their new house, Phyllis’ favorite clothes, the presents they exchange and their son, Christian
When did you and Mike begin looking for your new house?
A little while after we moved into our old house on Sunset Plaza Drive. We moved into that house in March of 1966. At the time it seemed like a place for us, but we moved into it just before it started to fall down around our ears: We realized that fairly soon we would need a home of our own. We needed a place that was big enough for us to be comfortable and we just sort of sprawled out of this one, because there were instruments, amplifiers, and dogs all over. We decided to stick with that house until we found a house we really wanted.
How long did you look for the house you’re now in?
I guess we looked for about six months and we looked at a lot of places. I was going out every day and looking at four different places. If one of them struck me right, I would take Mike back that night and we would discuss it. We decided on one other place before we found this place and the deal fell through and later we decided it just wasn’t right. It wasn’t nearly as magnificent as the one we bought.
Did you have the help of a decorator?
The decorator didn’t tell us what we should or shouldn’t have in the house. We would tell him what we wanted and he would tell us where to get it. I would say, “This is the feeling I want from this room. I want it to be warm and substantial, comfortable and rich looking and I would like these colors.” He would say okay and would show me samples. I’d say, “Okay and yes, this is what I was thinking about.”
What kind of things have you put in just for Christian?
We had part of the grounds leveled off and landscaped and a lawn put in the lots of paths to walk round them. We didn’t put in many special things for Christian, because he’s very imaginative and he likes to improvise. We want to get him a swing set and monkey bars, because you can pretend so many things with swings and bars. As far as toys, I don’t believe in very many toys that are all manufactured and have everything there. They can only be one thing—what the manufacturer intended them to be. But if you give a child just a thing, a piece of something, that gives them more happiness.
Around the house, do you like to wear slacks?
Around the house I mostly put on shifts, because they’re easier to get around in and work in. I love very detailed beautiful clothing, not fancy or frilly, but beautiful. Beautifully tailored. I have two pants suits that are my favorite outfits.
Have you had much chance to wear your chinchilla outfit?
I wear it so many places, because it’s that kind of thing. It’s a freaky outfit that you have to wear casually, because it’s so extravagant and you have to be off hand about it. I wore it around London a lot. I like to wear it if I’m going shopping because it’s such a knock out and you know you’re going to get good service if you walk in in that. It’s such a silly gift. I never in the world, if I had all the money in the world, would have bought it.
Did Mike pick it out for you?
Mike had it made especially for me. He designed the whole thing. It was a real surprise.
Did he give it to you on a special occasion?
It was one of my Christmas presents last year. I opened up the corner of the tissue paper and I knew what it was. I never had seen chinchilla in person, but I knew what it was. I’d seen it in pictures and the markings on it are so unmistakable and I said, “Oh, my gosh! Chinchilla!” I opened it up and the skirt and coat were just so fantastic. Everytime I wear it I feel so beautiful and Mike is always petting the coat.
Does Mike pick any of your other clothes?
The clothes that I like best are the clothes that he comes with me to buy. He says, “Oh, I love that on you.” Our tastes are the same, but Mike will usually make me buy something more extravagant than I usually pick. If I go out and want to buy a dress, I will go out and pick out a mini dress. But when I go shopping with Mike, it’s always a whole outfit. It’s always a really elegant suit or something like that.
Do you like to wear beaded or suede things?
I would love to have some stuff like that, but nobody can do it. Mike gets all of his suede things done by the studio and I feel like I shouldn’t go in and ask them to do something for me. If Mike suggested it I’m sure everybody would be happy to do it. I’ve always wanted a jacket with layers of fringe suede and from the arms down the back would have fringe everywhere.
Is it hard choosing presents for Mike now?
It’s almost impossible. He usually gets the things that he wants before I even have a chance to think of them. If I buy him a present it has to be something very personal. It’s funny because when he got the chinchilla made, I had gone to the same fur store and he didn’t know it. I had gotten a beautiful coat and I had the lapels and the collar done in neutral just for him so that it would be very individual. We both got surprises from the same place! Last Christmas I tracked down a guitar that was rare and he liked that.
Does Christian give you presents at Christmas time?
Christian and I got a present for Mike, and I wrote on it “To Daddy from Christian and Phyllis.” Christian gives me things like he’ll go and pick a flower for me and bring it to me.
He is very affectionate and there are things that he does for me that always make me feel good. He comes up to me and says, “Oh, give me your love, mommy,” and just throws himself into my arms. Like you are the most wonderful person in the whole world. And he will do that several times a day. If I’m blue or unhappy he’s very sensitive to it and he’ll come over and say, “What happened, mommy, it’s alright,” and he’ll give me a big hug. He’s a very sensitive child.