Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Ricky Lauren covers the August issue of Hamptons Magazine and sits down down with old friend Jill Rappaport to talk Ralph, the Hamptons and food. Check out some of the highlights below.

You’ve published four books; this one is not only a love letter to the Hamptons, but it’s also a beautiful collection of cherished memories for your family. What inspired you to do this type of book now?
I think about my children, and what would make them happy, what they can take with them into the future, and the traditions that we shared—sitting around the table having meals together, telling stories. It was something that I didn’t want to forget. I don’t think they do either; they’re very sensitive about those things. The book is a gift from me to them.

Looking through the book and reading these recipes, they’re not only delicious, but also quite healthy. The table, the meal, that was always such an important part of your lives—tell me about that.
We would meet for every meal and just enjoy being together at the table. I’ve collected recipes over the years, since Ralph and I were married. I cared a lot about being healthy and what everybody was eating, so the recipes that we loved so much, I altered to make them healthier. I also cut down on a lot of ingredients because I don’t like complicated recipes. Now with the availability of fresh food and organic things, it’s goody-fantastic, especially in the Hamptons where you’re right by the sea and the farm stands—we’re very fortunate in that area.

This book is truly a feast for your eyes and mouth, but more importantly, the beautiful photographs and the original watercolors and drawings from you. Who knew you were such a talented artist?
Thank you! It was a surprise to me, too. Years ago I did some paintings, and I had a teacher who would give me lessons. Then she said, “Okay, you’re on your own. Now you can do whatever—just try.” And I didn’t try at all. Time went by, and suddenly here I am doing this book because I said I really want to try again. I had so much fun, and I’m really going to pursue it a little bit more now.

Tell me about the importance that the Hamptons has played in your family’s lives and your own over the past 40 years?
From the very beginning, when my oldest son was a baby, we said “It’s hot in the city; where can we can go?” And in those days people would say, “You’re a young couple; why don’t you see what life is like in the Hamptons?” We did, and we thought it was just beautiful. We would go back and forth, spending the weekends at the beach, and during the week we would go back into the city. Then the other children were born, and we moved from Southampton to Amagansett.

You have always been considered to be the low-key, elegant, soft-spoken woman who, in reality, is the true driving force behind the king of American design. Tell me about your impact and the key role you’ve played with Ralph and the dynasty he has created for American design.
It’s difficult for me to speak for him; it’s a good question to pose to him: “What does your wife mean to you? Is she your muse?” I think I’ve heard that before. I’m not that involved in the business. I’m the matriarch—more the person who, in the end, says no.

But, if you had to step out of your modesty box a little bit, how do you feel you’ve inspired him?
I think by being very honest, telling him exactly what I think when I see something. I never see the shows before everybody else. He’s always working to surprise me, and to surprise everyone, and to create something the world is going to love and enjoy and treasure and hopefully keep for many, many years. Each time I come to the show, it’s something new for me, and I never know what to expect. He’ll look to me and say, “What do you think?” And I’ll tell him exactly what I think—good or bad, but, for the most part, it’s always good.

Make sure to check out the full digital issue of Hamptons Magazine here.


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