“Fashion,” said the late Oscar de la Renta, “is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.” For Michaela Keszler, a Munich native who teamed up with her husband to run the ’80s-era, European fashion label Charles Chevignon, a beach house is more than a warm weather fashion accessory; it’s a casual-cool lifestyle, just like her signature white linen trousers and shirt.
“I was always interested in real estate. I renovated and rebuilt several homes,” says Keszler, who in the ’90s made Southampton her year-round residence. “A lot of friends were asking my advice when buying their homes—and then,” she adds with a laugh, “I started to notice that my advice was not so bad!” Keszler obtained her real estate license, and now makes her career pairing international buyers with the beach houses of their dreams.
“I’m more of a traditional person,” says Keszler, who steers clients away from “short-term trends” and emphasizes properties with good bones. “It’s about looking to the future and saying, ‘If I have to put it on the market tomorrow, can I sell it and get my money back?’ Staying on the safe side is important.” The same holds true in matters of style: “A bag by Hermès always holds value. Anything classic is going to be classic in 10 years.”
Just as fleeting fashion is different from true style with staying power, a house is not the same as a home. Home is where Keszler’s heart is, so she’s proud to support the Southampton Fresh Air Home, a summer camp for children with special needs. —Julia Szabo