Yves Saint Laurent once rhapsodized, “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.” He was speaking, of course, of the incomparable French aristocrat, fashion designer, and FASHION GODDESS Vicomtesse Jacqueline de Ribes, who –it was just announced – will be the subject of the next exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Anna Wintour Costume Center this November.
The breathtaking de Ribes, who has been described as “the Last Queen of Paris,” hails from a prestigious French family, and started her career in fashion in her 20s, working at Oleg Cassini and Emilio Pucci. She earned a place on the International Best Dressed List for the first time in 1956, and later made the Hall of Fame in ’62. She also had her own couture line that was in production from 1982 to 1996.
Countess Jacqueline de Ribes has prepared for this fall’s Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition in her honor with an exacting regal eye and round-the-clock work ethic.
No one knows that better than Harold Koda, the Costume Institute’s curator in charge, who has spent recent months combing through 1,000 pieces of de Ribes’ haute couture collection and her own designs. Considered by many to be the epitome of Parisian elegance — whom Valentino once dubbed “The Last Queen of Paris” — de Ribes was among the “Swans” photographed by Richard Avedon and was written about by Truman Capote. Beyond having the glacial beauty and attractiveness of a swan, “she was actually negotiating in the world, working to be in business all her life. Even when she was newly a mother, she always had a job,” Koda said.
Together they have culled 60 couture and ready-to-wear ensembles — from Giorgio Armani, Pierre Balmain, Bill Blass, Marc Bohan for the house of Dior, Roberto Cavalli, John Galliano, Madame Grès (Alix Barton), Valentino Garavani and her own label, among others — that date from 1959 through to the present. “Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style” will go on view at the Costume Institute’s Anna Wintour Costume Center on Nov. 19 and run through Feb. 21.
Her look is dramatic, lux, and beyoooooond chic. It’s about the total look, with the focus usually being her regal helmet of hair and THAT NOSE. That gorgeous, aquiline, aristocratic nose. Let’s look at some pics of the glamorous vicomtesse through the decades, and sigh, and wonder aloud which outfits will be included in the exhibit.
That last pic, tho. GASP. She’s what Audrey Hepburn wishes she looked like in the ’60s.