I have read a few months’ back from your blog about an ancestor of mine, Francisco Bangoy (1st) who married Ysabel Berenguer de Marquina a daughter of Demetria Sumulong and Don Felix Berenguer de Marquina…Now, I can’t seem to find it. I’d truly appreciate if if you could point out which article and the date it was written. Thank you…
The current July 2013 issue of VANITY FAIR features a 3-page spread on Robbie Antonio (a grandson of architect Pablo Antonio, right?) It’s about his self-obsession, his collection of vanity portraits and the $15 million home/museum that he is building. Great that he got a spread in VF but of course in one photo, he shares it with the 150 other trabajadores on his Versailles/El Escorial/pyramid to himself. 🙂
We must all love ourselves to a certain extent, but if this guy (who is not mentioned as being partnered) is so enamoured of himself (with all those self-portraits by up-and-coming pop US artists) then is it becuz NO ONE else loves him? Really not a very flattering article at all if you peep below the surface. 😉
MY ASSESSMENT of the DIOR Winter 2014 Couture Show in PARIS last week …….
In his seventh collection, his third as haute couturier, Christian Dior designer Raf Simons is charting the direction of the house, long after John Galliano’s controversial exit. Simons is giving clients true empowerment and freedom of choice.
Breaking away from the years of Galliano excess, Dior is rewriting the rules of haute couture by changing the conventional couture mind-set—from outrageous creations meant to shock, to bespoke tailored pieces that are feminine and beautiful but meant to be worn every day.
“My main aim is to bring a sense of reality back to haute couture,” Simons said after the show in a live feed from dior.com. “This collection is about focusing on the reality of the woman herself, including her culture and personality; it is not the reality of just wearing the clothes but how a woman chooses to wear them; the liberation of choice and reflecting who she actually is.”
For the fortunate women who can afford couture, accessibility is about lifestyle-fit rather than budget constraints. Simons did what every good designer should do: He thought of his customer first.
RACING STRIPES Two tank dresses severely cut can be worn alone or together by Raf Simons for Dior
“It can be approached the same way as ready-to-wear: out there for women to enjoy and to wear often,” he said in the same live feed. “It’s a psychology of how clothes can look in relation to a modern woman and the way she is living her life and experiencing the culture.”
To literally and figuratively reach out to Dior’s clients globally, Simons’ made-to-measure outfits drew inspiration from four continents: Asia for modern and fresh architecture (via knits and fabrications); North America for individuality in sportswear; Africa (particularly the Masai tribe) for linear clothing and colors; and Europe for archival looks and codes, mainly from the House of Dior, such as tailored suits from the heyday of its founder Christian Dior in the 1950s.
AMERICAN SPORTSWEAR via white blouson, flag-striped coat and the newest semi-see-through skirt AFP
Simons took the deliberate step of blurring the iconic lines of reference to the house founder by presenting his 53 exits of his four motifs not in distinct groups, but all mixed in and shown in rapid succession.
Pulsating radioactive color, Raf’s forte, ran riot as pink, yellow and green-blocked gowns and marine-striped jackets went with separate skirts made from three different fabrics.
The collection had racing stripes-printed or cutwork-like flags, metallic semi-sheer skirts (the trending news in Paris), raglan sleeves, beaded bar suit in menswear fabric, dangerously sexy draping echoing tribal wear, Japanese spiky shibori knits—a whirling, dervish smorgasbord offering something for everyone—from the couture novice to 80-year-old Lee Radziwill: age-appropriate and catering to every body type, race and creed.
Simon’s couture offerings for Fall 2013 are neither precious nor stuffy. There were a few red-carpet numbers for such actresses as Jennifer Lawrence. Perhaps because the collection sought to create “reality clothes,” the majority looked like Dior’s ready-to-wear, only pricier for sure.
This is because women today dress as they please, without the dictates of the couturier or other restrictive pressures. Women of the new century define their own freedom.
