The Metropolitan Museum of Art is paying tribute to Jacqueline de Ribes; Countess, “The Last Queen of Paris” – According to Versace, and all around workaholic. The exhibit entitled “Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style” will run at the Costume Institute’s Anna Wintour Costume Center from Nov. 19, 2015 through Feb. 21, 2016.

The showcase has been years in the making, it just took de Ribes a few years to get on board. The style icon- but don’t call her that, she apparently “loathes” the word- has been a muse to Yves St. Laurent, one of Richard Avedon‘s “Swans”, designed for Pucci and Oleg Cassini, as well as her own label from 1982 to 1995. Early in her career she found herself on Eleanor Lambert’s Best-Dressed List, after only a few couture designs. By 1962, less than 10 years later she secured a place in the International Best-Dressed List Hall of Fame.

Curator Harold Koda worked close with de Ribes to piece the exhibit together. Looks will include ready-to-wear and couture from de Ribes’s own collections plus that of Giorgio Armani, John Galliano, Roberto Cavalli and Valentino Garavani. Gowns she created from the Proust and Beistegui Balls will be displayed as well.

Koda had nothing but nice things to say to WWD about working with de Ribes, who is turning 85 next week. He called her a “vampire” -but in a good way!

He stated, “Her life hasn’t been easy. She closed her own dress house because she had a terrible medical issue with her back that had her in an iron corset for three years. But despite that kind of chronic pain, she is so discriminating, so focused and such a perfectionist. She’s an absolute workaholic.”

He goes on to explain that the countess would often work to midnight, and want to continue (hence the “vampire” comment.)

What is de Ribes doing after six months of vigorous work? Koda claims she is on a “summer break” in France. #WorkHardPlayHard?


Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Victor Skrebneski

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