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Siemens Healthineers to Buy Varian Medical for $16.4 Billion Petersen Car Week Garage Tours Begin Ahead of Virtual Shows, Concours View the Extraordinary Tuscan Garden of the Legendary Federico Forquet © Guido Taroni Climbing roses cover a pergola.

In the course of his long and extraordinary life, the protean Federico Forquet has enjoyed successful careers as a designer of fashion, interiors, and gardens, and enjoyed another fruitful vocation as a discriminating collector of rare and beautiful objects, furnishings, and pictures that 

all somehow conspire to evoke the flamboyant classicism of his native Naples, where he was born in 1931.

In 1954, the young aesthete met Cristóbal Balenciaga and so impressed the great couturier that he was invited to work alongside him in his Paris atelier for several seasons. A few years later, with the master’s blessing, Forquet returned to Italy, where he held design positions with a couple of high-profile firms in Rome before establishing his own maison de couture in 1961. From his elegant salons, Forquet dressed the swans of Italian and international jet-set society in clothes whose consummate style, wit, and élan helped define the era of La Dolce Vita.

© Guido Taroni A tufa-stone garden path flanked by herbaceous borders and partly shaded by a wisteria pergola at the Tuscan retreat of Federico Forquet.

But a decade later, Forquet, mindful of the seismic societal changes that were imperiling his sequestered world of costly custom-made clothing, and disinterested in seriously pursuing branding and licensing opportunities or in developing a ready-to-wear line that would involve employing additional designers, shuttered his house while still at the top of his 

game. “If you create an empire,” he told the New York Times in 2014, “you become an emperor. But I prefer being a private and happy citizen of the world.”

After disbanding, he brought his taste to bear on a series of remarkable interiors for himself, and then to a pan-generational constellation of admiring friends and clients. As a decorator, his projects have been lauded for bravura effects achieved through fine Italian craftsmanship combined with an intrinsic sense of comfort and practicality, all subtly imbued with the creator’s joie de vivre.

© Guido Taroni An Allée of malus red sentinel trees underplanted with nepeta and pacific panorama and intriguer irises.

Forquet’s interest in garden design was nurtured in turn by his partner of 45 years, the dynamic entertainment-industry press agent Matteo Spinola, with whom he created an Edenic retreat in the rolling Renaissance landscape of Cetona in Tuscany—a project that ultimately engendered yet another career as a landscape architect. Dubbed Valle Pinciole (meaning “medlar valley” in Tuscan dialect), the modest farmhouse and barn is set on a hillside overlooking mystic Monte Cetona, famed for the healing properties of its thermal water.

© Guido Taroni Forquet and Matteo Spinola at the garden gate, c. 2005.

Through Marella Agnelli, a longtime client for his couture and later collaborator in interior design, Forquet met and befriended the revered landscape architect Russell Page and commissioned him to design a scheme for the terrace of his apartment in Rome. Page became a frequent visitor to 

Valle Pinciole and would dispense advice as an informed friend. Among Page’s suggestions were that beautiful and fragrant plants be grown in beds raised a foot off the ground to be closer to eye and nose level, and to build a wall between farmhouse and barn to create an enclosed courtyard where Forquet made a lemonary and installed a fountain. The plantings marry classical Tuscan landscape with the blowsy charm of the classic English gardens that Forquet and Spinola admired, including Sissinghurst, Hidcote, and those of Gertrude Jekyll, famed for her shimmering impressionistic herbaceous borders.

© Guido Taroni A collection of framed 19th-century dried ferns in the summer room of the guesthouse.

Spinola died in 2006, and thenceforth, as Forquet says, “Cetona became the reason for my life.”

Forquet has now bequeathed Valle Pinciole to Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the Italian national conservation trust. Even so, the indefatigable designer continues to embellish the property, which remains a living, evolving entity as dazzling, chimerical, and entertaining as the host himself. As such it will prove his enduring legacy, a testament to the warmth of his friendships and the refinement of his taste.

Excerpted from The World of Federico Forquet: Italian Fashion, Interiors, Gardens (Rizzoli).

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Sara Haines returning to ‘The View’ as co-host

Sara Haines will be returning to “The View” in September as a co-host for Season 24 of the ABC daytime talk show, Variety has learned.

Haines, 42, is no stranger to the Hot Topics table. She served as a “View” co-host for two seasons — from the fall of 2016 through the summer of 2018 — where she offered her takes on the headlines of the day, pop culture and celebrities. Prior to “The View,” Haines had served as a lifestyle anchor for “GMA Weekend.”

A representative at ABC declined to comment.

Haines will fill the seat at the table left by Abby Huntsman, who exited the show in January 2020.

In the last few months, Haines has filled in occasionally on “The View,” which h as had its co-hosts – Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Meghan McCain and Sunny Hostin – engaging in virtual debates from home due to the coronavirus.

Election years have always led to surges in viewership for “The View.” The talk show’s ratings have been up overall under Donald Trump’s presidency, as viewers have been tuning in to make sense of the latest scandals coming out of the White House.

When Haines first arrived at “The View” in 2016, the show was struggling to forge a new identity following a revolving door of co-hosts and the retirement of creator Barbara Walters in 2014. Haines was appointed to the show as Ben Sherwood, the president of Disney/ABC Television Group at the time, had the idea to recruit more “GMA” talent — including Paula Faris — to “The View.”

Then, in 2016, Sherwood and ABC News executives mandated that Haines abandon “The View” for a third hour of “GMA,” called “GMA Day,” with Michael Strahan. The new offering – which was later rebranded as “Strahan, Sara and Keke” (with Keke Palmer) – flopped in the ratings and was canceled in March, leaving Haines without a TV home.

In its early days of “The View,” Walters thought her talk show could survive maybe one or two panel changes. But over its 23-year history, “The View” has had almost as many cast shake-ups as “SNL.” Haines is the third co-host to attempt a comeback.

In 2014, Rosie O’Donnell tried a second stint on “The View,” following a successful turn as moderator in 2006-07, which lasted for five months before she quit. And in 2015, Behar — who had been fired from “The View” in 2013 when daytime executives foolishly thought the show had become too political — returned, helping usher in a successful post-Walters era.

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