Built to Last

Art shows, hairstyles, homes—Lucy Chadwick and her husband, Duffy, spend their lives creating exceptional stuff.

Duffy and Lucy Chadwick
Photographer: Steven Brahms Stylist: Sam Walker

British Invasion Lucy Chadwick and her husband, Duffy (who goes by the single moniker), are every bit as interesting as one would assume at first glance. Chadwick, the director of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, spends her days conferring with artists like Rob Pruitt and Rirkrit Tiravanija, whose show inaugurated the gallery’s Rome outpost last month; Duffy, the British-born hairstylist, creates unforgettable coifs for the likes of Dior, Miu Miu, and this magazine. Chadwick, the daughter of an architect and a former buyer for Liberty, the London department store, grew up in a converted pub in Soho. She studied fine art at the University of Oxford and began her career at Tate Britain, working for Tate Etc., the museum’s in-house publication. It was while running the gallery Museum 52 in London five years ago that she met Gavin Brown, who lured her to New York, where Duffy, her boyfriend of two years, was already living. “She moved here for him, not me,” jokes Duffy, who first got into hairdressing with a Saturday job sweeping the floor of a barbershop in Surrey. He left school at 15 for a full-time apprenticeship at Vidal Sassoon in London; then, in a curious twist of fate, he found himself seated next to Sassoon at a 2012 dinner for Urs Fischer, one of Gavin Brown’s artists. The legendary hairdresser passed away a few weeks later, and Duffy has since been named global ambassador of the brand.

Ars Longa Two years ago, after Chadwick found wig hair on her toothbrush, she figured it was time they moved from their open loft in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg to a place where Duffy could have his own workspace. They settled on a five-floor brownstone, in nearby Bedford-Stuyvesant, which they have been restoring to its original turn-of-the-century glory ever since. (Duffy’s studio is in the basement.) The house is decorated with a mix of midcentury furniture passed down from Chadwick’s family—including a set of Eames chairs and a brass Milo Baughman coffee table—and elements Duffy made himself, like the kitchen island. “It feels good to create something that will last forever,” he says, adding that his father worked in restoration. “What I do for my day job disappears once the model washes her hair.” Art, much of it received as gifts, is everywhere: A Camille Henrot drawing hangs in the bathroom, a Sarah Braman sculpture juts out from a corner of the kitchen, and a Sturtevant Wanted poster—one of Chadwick’s prized possessions—sits on a shelf in the living room. “She was an unparalleled inspiration, a prophet,” says Chadwick of the late artist, with whom she worked on a show at Gavin Brown in 2012. “We spent a perfect afternoon drinking wine and talking, and she gave me the piece afterward.” When not in the city, the couple pound nails at their country place upstate, which was a derelict barn with neither a roof nor doors when they bought it seven years ago. And while the house still lacks basics like doorknobs (they use scissors to jimmy the locks), the property will soon feature a geodesic dome that Brown gave them as a wedding gift; Duffy plans to turn it into a guest house.

A Style All Their Own Chadwick’s proclivity for tailored, richly textured clothes has made her a style star of sorts. A peek inside her closet reveals a plethora of button-up shirts, vintage Levi’s (some pilfered from Duffy’s father), and Céline pieces, which she often wears—as she did on her wedding day last summer at their country house—with reissued 1970s Converse sneakers and aviator glasses. “I’m a sucker for classic things,” she says. As for Duffy, his signature look consists of jeans (Rag & Bone made him a denim suit for their nuptials) and a beard of biblical proportions. “My father, my brothers—they all have them,” he explains. “For me, it’s the norm.” And he doesn’t intend to shave it. “I think Lucy would leave me if I did,” he says, noting that he’s also hands-off when it comes to cutting her hair. “Most of the time, I just do it myself,” Chadwick says. Duffy adds gallantly, “She’s actually better at it than I am.”

Photos: Built to Last

Duffy and Lucy Chadwick with their dog, Daisy. Derek Lam top, $1,190,

Photographer: Steven Brahms Stylist: Sam Walker

Sarah Braman’s Still in Love, 2010.

At a New York Fashion Week event, 2014. Photo by Neil Rasmus/BFA.

Chadwick in their Brooklyn kitchen at the island Duffy made from church altar doors.

Photographer: Steven Brahms Stylist: Sam Walker

Duffy working on their upstate house, 2010. Courtesy of Chadwick and Duffy.

Chadwick laying concrete upstate. Courtesy of Chadwick and Duffy.

A 2005 issue of Tate Etc. Courtesy of Tate Etc.

Sturtevant’s Pacman, 2012, a work shown at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. Courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise.

Duffy with his father, Glyn, 2014. Courtesy of Chadwick and Duffy.

Her signature sneakers.

Photographer: Steven Brahms

Chadwick and Duffy at their wedding, in upstate New York, 2014. Courtesy of Chadwick and Duffy.

Duffy’s work for Dior, 2015. Courtesy of Dior.

Chadwick and Gavin Brown at the New Museum’s 35th Anniversary Spring Gala, 2012. Photo by Neil Rasmus/BFA.

Alex Katz’s Duffy and Lucy, 2013. Courtesy of Gavin Brown’s enterprise.

Her closet.

Photographer: Steven Brahms

A photograph of the couple on their wedding day.

Photographer: Steven Brahms

The couple at home in Brooklyn.

Photographer: Steven Brahms Stylist: Sam Walker

Sturtevant’s Wanted poster, 1969.

Photographer: Steven Brahms

The finished renovation. Courtesy of Chadwick and Duffy.

Duffy, left, at London Fashion Week, 2014. Courtesy of Chadwick and Duffy.

Detail of Untitled, 2014, by Bjarne Melgaard, one of Gavin Brown’s artists. Courtesy of Chadwick and Duffy.

A portrait of the couple (bottom) by their friend the makeup artist Frank B. Courtesy of Chadwick and Duffy.

An Urs Fischer table in Chadwick’s office. Courtesy of Chadwick and Duffy.


Makeup by Frank B. at the Wall Group. Photograph assistant: Adam Kremer. Fashion assistant: Ryann Foulke.