Just three weeks to go before Don Conrado Escudero’s “Carnival of the Four Continents” 80th birthday gala…
The three-day celebrations will begin on the first day with lunch and dinner at special venues at the Villa Escudero. They will segue on to Ado’s actual birthday with breakfast and lunch for his many guests. Then THE BIRTHDAY GALA itself that evening. The celebrations will end on the third day with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
All the major society magazines and newspaper social columns will be covering the grand affair.
Among the 12 leading socialites leading their themed contingents are
Marivic Madrigal Vazquez, Evelyn Lim-Forbes, Jamby Madrigal-de Valade, Mellie Ablaza, Helen Ong, and Nedy Tantoco.
Forming part of Marivic Madrigal Vazquez’s Moroccan contingent are her close friends Atty. Joe Mari Trenas, Lilibeth Fernandez-Campos, Paqui Campos, Glecy Mojares, Patty Jalbuena, Nening Pedrosa-Manahan, Toto Gonzalez, Chichi Litton Laperal, Mary Garlicki-Moorani, et al..
Helen Ong will be escorted by prominent banker Jaime C. Laya.
Don Juan Antonio Ortigas Lanuza will be attending with his family.
Leading Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Davao socialites are flying to Manila for the festivities.
On the day of the fete galante itself, the big Villa Escudero Conference Center will be turned into a big dressing room and beauty salon for the guests. Patis Tesoro and other leading couturiers will attend to their respective clients as they dress in their magnificent costumes in front of full-length mirrors. Twenty-four hairstylists and make-up artists of HairAsia with full beauty arsenals will be on hand to extend their services to the guests ( reminiscent of Alexandre de Paris attending to the guests at the Guy and Marie-Helene de Rothschild balls ).
The actual fete galante will be held in the newly-reconstructed Coconut Pavilion facing the Labasin river. Several barges lit by torches will be ferrying Ado and his guests, by contingents, to the pavilion, making for spectacular entrances starting at 7:00 p.m..
High society jewelry designer Gerry Ereneta Sunga, Manila’s version of KJL Kenneth Jay Lane, will be providing many of the unspeakably fabulous faux joaillerie for Ado Escudero and several leading socialites.
Leisurely planning sessions are ongoing every weekend at the Villa Escudero with Ado’s formidable team, social powers all, to ensure the success of his 80th birthday festivities.
Best wishes and endless cheers, our dearest Ado!!!
( Larry L., if you will repost this in your Facebook A-List page, kindly acknowledge me, Alicia Perez, as well as Toto Gonzalez and his great blog, without which none of us would have an upscale audience for our chic ravings and rantings. It would be so proper and nice of you. )
The annual “Libad Bangka” fiesta in honor of “Apung Iru” Saint Peter the Apostle in Apalit, Pampanga — 28, 29, 30 June 2013.
Traffic advisory: Be advised of heavy traffic along MacArthur Highway between Pulilan, Bulacan and San Simon, Pampanga as Apalit town celebrates its annual town fiesta, specially on 28 June 2013, Friday and 30 June 2013, Sunday as the venerated and miraculous image of “Apung Iru” is brought by fluvial parade and street procession from his chapel in bgy Capalangan to the Apalit church and vice-versa. There will also be heavy traffic on 29 June 2013, Saturday as the image of “Apung Iru” is processed through most of Apalit’s barangays.
All roads lead to Apalit, Pampanga for its annual town fiesta “Libad Bangka” in honor of “Apung Iru” Saint Peter the Apostle on 28, 29, 30 June 2013. The great folk festival of the “Libad Bangka” is undisputedly Pampanga province’s biggest fiesta, rivaling in religious fervor and sheer mass attendance the festivities in honor of the “Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno” in Manila and the “Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje” Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo, Rizal.
MY REVIEW of Michael CINCO’S fashion show in the INQUIRER today ……….. ENJOY
Michael Cinco’s 38 couture creations were born to rule the red carpet. His sexy Old Hollywood gowns have draped and hugged the torsos of Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Paloma Faith.
