This Costume Institute exhibition focuses on the internationally renowned style icon Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, whose originality and elegance established her as one of the most celebrated fashion personas of the twentieth century. 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.
Many of the 60 or so ensembles in “Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style” were first tweaked or DIY-ed by de Ribes herself years ago. The fearless muse has amassed an extensive collection that includes pieces from Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Balmain, Bill Blass, Marc Bohan for the House of Dior, Madame Grès (Alix Barton), Valentino Garavani and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Also included are her creations for dress balls, which she often made by cutting and cannibalizing her haute couture gowns to create nuanced expressions of her aesthetic. These, along with photographs, video, and ephemera, tell the story of how her interest in fashion developed over decades, from childhood “dress-up” to the epitome of international style.
A muse to haute couture designers, de Ribes had at her disposal their drapers, cutters, and fitters in acknowledgment of their esteem for her taste and originality. Ultimately, she used this talent and experience to create her own successful design business, which she directed from 1982 to 1995. While the exhibition focuses on her taste and style, extensive documentation from her personal archives illustrates the range of her professional life, including her roles as theatrical impresario, television producer, interior designer, and director and organizer of international charity events.
Jacqueline de Ribes
The Art of Style
November 19, 2015–February 21, 2016
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
New York, NY 10028