Thursday, April 22, 2010

Doyenne of 'Le Tout Paris' receives Légion d’Honneur

Valentino is known as “The Last Emperor” of fashion, since his biopic under that title. And the Roman legend has the words for Jacqueline de Ribes, his friend, favored client and former employer.

“Jacqueline is the Last Queen of Paris,” said Valentino, as the elegant aristocrat received the Légion d’Honneur from the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, last week.

The feisty countess, 80, said that since she was born on July 14, France’s revolutionary moment, she was bound to have “fireworks” in her character. She earned the award for her cultural and philanthropic contribution to her country.

But she might also have been honored for being a hostess with the most-est — a skill she displayed at the dinner she and Count Édouard de Ribes, her husband of 62 years, gave for “le Tout-Paris” after the awards ceremony.

“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.

- Suzy Meinze for the New York Times

A well-deserved honor for a philanthropist of unceasing energy and commitment.


Reggie Darling said...

Great post! I think Deborah Devonshire may dispute De Ribes' claim as the last survivor of the Bestegui Ball, though. She and Nancy both attended it and last I checked the Dowager Duchess was still alive. But part of these ladies' charms is their capacity for self-invention, don't you think?

An Aesthete's Lament said...

And Grace, Countess of Dudley, was at the ball too (she was Princess Stanislas Radziwill then). Actually a number of people who attended the ball are still kicking.

columnist said...

Have you ever seen "The Last Emperor" - (the one about Valentino)? It's really well worth it. He and Giancarlo, his long term partner both personally and professionally, reveal a wonderfully heartwarming love story.