Cinco’s labor-intensive masterpieces opened the recent Philippine Fashion Week and made the rest coming after him seem tepid and lackadaisical. Interestingly, around 10 designers had formals that echoed the “Dream of Russia” theme of Cinco.
From papal crowns to imperial tiaras, the Cinco signature silhouettes of body-conscious column numbers in intricately cut and beaded cream, white and black were shamelessly copied—but none was as beautiful.
Dubai-based Cinco is shy and soft-spoken, and is willing to share his expertise with his colleagues.
LABOR-INTENSIVE cream embroidery on flesh-colored tulle short formal
“How I would like to bring the couture creations of childhood friends Puey Quiñones and Cary Santiago to my showroom in Beverly Hills!” he said. “We were all once neophytes 10 years ago in the Middle East; we were sharing one room and we would dream and plan our future. I feel Filipino talent can stand out abroad. We have a style that is fresh and untapped.”
A company called Style PR handles all of Cinco’s gown placements in the US. Top stylists of A-List stars love his work.
INSPIRED by the famous Taal Barong Tagalog embroidery
And why not? I saw marvelous details such as solihiya or cane weaving, the calado and open work of Taal embroidery, Filipino santo vestments otherwise seen only during Lenten processions.
Sandy and Mark Higgins, whose mother Salvacion Lim Higgins was a great fashion designer in the ’50s and ’60s, were seated beside me and were so proud that Michael is a graduate of their famous fashion school Slim’s.
“His style is very classic yet thoroughly modern,” gushed Sandy. “Look at that proportion; and the cream gowns have a hint of pink, like the inside of a conch shell.”
“They look like modern-day princesses, regal with a hint of naughty,” echoed Mark. “The shapes are so timeless. His gowns are actually long T-shirt
NOT as bare as it seems, re-embroidered lace has blush lining, truly elegant.
dresses, and his ‘little black dress’ in cream, white and black is the fail-safe shift dress. His inside construction is evident. Notice how the seemingly heavy ruffled skirts float with such ease when the model reaches the end of the runway. That is the mark of genius.”
His black formal finale featured sensational beadwork, and the clothes, overall, are seasonless and timeless, still wearable 50 years from now.
But it is the incredible lightness of being of Michael Cinco that I adore, a sweet friend who’s kept his humility yet never wavering in his aim for international fashion superstardom—which is his for the picking.
Re Ado’s forthcoming gala…FOUR Continents? Hmmm…there are SIX inhabited continents (5 if one goes by the jaundiced European POV). But we are in the 21st century– so which “continents” did Ado exclude? Obviously Africa and Australia. It can’t be So. America because where would he place Lizzie E-Z, Stella M-A and that Brazilian model?
So, I’m guessing Australia is out since (i) it was settled by convicts and (ii) so Rose Porteous Lacson Rinehart of Perth (now put in her place by her ex-stepdaughter. I hear it was like a Jackie O-Cristina Onassis settlement of sorts.) doesn’t get any ideas.
I wonder if Manny Pacquiao, Hadassah Perry (beneficiary and ex-nurse of Huguette Clark), Imierda Marcos and the Binays are on the list? Maybe he could add an “Island of Doctor Moreau” hut for these special needs guests?? Then it might even make Vanity Fair! LOL!!
In a deal valued at one billion us dollars, Lucio Tan has sold his remaining 51% equity stake of PAL Holdings to the Philippines largest conglomerate San Miguel Corporation.
The deal includes the sale of Air Philippines which carries the brand of PAL Express.
Last year, San Miguel paid US$ 500 million to Tan for a 49-percent stake in PAL Holdings in April 2012 for management control of both Philippine Airlines and Low Cost Carrier Air Philippines.
The airline has since embarked on an aggressive expansion to its route network riding on the massive equity infusion by its stockholders as it launched US$ 7 billion refleeting program comprising 54 wide and narrow bodied aircraft from Airbus.
