Last Month in Mustique

Last month was the first Christmas for my shop, Across Forever Home, on the island of Mustique, on the edge of the Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. When we first imagined the store, my partner Basil Charles joked that it will take forever for inventory to arrive. That’s how we came up with the name.

As a New York interior designer who has been working on Mustique for several years, I knew he was right. But, I thought my experience prepared me for the delays. We opened last summer and most of the items arrived in time for Christmas.

This holiday season was especially festive. The sun shone every day. Everyone was driving around in mules (dune buggies). The Cotton House and The Fire Fly Inns were perpetual parties. The white sands and turquoise waters of Macaroni beach bustled with activity.

Homeowners, visitors and friends gathered on the Island for the unveiling of a statue of Colin Tennant, the third Baron Glenconner. The statue by Philip Jackson stands on a small hill overlooking the Island. Tennant is sort of the “father” of Mustique as it is today.

Joining in the celebrations was a mixed crowd of over-achievers including Mick Jagger with his attention grabbing Chihuahua Star, Brian Adams and fashion designer screenwriter and director Tom Ford. His film A Single Man, starring Colin Firth was a big topic of conversation this season.

In 1958, when Tennant purchased the island for less than $70,000, it was pretty much barren. He built a village for the natives, planted coconut palms, vegetables and fruits, and developed the fisheries. In 1960, he gave newlyweds Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon a small peninsula as a wedding present. Princess Margaret eventually built her holiday retreat “Les Jolies Eaux.” Mustique flourished. But the cost of running it depleted Tennant’s family fortune. Eventually, he lost his share in the Mustique Company and moved to St. Lucia, where he lives today

There were many parties. The Mustique Heritage Trust hosted a cocktail party at the Cotton House Resort. I carried one of the store’s red feathered fans, which we also carry in purple or black. Basil, Sarah Ann Michels, Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Carlos Picón and architect Andrew Kepler were there. New Year’s eve was a blast as it always is.

If there is a fountain of youth, it is the island of Mustique. Not only does everyone look younger there, time seems to stand still. Christmas is not a day, a week, or a month. It’s a spirit of good cheer that populates the Island.

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