Sunday, 31 October 2010

"She had more than taste. She had audacity."

“São wanted to astonish,” says her best friend, the American philanthropist Deeda Blair. “I don’t think it ever entered her thinking to be concerned about how other people perceived her. She was never afraid of being wrong.”

"She thought nothing of turning up at Studio 54 after a black-tie party wearing an evening dress and major diamonds or rubies from Van Cleef & Arpels."

"She had more than taste. She had audacity."

Recently Vanity Fair had a full-length feature on one of the most eccentric of all the 20th Century society hostesses, the late, great São Schlumberger. With her extravagant parties, her outrageous choice of interior design and fashion, her patronage of modern art (installing pieces by Dali and Warhol alongside priceless baroque furniture), rivalries with other grande dames of Paris, and not least her numerous public affairs with much younger men (with the apparent blessing of her millionaire husband), she certainly set the gossip columns ablaze!

Right up to her dotage she knew how to shock the establishment and when she unveiled her masterpiece, her newly designed apartment, in 1992 the fashionable mavens did not know what to make of it:
...nothing shocked Paris - a city where taste is everything - more than her over-the-top new apartment, on Avenue Charles Floquet in the Seventh Arrondissement. Conceived as a neo-Baroque fantasyland by the London decorator Gabhan O’Keeffe, it set São’s contemporary art and 18th-century furniture in a series of rooms that combined France with Portugal, Scotland with Persia, and Egypt with Hollywood. The pièce de résistance was the Andalusian-style terrace, with the Eiffel Tower rising directly above it. Dinner-party debates over whether O’Keeffe’s creation was “innovative” or “abominable” got so out of hand that at one soirée a pair of socialites had to be pulled apart before they came to blows. “It’s simply hideous,” said one visitor, “but totally fabulous!”
Here at Dolores Delargo Towers, we hope one day to have similar reviews. In the meantime, however, it is sufficient just to indulge oneself in reading about this magnificent lady... Enjoy!

Read the Vanity Fair article, "The Wow of São"

Read more on the sublime House of Beauty and Culture blog

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