PAL has since introduce new flights to Canada, China, Australia, and the Middle East.
San Miguel recently paid US$ 161 million to the Philippine Government .
The invitations, designed and printed by publisher par excellence Gus Vibal, are already being sent to the most interesting social personalities in the city ( needless to say affluent ).
The great business, philanthropic, and social lion Don Conrado Escudero, or simply Ado to close friends, will be celebrating his 80th birthday for three days this July 2013, the central event of which will be the much-awaited, European-style, fete galante “The Four Continents” ( an Oriental ball ) at his splendid home, the Villa Escudero outside San Pablo city in Laguna.
( Not many people know that Ado Escudero — acknowledged aristocratic bon vivant — actually spends a lifetime of endless philanthropy, of charity and giving, of good works, principally for the Roman Catholic church and for the marginalized of society. Strong as a lion, with a heart of gold, he works tirelessly everyday for the betterment of many disadvantaged lives. )
The forthcoming once-in-a-lifetime event has Manila society in a tizzy with both the ladies and the gentlemen scurrying to the top fashion designers for their Oriental costumes and their formal evening attire. Twelve prominent ladies of Manila ( heiresses and CEOs, naturally ), all close friends of Ado’s, will lead their themed contingents — India, China, Morocco, etc. — in spectacular arrivals at the fete galante. Some will arrive in boats, in floats, in pagodas, in palanquins, etc.. There will be twelve themed tents with their own parties for the ladies and their contingents in the early part of the evening. The twelve contingents will gather as one during the second part of the gala.
Yes, there are frightfully fashionable galas in Manila’s hotels during the season, but it is really different, and far more spectacular, when a fete galante is staged privately, in a grand family’s estate, with the family’s own battalions of staff to do the job.
For those not invited, I shall quote Jackie O.: “Then it is time to go out for a long walk in the country…”
There is the snowballing brouhaha over the impending sale of the Rizal Memorial Sports Coliseum in Manila (RMSC) for PHP 5 billion. However, the ownership of the RMSC is being contested by both the City of Manila and the National Government.
Understandably, heritage advocates are up in arms over the landmark Art Deco sports complex built during the 1930s.
Don’t blame Peping Cojuangco. It isn’t his big idea. Or is it?
It’s the idea of the economic team (the former presidential advisers) of the new Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. He consulted them on the finances of the City of Manila and they thought up ways to increase revenue. The sale of the RMSC is one of them.
De La Salle University looms as the most logical buyer of the RMSC. At (only) PHP 5 billion, superrich DLSU can afford the old sports complex at its back easily. However, observers say that DLSU will have to turn part of the RMSC into a commercial complex in order for it to be economically viable.
A new, bigger and better sports complex in Laguna is being planned for the training of the national athletes.
The proposal of the City of Manila will be presented to Malacanang Palace shortly.
Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld’s Cruise 2014 collection mixed the wide pants and hobble maxi skirts that Coco Chanel wore 100 years ago in her first hat shop in Deauville, France.
The relaxed long cardigans in knits and the tailored blazers were inspired by Lagerfeld’s short black-and-white film about Chanel, entitled “Once Upon a Time” and starring Kiera Knightley.
Balancing this nostalgia were punk chain necklaces and bondage chokers and bracelets, just like in the New York Met’s Punk exhibit. Yes, punk is having a revival moment, if only in the details.
In a building stripped bare, the models, led by Stella Tennant, sashayed through 79 exits at a former nutmeg plantation and army barracks in Singapore’s Loewen Cluster on Dempsey Hill. This island state boasts six Chanel stores; this was the first time Chanel showed in Asia.
“I stuck to the original pallette of Chanel, navy blue, white, black and beige. But the surprise was the evening treatment of hand-painted sequins to mimic feathers and ruffles,” said Lagerfeld, in an interview shown via livestream on Chanel.com. The newest shape for an evening bag was the iconic perfume bottle of Chanel No. 5 in black or clear plexiglass.
