an ostrich? Yep. Plus a baby donkey.
So much natural beauty served as the perfect reminder that we were here in service of its preservation. We share MAISON-DE-MODE.COM’s commitment to luxury with a conscience—respecting natural resources, making the smallest possible environmental footprint, working with artisan producers who care about their impact. The lucky part is we don’t have to preach. You can find joy in upholding these principles. You can offer gestures of real luxury to people, as evidenced by the curated collections of au courant eco-friendly goods on offer at the trunk show, nary a hemp sack among them.
And consider our own newest addition, avventura—homemade crepe cone, gelato and caviar concoctions we humbly began to unveil for the arriving crowds.
Truthfully, the kit is so original that it befuddles a few people. The provenance of the name avventura is place and time—memories of a 60’s childhood in Italy and meeting the man behind path-breaking works of modern cinema. In our own invention, we mirror Antonioni’s new filmic grammar with a novel culinary lexicon, a fresh, eye-opening, tastebud-popping experience. We craft each cone just so, with purpose, recalling Antonioni’s meticulous visual compositions. Gravity and insouciance swivel up in a kind of uncomplicated pleasure—as in, “Why didn’t I think of that? It’s so easy and obvious?” It’s like watching Antonioni’s characters do unexpected things at unexpected times. You feel surprise, but then say to yourself: that is exactly the way things should happen.
We’d had the idea for years. For this occasion, we worked with Chef Jeff Thompson of Wheatleigh resort in Lenox, MA, and Chef David Standridge of Café Clover in NYC and The Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton. (Clover’s founder Kyle Hotchkiss Carone was Europe-bound.) Jeff baked organic crepe cones, infused with savory herbs from his kitchen garden. David churned out gallons of all-natural gelato until he had just the right three flavors and colors: activated charcoal (black), parsley, dill and tarragon (green), and orange blossom (cream-colored). The final cut: gelato scooped into hand-shaped cones, topped with edible blossoms and a glistening mound of Pointy Snout caviar—a fitting twist on “caviar on ice.”
As the event kicked into full swing, guests posed for Patrick McMullan, tried on MAISON-DE-MODE.COM’s wares, and licked caviar off their cones (or straight off spoons) with all the euphoria of kids in a candy shop. (There were several of them, too.) None other than Eric Ripert could be heard exclaiming over the flavor. Perhaps the overall giddiness was helped al
ong by the sun, or the idyllic setting, or maybe even the arrival of Amanda’s pup Finn, romping with canine playmate Gus (Katie Lee’s plus one). We like to think it had a little something to do with avventura—the young pleasure of a simple summertime happiness colliding unexpectedly with the taste of an unmistakably grown-up luxury: Caviar a la MAISON-DE-MODE.COM.