Believe it or not, there was a time when Martha Stewart wasn’t permanently a wise master of hosting, conservatively dressed, and sporting a perfectly coiffed blonde bob. Stewart proved as much on Wednesday, when she posted a throwback photo of herself on her (excellent) Instagram account that made the internet go wild.
“My assistant found this great photo of me in my library at turkey hill Wish it was taken last month !!!photo by Henry wolf,” she captioned the picture, in which the former model wears a black strapless minidress with sheer black pantyhose and black pumps and poses by an armchair, surrounded by books and flowers. Perhaps most surprising of all is Stewart’s hair, which falls well past her shoulders and isn’t sleekly styled to frame her face.
Though Stewart doesn’t reveal exactly when the glamorous snapshot was taken, her dress and hair point toward the 1980s, before Stewart had built her far-reaching media brand from the bottom up, before she’d become the first self-made female billionaire in the U.S., and before she met Snoop Dogg. She does mention in the caption that the photo was taken at Turkey Hill, the Westport, Connecticut, farmhouse she and then-husband Andrew bought in 1971. In the decades spanning from then until Stewart sold the property, in the early 2000s, she oversaw several renovations of the home and took her fans inside it in the pages of her cookbooks, as she explained in a post on her website.
“Turkey Hill was a dream place for my family and me for many years. It taught us, it nurtured us, it fed us, and it occupied us in so many wonderful and instructive ways. I would not be who I am today without the vast knowledge I gained there, on that small bit of paradise,” Stewart wrote in her magazine in 2007. “I was always so pleased when friends exclaimed about the lushness of the gardens, the beauty of the tree peonies, the vigor of the climbing roses, and the size of the cabbages. I knew that the special exposure — the gentle sloping of the land to the warmth of Long Island Sound — and the protection of the high stone wall and the cedar fencing created a sheltered garden of great possibilities.”
Please, once you catch your breath from Stewart’s beauty, also take a moment to appreciate the three-tiered table filled with dozens of separate floral arrangement.
The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide: 155 Gift Ideas from Martha Stewart, Lily Aldridge and Other People We Love
When Martha Stewart throws a holiday party, she doesn’t mess around. Every year, about 10 days before Christmas, America’s high priestess of entertaining invites more than 200 guests to her Bedford, New York, farm for an over-the-top open house straight out of the pages of her namesake magazine. There are strolling carolers and multiple Christmas hams; giant bowls of oysters, shucked à la minute and served with champagne; and one entire house (there are three on the property) devoted solely to festive desserts. “You never know what or who you’re going to see,” Stewart says. “Last year, Blake Lively came with her two children, and when you look at them sitting on the floor eating a giant piece of meringue cake, it’s just fantastic. They’re so beautiful, and they’re stuffing themselves! It’s special for them.” Special for everyone, really. How could it not be, when the main house alone is festooned with a minimum of 20 Christmas trees? “But it doesn’t look overdecorated,” Stewart is quick to point out. “You don’t feel like you’re walking into Bergdorf Goodman or something—at least, I hope not.” For Stewart, Christmas Eve itself is a more intimate affair, spent with her two young grandchildren and her daughter, Alexis, at their place in the city, where the family feasts on Alexis’s homemade fettuccine with truffles or caviar and opens their no-doubt gorgeously wrapped presents. Martha’s rule of thumb for successful gifting is simple: “If it’s something I desperately want to keep for myself, I know it’s really nice.”
Martha Stewart, at home in Bedford, New York, wears a Row sweater and Charvet shirt; Heidi Carey earrings.
Claus Porto guest soaps, $22 for set of 15, amazon.com
Martha Stewart Collection zester, $12, macys.com
Pineider stationery gift box, $495, pineider.com
Brock Collection skirt, $1,890, brock-collection.com
Ariel Dearie Flowers floral arrangement, $275, arieldearieflowers.com
Stewart wears Brunello Cucinelli coat; the Row shirt; Mish New York earrings; her own sunglasses.
Gjusta olive oil, $14, gjusta.com
Munnu the Gem Palace rings, prices upon request, munnuthegempalace.com
Martha Stewart Collection cake stand with dome, $23, macys.com
Intimissimi tank, $49, and shorts, $44, intimissimi.com
Dior Fine Jewelry earrings, price upon request, dior.com
Tod’s sandals, $645, tods.com
La DoubleJ Housewives plate, $70, ladoublej.com
Omega watch, $21,300, omegawatches.com
March candles, $10 for two, marchsf.com
The Aldridge family, a fashion-oriented clan that boasts nine siblings, including the photographer Miles and the models Saffron and Ruby, is a close-knit one. “It’s full of characters,” says Lily Aldridge, a model as well, who has strutted the Victoria’s Secret runway for nearly a decade. “And it’s everything to me.” So when she married Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill in 2011, she was eager to start her own. A year later, she gave birth to daughter Dixie Pearl. “She’s made me stronger and braver; before her I played it safe. Now I just want to have fun.” That sentiment is particularly exuberant during the holidays, which she now spends in Nashville. “I go crazy decorating the house—lights, reindeer, mistletoe, you name it.” And aside from surfing lessons and a Bulgari Serpenti ring, this year she’s asking Santa for a day at Disneyland with her daughter. “I love it—any excuse I have during Paris Fashion Week to go to Disneyland Paris, I take,” she says. “I’m a kid at heart.”
Hazel Village bear doll, $42, hazelvillage.com
Christofle bowl, $160, cristofle.com
Molli socks, $53.
Parrot drone, $600, parrot.com
Happiest Baby Snoo Smart Sleeper, $1,160, happiestbaby.com
Herno kids’ parka, $585, farfetch.com
Mary Poppins set by P.L. Travers (Juniper Books), $135, modaoperandi.com
Bonpoint sweater, $220, melijoe.com
Chiara Ferragni, aka the Blonde Salad, is all over the place: A typical week could find her hopping from Los Angeles to Milan to New York and back. Since she launched her lifestyle blog in 2009 as a platform to promote her epic adventures and the casual-chic wardrobe she brings along, Ferragni has amassed millions of Instagram followers; worked with brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior; and introduced the Chiara Ferragni Collection. So when it comes to the holidays, she is happy to stay put—and bring her family to her. “The rule is that I fly everybody, but they have to take care of the cooking,” she says. “I never cook for myself—imagine cooking for 12 people!”
Chiara Ferragni wears a Massimo Dutti shirt; Faris earrings.
Ana Khouri necklace, $150,000, anakhouri.com
Agent Provocateur bra, $130, and panties, $115, agentprovocateur.com
Swarovski choker, $200, swarovski.com
David Yurman: Cable book (Rizzoli), $95, amazon.com