“I love how Karl keeps the legacy of Chanel alive, always updating it to look young, cool and fresh,” said Dakota Fanning in the same livestream feature.
André Leon Talley, Carine Rotfield and Anna dello Russo loved the lace looks, boucle suits, sailor separates, denim treatment and black chiffon evening numbers from the House of Chanel, one of the very few fashions brands still owned by the original Wertheimer family.
Originally, Pierre and Paul Wertheimer partnered with Coco Chanel to build the perfume line, then bought the brand after her death. Now, the company has been passed down to Alain and Gerald Wertheimer, who live invisibly and anonymously.
“As Chanel is privately owned, it is not obligated to divulge its earnings. However, drawing on an audit by Swiss and Cayman Islands tax services, a recent article in Capital magazine estimates that Chanel has in the neighborhood of 8.5 billion francs in annual worldwide sales—twice the turnover of Dior and three times that of Saint Laurent,” wrote Paris Voice, a fashion blog.
The biggest yack of the city’s social tables today is the ongoing feud ( brewing for years already ) between the patrician Zobel de Ayalas, the tycoon Sys, and the political Tingas over the controversial SM Aura mall in the Bonifacio Global City.
The land on which the SM Aura mall stands was “conveyed” ( legalese… ) by the Bases Conversion Development Authority ( BCDA ) ( upon the “suggestion” of the Zobel de Ayalas? ) to Taguig expressly for socio-civic purposes ( church, chapel, park, socio-civic center, gymnasium, etc. ) in good faith. Lo and behold, the Tingas and the Sys come to an agreement and the SM Aura mall rises.
The little birds have it that the case was filed yesterday by the BCDA ( ostensibly upon the urging of the Zobel de Ayalas? ).
The little birds also have it that the long-brewing “disgusto” between the erstwhile harmonious Zobel de Ayala and Sy families deteriorated with the construction of the SM Davao mall.
Toto, here’s a belated letter from my Viennese friend, Elsa, that just showed up in my mailbox this week. I want to share it with your readers here:
Dear friends, family, and Austrian nobility,
Captain Von Trapp and I are very sorry to inform you that we no longer plan to wed. We offer our deepest apologies to those of you who have already made plans to travel to Salzburg this summer.
Those of you on the Captain’s side of the guest list are probably aware of the reason for the change of plans. I’m sure by now you have received that charming “Save the date!” card in the shape of a mountain goat from the Captain and his new fiancée, Maria.
I must confess to being rather blindsided by the end of our relationship. It seems Captain Von Trapp and I misunderstood each other. I assumed he was looking for a wife of taste and sophistication, who was a dead ringer for Tippi Hedren; instead he wanted to marry a curtain-wearing religious fanatic who shouts every word she says.
But I don’t want you to be angry at him. We are all adults here. “But Baroness,” so many of my friends have said, “you must be devastated. You yourself are fabulously wealthy, so you cannot have wanted the Captain for his money—you must have truly loved him.” It’s true. But so, I am sure, does his new fiancée, his children’s nanny. Her wardrobe is made of curtains. She’s definitely not a gold digger or anything.
I’m sorry. That was crude of me. She seems like a lovely person, and she and the children have a great deal in common.
A great, great, great deal.
Since I will no longer be a part of their lives, I do hope you will all keep an eye on the Captain’s children. I am not terribly maternal but I was very fond of them in my own way and I must admit I am worried what will become of them now that I have gone. I had planned to send them to boarding school, since their education at the moment seems to consist mostly of marching around Salzburg singing scales. I think it would have been particularly helpful for the eldest daughter, who seems intent on losing her virginity to the mailman.
Please, friends, don’t worry about me. While I was a bit startled to be thrown aside for someone who flunked out of nun school, I assure you that I will be fine, and my main pursuits in life shall continue to be martinis, bon mots, and looking fabulous. You’ll also be glad to know I have retained custody of the Captain’s hard-drinking gay friend, Max. Anyone who gets tired of sing-a-longs should feel free to look us up.
