With their sun- bleached, wind-blanched aesthetic, the Hamptons are the natural habitat for the song-book of classic American fashion - the button down Oxford shirt, the deck shoe, the Ray-Ban - in which style is summed up by what we invest in the simplicity of timeless shapes and motifs.
The clean lines and crisp colours of whitewashed cedar set against the clear blue skies of a New York summer and the rolling majesty of the Atlantic Ocean make America fall in love with itself all over again, as the imagination strolls through what looks like a Ralph Lauren photo shoot.
Of course creative guile ensures that the unattainable fantasy of a fashion spread in a glossy magazine is normally just that, while in contrast, the reality of the Hamptons is just as the images depict. It is where America’s aristocracy, capable of buying a handful of homes per holiday, makes its holiday home. For New York and its oaken dynasties of old money and influence, the Hamptons represent the plush tranquillity of a beachfront lawn, those lush acres the remedy for the neck-breaking altitude of Manhattan’s vertiginous high-rise sophistication.
Ever since East Hampton Village was discovered by the Title Club, a collective of New York artists, in 1878, this East Coast idyll on the easternmost tip of Long Island has been a leisure destination for those seeking refuge from the urban thrill-ride of the Big Apple. Knowingly or not, visitors here are in fact taking a journey back through American history to one of the settlements of the original pioneers from Lynn, Massachusetts - who landed Southampton in 1640.
There is an enveloping and reassuring parochial feel to this sprinkling of villages and hamlets, including Westhampton, Southampton, Bridgehampton, Sagaponack, Sag Harbor, Water Mill and East Hampton whose streets still bear the quaintly eccentric names of the area’s maritime past, such as Captains Neck Lane.
These are like no villages or hamlets on earth however. Year on year, zip codes in the Hamptons contain either the most or some of the most expensive real estate in the United States. Every summer, the cream of American society - its power dynasties, its bankers, its celebrities, its artists and its sports stars - flock to their multimillion dollar beachside wooded homes in this most unique of pastoral enclaves.
Being the village green of the nation’s elite, the Hamptons and its summer season occupy a uniquely powerful position on the global social scene. Boasting enough cool nightspots, gourmet restaurants and outlets from the world’s leading lifestyle and fashion brands, it contains enough luxury retail therapy, top tier dining, and hot nightspots to keep a small city clothed en vogue, fed in style and dancing till dawn.
The latest addition to this social vortex, the Capri, which opened last month in Southampton to great fanfare, is of such standing in this crushingly exacting social scene as to have brought a cosmopolitan benchmark to the Hamptons for the first time - Nobu.
Dubbed “the world’s sexiest restaurant”, this iconic fusion of the finest Japanese cuisine with the eclectic tastes of the world’s transient style-makers offers Capri guests the ultimate in decadent laid back dining, and is sure to take full advantage of the cornucopia of locally caught seafood available all year round.
The Capri has been conceived by an all-star team, consisting of real estate guru David Edelstein and successful Hamptons hotelier Jackie Mansfield (both partners in wildly successful Miami boutique hotel W South Beach). They are joined by Steven Kamali, an industry deal maker and one of the driving forces behind the stellar transformation of New York’s Meatpacking District.
Beyond dining, occupants of the stunningly conceived rooms by Meyer Davis Studio, featuring executive level technology and exclusive artwork by Exhibition A, are invited to lounge as never before at bespoke pool paradise The Bathing Club. Channelling the clean lines and lazy grace of its surroundings and featuring landscaped gardens, secluded spots for private dining and starlit cocktails, the intimate glow of a fire-pit, live music and outdoor screenings, this is all set to host one of the hit social scenes of the season.
In keeping with the understated chic that threads playfully though the entire project is The Beach Store. Sought-after fashion designer Cynthia Rowley presents guests with an irresistible opportunity to browse an eclectic selection of high end beach fashion and other delightfully unexpected luxury ephemera, whilst buying newspapers and magazines in anticipation of an afternoon’s carefree lounging.
The Capri is an instant classic, a note perfect reworking of the timeless Hamptons style, exuding the effortless class that typifies those places and people that orbit around this luxuriant corner of great American mythmaking.
- Benjamin Stewart
Address: 281 County Road 39A
Tel: 631 504 6575