JOAN JULIET BUCK

JOAN JULIET BUCK

“My parents and I, with my maternal grandparents, moved to Paris when I was a baby. I grew up in rented houses and furnished hotel suites without any of my family’s personal belongings. At some point, before I turned seven, a set of five bohemian glasses that were my grandmother’s arrived from America.

They completely fascinated me — I’d never seen anything like them.

Since, I’ve acquired a huge collection of glassware. What’s interesting is that among my intimate friends there are certain people who only want to drink out of certain glasses. There’s one guy who will only drink out of this one, another who will only drink out of that one. I have a woman friend who will drink everything — water, juice, red wine — out of little tequila glasses.

The point is to be able to give others an opportunity to have a relationship with my things. And to have fun, too.”

“I have a real affinity for purple; aubergine, mauve, violet — the whole spectrum. As I child, I would look at these bohemian pieces [that belonged to my grandmother], completely mesmerized by the clear glass etched into the various colors. They were made in [what was then] Czechoslovakia, probably at the turn of the 20th century. Each glass is kind of different because they’re all made by hand. I loved drinking milk out of them. But I never liked the green one. It pissed me off, because it wasn’t purple.”

“When I was editing PARIS VOGUE, there was a decoration store across the street from our offices. Upon seeing these exquisite etched glasses in the window one day, I thought, ‘Those are Nana’s glasses — I can buy my own!’ I think I bought eight? And today have three, after one shattered recently. They were very expensive; people would recognize them as coming from the decoration store and immediately knew I paid too much for them.”

“I gave 24 of these glasses, from Pottery Barn, to my best friend as a wedding gift, in 1992. They recall the bohemian pieces, and I liked them so much that I bought 12 for myself. My friend still has hers; she recently moved house in Los Angeles and showed me them in her cupboards.”

“Starting around 28, 29 years old, I kicked the habit of drinking. If I look at a glass of wine now, I’m completely drunk.

The vodka glass was a favor from friend’s party at some Russian restaurant in New York City. Of course I took it home. Who doesn’t need a shot glass with her name on it?!”

“These are hand-blown. They’re like tequila glasses. My dear friend, JOAN TEWKESBURY, who wrote the script for [the 1975 film] NASHVILLE and lives in Santa Fe, bought them for me at a flea market there. Not one is identical — talk about artisanal! They’re so beautiful to hold.”

“I’m nuts about these. They were gifts at my mother and father’s wedding, which took place in Hollywood, in 1944. My mother was called Joyce and my father was called Jules, hence the JBJ.

My parents had impeccable taste. They thought anything from the ‘50s was vile and they hated Art Deco — to them it was beneath contempt. So seeing these glasses, which are pure ‘40s, come out, was a shock. I first found them in the mid ‘60s, after our family bought and moved into a house in London, and finally unpacked stuff that had been in storage for a decade. I remember thinking, ‘Those are the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!’ I adore them.”

“In 2013, I appeared in a play called ‘SHAKESPEARE’S SISTER’ at LA MAMA [theater in New York City’s East Village]. A barman at some Irish pub near the theater gave my castmates and me these Guinness glasses. What’s hilarious is the show’s name is misspelled in the engraving.”

“Living in Paris, one succumbs to Baccarat. There was a moment when I would host these really fabulous, heavenly chaotic parties for 40 to 50 people. That’s when I bought these crystal glasses.

I remember getting a pair, thinking me and my man could drink our orange juice from them. Of course we never did that, but a piece like this does suggest a very successful older man, with a paunch, seated in a leather armchair holding the glass with two enormous ice cubes and some single malt whiskey in it. A kind of plutocrat contentment, if you will.”

CREDITS

Photography bySania Tharani

As told toAnthony Rotunno

Joan Juliet Buck is a writer and editor based in New York City. Her memoir, The Price of Illusion, comes out March 7, 2017, and is now available for pre-order.

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