Again, my deepest apologies for this disruption to your plans. I am currently sorting through the wedding gifts we’ve already received and I will send them back as soon as possible. The Captain would help, but he is busy learning to play a song about cuckoo clocks on his guitar.
I’ll tell you about Gretchen Barretto. She’s not a bad woman at all, but she’s usually misunderstood. In fact, I’m beginning to think that being misunderstood may be her greatest talent, better than her acting and her being the great love of Tonyboy Cojuangco.
Gretchen is a doting aunt to her Barretto nieces and nephews. She takes them out with her daughter Dominique for a good time and some shopping every now and then. She indulges them generously. They are all very fond of her.
Pobrecita Gretchen. When she and Tonyboy are at Meldy Cojuangco’s Flame Tree house, all she gets from that family are polite, snide smiles. They are “pleasant but distant” with her ( to quote Dominick Dunne ). Meldy allows “besos” from her but markedly turns the other cheek condescendingly ( a papal awardee at that ). Marvie, Ningning, Mikey, and Lizette manage half-smiles. Only Choy is kind and talks with her.
That was why Gretchen was bowled over at the Punos. When she would arrive with Dodie at the family house, his brothers and sisters would welcome her very warmly and make her feel like family. She liked that ( who wouldn’t? ).
Pretty Dominique is not close to her paternal Cojuangco first cousins, she is close to her maternal Barretto first cousins.
As much as both Gretchen and Tonyboy would really like to marry in church already, they cannot. Tonyboy’s former wife Denise Yabut-Cojuangco is not going to give him a separation or divorce. Absolutely not. Tonyboy just has too much money Php billions for Denise and Gretchen to let go. It has been estimated that Tonyboy’s wealth produces Php X millions a day but his friends estimate it to be 3X that. At the time that Gretchen became involved with Dodie Puno ( out of hopelessness that Tonyboy could never marry her ), friends told her that the latter, with far fewer Php millions, would not be able to keep her in the same high style that Tonyboy could. When it finally dawned on her that a relationship with Dodie could not work, she ripped apart his Italian suits and burned a considerable amount of his cash lying around ( Php X million_). Gretchen thought long and hard. Since Tonyboy never ever told her to leave him anyway, she returned. As Tonyboy told friends: “I would rather have a part of her than not have her at all.”
It must be love.
And for those saying that Gretchen Barretto has no lineage of wealth, it turns out that she has an older and more exalted ancestry than the relatively newly-arrived, mercantile Cojuangcos themselves (although the Cojuangcos are descended from the Tiongsons, the principal family of Old Malolos). Let me tell you that the authority on Filipino genealogy himself, Martin “Sonny” Imperial Tinio Jr., told me that Gretchen’s Barrettos are descendants of “El Principe Negro,” a very rich Spanish businessman of Indian descent and then of the very rich Don Enrique Barretto y Ycaza, who co-founded San Miguel Brewery in the late 1800s along with the Zobel de Ayala ancestor, Don Pedro Pablo Roxas. At that time, Barretto was just as rich as Roxas.
What can you say? It certainly shows in the understated, reserved behavior of Mr. Barretto. Not with Mrs., I’m afraid.
Truly, fact is infinitely more interesting than fiction!
@Larry Leviste. Larry, I dropped out of your FB “A-List” page because of the amount of posts. But “unfriending” you, didn’t remove me. Could you delete me from the list please? I kinda want less posts. Thanks.
Hi Myles, I am happy you are enjoying FB, I typed out Myles Garcia and there were 3 persons with the same name, could you please add me as a friend by requesting me at Lorenzo Leviste NOT Lorenzo Leviste, Makati which is my old account BUT was hacked. Then I shall invite you to Larry Leviste’s A list where you will have so much fun. THIS comment is also applicable with all who read it and wish to be connected with me in FB, I guarantee a howling good time, just ask Toto ?
