Lunch With Valentino and Sofia Coppola, in One Act


Valentino Garavani, second from right, held a lunch on Thursday in honor of Sofia Coppola, center, at his country retreat, Château de Wideville.

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

CRESPIÈRES, France — There is something almost cinematic about Château de Wideville, the 17th-century residence outside Paris that is the country retreat of Valentino Garavani and his business partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, with its verdant lawns (mowed in perfect strips in contrasting directions to create a two-tone effect), storied past and squad of black-suited golf-cart drivers. So it made sense that the two owners would host a post-couture-week lunch there for Sofia Coppola, in honor of her recent best director prize at Cannes.

The trio got to know one another last year while working on a production of “La Traviata” at the Teatro dell’Opera Di Roma. (Ms. Coppola directed; Mr. Garavani did the costumes.) During their time together Ms. Coppola had mentioned she would love to see the Wideville gardens — there are 12, including a lilac pool. Mr. Garavani told her to come when the roses were in bloom, she mentioned she would be in Paris in July (her musician husband, Thomas Mars, is French, and they used to live in the city), and a plan was born. Though it went from a quiet visit to a lunch for 53 before you could say “goujonnette de volaille, sucrine, tomate cerise” (fillets of chicken breast, baby lettuce, cherry tomatoes).

Slide Show

Valentino Garavani Holds a Summer Lunch in Honor of Sofia Coppola

CreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Actually what Mr. Garavani said was that their friendship was “a beautiful relationship,” and he wanted to celebrate it in a casual way. Relatively speaking.

Alongside Ms. Coppola’s parents, Francis Ford Coppola and Eleanor Coppola, and friends from New York who had joined the director in Europe for a getaway, the guests included a smattering of fashion people as well as the actress Brie Larson; her fiancé, the musician Alex Greenwald; the decorator Jacques Grange; and Marisa Berenson.


The designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, left, with Mr. Garavani.

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Though lunch was to have been served on one of the lawns surrounded by a border of pink blooms, a morning thunderstorm cast a cloud over the idea, so they moved the party into a “sort of family room” in an outbuilding, replacing what Mr. Giammetti said were “huge armchairs and televisions and things” with round tables covered in blue-and-white cloth to match the china.

At Mr. Garavani’s seat, hiding under the tablecloth, was a pug. “I am the only one who will feed him from the table,” the designer confided, “so he always comes to me.”


Ms. Coppola with her father, Francis Ford Coppola.

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Perched next to him, Ms. Coppola said she loved “an old world table — it’s formal, but there’s so much warmth at the same time.”

This turned out to be something of a shared passion. Not long ago Mr. Garavani published a book called “At the Emperor’s Table,” full of recipes and table settings from his various homes around the world, and as it happens Ms. Coppola is doing a how-to book on entertaining with her friend Laurent Buttazzoni, an architect and interior designer who was also at the lunch. In the book she asks him questions about how to have dinner parties and he answers. Rizzoli will be the publisher.

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