Saturday, 5 November 2011

Style is what makes you different

Vanity Fair, September 2010:
On the evening of December 5, 1969, the beau monde was assembling for dinners at the most elegant tables in Paris, pre-gaming for the fancy-dress party of the year, if not the decade — Baron Alexis de Redé’s “Bal Oriental.” Among the most impenetrable of these preparatory gatherings was that of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the international jet set’s de facto king and queen.

Dining with the elect at the Windsors’ that night was couturier Oscar de la Renta. “The first course, the second course, the third course, and finally dessert arrived,” de la Renta recalls, “and still Jacqueline de Ribes had not appeared. The Duke was furious!” Suddenly the dining-room doors opened, and in glided the Vicomtesse de Ribes. An exotic vision, the aristocratic beauty was swaddled from the pinnacle of her tasseled hat to the tips of her pointed slippers in a fantastically opulent Turkish disguise, ingeniously cobbled together by the Vicomtesse herself from three of her old haute couture dresses; organza lamé from a remnant market; and a sable cape, acquired from an impoverished ballerina. Recalls de la Renta, “It was a show. And she was the star. No one knew like Jacqueline the power of an entrance.”

People magazine, December 1985:
Yves Saint Laurent once gushed, "She is the pearl in the king of Poland's ear, the Queen of Sheba's tallow-drop emerald, Diane de Poitiers' crescent tiara, the Ring of the Nibelungen. She is a castle in Bavaria, a tall, black swan, a royal blue orchid." Yves, in short, kind of liked her.

Her idea of the common touch is to wear Calvin Klein jeans at home. If the candles in the candelabra aren't all the same height, the servants get a stern lecture.

New York Times, 12th April 2010:
Fashion and style are two of the great loves in the life of the vicomtesse, who was launched into society by her marriage in 1948 at age 18; and who was on the Best Dressed list so often that she had entered the Hall of Fame by 1962. By then photographers such as Richard Avedon, Horst and Irving Penn had captured her elegant profile above the silhouette that her husband described last week as of a "magnificent gazelle."

"They say I am the last survivor of the Beistegui ball - it sounds like surviving the Titanic," said the countess, referring to one of the grandest social events of the 20th century: the masked oriental ball thrown in 1951 in Venice by Mexican/French heir Carlos de Beistegui, with the clotted cream of international society from the Duchess of Windsor to the Aga Khan.

It Girl blog:
In 1983, during Paris Fashion Week she presented a 14 look collection at her house. Yves Saint Laurent lent her his lighting and sound people and he sat front row along with Pierre Bergé, Ungaro and Valentino. "Everybody was prepared to ridicule the society lady making fashion. But she made beautiful clothes. Jacqueline's an elegant lady with a naughty twist," said Women's Wear Daily.

"I'm designing for a woman with my sense of elegance," de Ribes says, "someone who is astonishing without creating astonishment. I want to dress the anti-tarty, sexy woman."

The collection was a critical and commercial hit. Saks Fifth Avenue signed her to an exclusive three-year contract. Saks even made mannequins that were replicas of her own image!

"Style is what makes you different" – Vicomtesse Jacqueline De Ribes (born 14th July 1929)

Jacqueline De Ribes in Wikipedia


  1. What a profile! & I love the quote :-) So true........we are living proof, dahling........

  2. We are indeed, daaahling! Jx


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