This year’s fall exhibit at The Met’s Costume Institute, “Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style,” is an illuminating look at the wardrobe and designs of Countess Jacqueline de Ribes of France. She was born to aristocratic parents in 1929, who defied her privileged, old-fashioned upbringing and became an anomaly of her time: a socialite who designed clothes and the muse of many haute couturiers in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Not content to simply wear the designs of others, she often had dressmakers make her own designs for her, and in the 1980s she came to New York and launched her own design business, despite the perception that aristocrats like her didn’t get involved in commerce.

She was famously photographed by Richard Avedon and termed a “swan” by Truman Capote.

“Style is what makes you different; it’s your own stamp, a message about yourself.”

“Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style,”  The thematic show features about sixty ensembles of haute couture and ready-to-wear primarily from de Ribes’s personal archive, dating from 1962 to the present. Also included are her creations for fancy-dress balls, which she often made by cutting her haute couture gowns designed by others to create a personal nuanced expressions of her own aesthetic.

De Ribes, who was supposed to attend a Met dinner celebrating the show has canceled her trip to New York given the recent events in Paris. In a statement released by the museum shares “Comtesse de Ribes also knows how much Americans share the deep sadness felt in France, which confirms the enduring bond between the two countries. She hopes the exhibition will represent the joy associated with the freedom of creation.”

11-20-2015 12-35-56 AM In her own design 1983

11-20-2015 12-29-25 AM11-20-2015 12-32-12 AM11-17-2015 2-19-24 AM11-17-2015 2-21-18 AM11-17-2015 2-24-14 AM11-17-2015 2-22-03 AM11-17-2015 2-22-42 AM11-17-2015 2-23-13 AM11-17-2015 2-24-57 AM11-17-2015 2-23-46 AM11-20-2015 12-31-26 AM11-22-2015 12-33-06 AM11-22-2015 12-33-58 AM11-22-2015 12-34-26 AMExhibition Catalogue: With specially commissioned photographs, this volume illustrates the sartorial creativity and French elegance of a great exemplar of style.

Jacqueline de Ribes

The Art of Style

November 19, 2015–February 21, 2016