THE GLAMOUR OF PARIS

Nov 19, 2015by tracey Comments

She was called the “Last Queen of Paris.” She has been considered the most glamorous, one of the most photographed, best dressed woman in the world since she was in her early twenties.

Comtesse Jacqueline de Ribes is one of those woman who embodies so much of what we love about French culture. And how fabulous that an exhibition devoted to her untouchable couture collection of clothes would open today at The Met.

I have known about Jaqueline de Ribes since I was  little girl as she was my mother’s idol.  She was the woman women wanted to be. She was born into a distinguished family, married up, was rail thin, not classically pretty, but aristocratic perfection. Swan like neck, almond eyes, long perfect patrician nose and hair that looked like it was created for a doll, long, lush and dark.

And she wore clothes, bought clothes, designed clothes and understood clothes like few do or ever have.

Despite the fact she had unlimited funds, in her fifties she decided to start a fashion line of her own.  She was fully qualified to do this as she was always fiddling with the couture that she bought.

At one point in her life she actually worked with Oleg Cassini and then Pucci as a design assistant.  And she was known for always having ideas of her own when it came to the couture she purchased.  She  gave designers  ideas as to how they could add her personal touches their creations.  And she did this  with the great designers, Balmain, (the original not the Kardashian pet) Marc Bohan at Dior and then St. Laurent when he was at Dior and when he went out on his own.  She had Armani make adjustments to suit her needs and taste.  She in essence designed with the designers and they didn’t seem to mind;  Which tells you a lot.

I have been longing for this show to open.  After almost a week of being glued to CNN and the grimness of the world we are presently confronted with, I decided to forgo work today and hit the Met shortly after it opened.

I wanted to be one of the first ones in to see it.

The show did not disappoint.  If you think of fashion as a form of art, then Jacqueline de Ribes is a walking, talking museum. And now she has a museum show to prove it.

There are two walls of changing photos of her during many phases of her life.
There are two walls of changing photos of her during many phases of her life.

wall of photos2 - 1

The very first outfit in the show, Pierre Balmain suit from the sixties.
The very first outfit in the show, Pierre Balmain suit from the sixties.
Bill Blass - 1983
Bill Blass – 1983 – I love that she wore a fancy puffy coat back then.
The 80's - here she mixed Norma Kamali, her own designs and St. Laurent.
The 80’s – here she mixed Norma Kamali, her own designs and St. Laurent.

 

Yves St. Laurent - 1969
Yves St. Laurent – 1969
A dress from her own collection in 1983. Admittedly she says one of her favorites.
A dress from her own collection in 1983. Admittedly she says one of her favorites.
Her own designs - 1983
Her own designs – 1983
The one with the red top is Jaqueline de Ribes- 1989
The one with the red top is Jaqueline de Ribes- 1989
St Laurent and Christian Dior. These just wowed me.
St Laurent and Christian Dior. These just wowed me.
A Dior dress that was only made for four women in the world.
A Dior dress that was only made for four women in the world.
This white series is something else. The two long ones are her own designs. The lace one is Valentino.
This white series is something else. The two long ones are her own designs. The beaded and  lace one is Valentino.
For me this is the perfect dress.
For me this is the perfect dress.
Close up of the work on the Valentino
Close up of the work on the Valentino
The story of this is that when St. Laurent was closing up shop, Pierre Bergé told her to pick a few dresses from the last collection, she picked three of the same dress from former collection.
The story of this is that when St. Laurent was closing up shop, Pierre Bergé told her to pick a few dresses from the final collection.  Instead she chose three of the same dress from a former collection that she already had in her wardrobe.
Black Armani Privé skirt, with her own top and belt.
Black Armani Privé skirt, with her own top and belt.
The one on the right is Cavalli. I find it hard to imagine her wearing them.
The one on the right is Cavalli. I find it hard to imagine her wearing them.
This is a very famous costume she had designed for The Bal Oriental in 1969
This is a very famous costume she had designed for The Bal Oriental in 1969
Close up of the details.
Close up of the details.

Inspiration

This is a gown she designed for a Proust themed ball.
This is a gown she designed for a Proust themed ball.
This she had designed by Raymundo de Larrain for a My Fair Lady Ball in 1965.
This she had designed by Raymundo de Larrain for a My Fair Lady Ball in 1965.
The details of the hem.
The details of the hem.
St Laurent 1981
St Laurent 1981

 

Elegance is an attitude, a frame of mind. An intuition. a refusal. a rigor, a research, a knowledge.

~ Jaqueline de Ribes