Rose Marie Bravo is a legend in the fashion industry. After serving as the president of Saks Fifth Avenue from 1992-1997, she became the Chief Executive Officer of Burberry, where she is best known for her radical transformation of the Burberry brand from its conservative British roots into one of the top luxury brands in the world. Her eight year reign at Burberry resulted in an increase of nearly 2 billion in sales, and – with her appointment of Christopher Bailey as Creative Director- cemented Burberry as the hip global brand it is today. As if that weren’t enough, she currently serves on the Board of Directors of Estee Lauder Companies, Tiffany & Co., and most recently William-Sonoma Inc.
We were thrilled when she sat down to share her heirloom with us: A beautiful blue and white pottery collection (which inspired Monica, who usually shoots in black and white, to shoot in color – a first for this column) that not only reflects her passion for collecting, but the flawless taste she is famous for.
Tell us how you came to own this precious object.
My Heirloom is my blue and white pottery collection consisting of everything from teacups to pots, bowls to pitchers and plates to serving pieces.
I came to own this collection from a few treasured pieces left to me by my mother-in-law, Mary Jackey. One in particular – a pitcher with a pastoral scene – gave me much pleasure, and the desire to begin collecting. Our almost 9 years living in England and visiting Scotland, home of my husband’s ancestors, facilitated greatly this search.
From visiting Bermondsey market in London, to trips to the Cotswolds and weekends in Dornoch, Scotland; I have vivid memories of each of “the finds.” I also treasure some of the fine pieces that were given to me by my husband Bill and the few friends and family that knew of my passion.
How do you live with your heirloom?
My collection primarily resides in a newly renovated kitchen that is – you guessed it – Blue and White. I take tea often using one of the several pots and heirloom teacups, especially with my 4 granddaughters Grace, Jade, Lily and Faith (This ceremony is another relic from merry old England).
Who in your life has most influenced your personal style and taste?
I have had many people that influenced my particular style and taste, but in the career development years I have never forgotten the taste and style exhibited by Mrs. Estee Lauder. I was always amazed at how every detail of her personal presentation was exquisite and by the graciousness she exhibited to one and all. The discipline and attention to detail that went into every public occasion was extraordinary. And I loved her Blue and White Collection exhibited in the reception hall of her office!
Fill in the blank: Whenever I look at __________ I can’t help but smile.
Whenever I look at the teacups I smile. I think of the memories of “my girls” learning how to “pour tea.”
What’s the best part of your day?
The best part of the day for me is watching the sun go down. It makes me think of my Dad and how much he loved watching sunsets in his beloved Naples, Florida.
What was the most memorable gift you’ve ever given or received?
The most memorable gift I ever received was a diamond engagement ring that Bill gave me long after we were married, after years of me telling him I didn’t want one. Especially since he discovered the stone in an antique mans gold ring and had it specially mounted. Now it is never off my finger.
What family recipe do you look forward to making every holiday season?
The family recipe that I look forward to making every holiday season is a rendition of my mothers’s famous tomato and meatball sauce. The smells of the typical Italian ingredients bring back many fond memories of Mom cooking spaghetti sauce every Sunday morning after church.
What was your last purchase that you believe will mean something to you 10 years from now?
The most recent purchase that will hopefully mean something in 10 years is the new rose bushes that were recently added to the garden. As they grow they will serve as a reminder to “take time to smell the roses”.