That’s what she gets for constantly dating down and marrying down. Didn’t ** try him on for size first? Que horror. A “hija de buena familia” at that. She’s certainly the karma of Tita Cory, Dona Metring, Dona Tecla, & Dona Sidra all rolled into one.
Re: Kris Aquino. I’ve heard it all before. Haven’t you?
I’m inclined to believe the popular/notorious theory of manipulation by the media and the administration. I’m just wondering what issue of national importance this current outburst is supposed to divert attention from. Sabah? The upcoming elections?
Been awhile since I popped in here. Have been spending a lot of webtime on Facebook, with a lot of new found friends from the old kingdom of San Juan. But migod, I just got back from a week’s vacation in Hawaii (did a cruise)….and what do I find? A magnus opus posted by Larry. I will now have to set aside another 10 days just to read that!
Anywho, just wanted to say that in the current issue of The New Yorker which I just received, there is an also LENGTHY article on “The Miner’s Daughter”, i.e., the richest woman in Australia, Gina Hope Rinehart…who is Rose Lacson Hancock Porteus’ ex-stepdaughter-in-law. On page 78 of the hard copy, there is explained Rose’s connection, and battle, with Gina and the largest fortune in Australia. It’s a few paragraphs long but it looks like Filipina Rose’s battle royale with her step-daughter-in-law, has been settled somewhat amicably…for now. I don’t know if there is an online copy of the magazine, or that you also need to be a subscriber, but you’ll just have to get a hold of a copy. Later…
While she has long captivated the public as one of Truman Capote’s swans, the sister of Jackie Kennedy and a European princess, with romantic liaisons from Peter Beard to Aristotle Onassis, not one of those labels begins to capture the true woman. The inimitable Radziwill — direct, free spirited and true to her own ideals — offers a rare, personal glimpse into her remarkable world.
“Oo—h. You’re here already!” The voice, lively, with its unmistakable husky drop, comes in to the living room. I turn from the balcony that looks out onto the Avenue Montaigne.
“Oo—h” — again, that low last note — “how did you get here so quickly?”
Talking About Lee
Memories of Lee
Sofia Coppola, Giambattista Valli and Peter Beard share their favorite moments with Lee Bouvier Radziwill. More…
Framed in the evening light, between double doors, is a figure slight as swan’s-down, a silhouette in dark, skinny Armani pants and a silk T-shirt. The hair, cut for over half a century by the experts on two, at least, continents, is now a sleek chignon, blond, perhaps, with the light around it, darker as she moves toward me. I explain that the Eurostar now has a service where you order a taxi on the train and, hey, presto! At the Gare du Nord, there is a driver, bearing your name.
“Really? I didn’t know that. I must go to London more often. I know, I should, but I am so, so happy in this apartment . . . if I can wade through the scores of Japanese kids fighting their way into Chanel.”
The haunting voice and the almost ethereal figure are Lee Radziwill’s, and they have been a lifelong part of her enduring identity. But those characteristics are not nearly the whole picture. I am confronted by a subtly strong presence and personality, part wreathed in the glamour of the past, part intensely modern in outlook and awareness. Not for her any all-too-easy reminiscences of “those days.” She is, quite clearly, herself.
Video: Lee Radziwill by Sofia Coppola
The filmmaker captured an intimate conversation with T’s cover subject, Lee Radziwill, in her New York City apartment. On camera, Radziwill recalls going on tour with the Rolling Stones and Truman Capote, a splendid summer spent with Peter Beard at Andy Warhol’s house in Montauk, N.Y., and a childhood so lonely she tried to adopt an orphan.
In a world of passing celebrity, Lee Radziwill, 79, possesses a timeless aura that radiates nowness. Her bang up-to-date personal style, her laid-back — to say pared down would be to demean its ordered luxury — apartment in Paris (“the favorite of any home I’ve ever had”), in this, her favored city, shows how subtly she has lived, lives now, without the attendant glare of past pomp and present self-glorification that others crave. She is utterly content, and it shows. What she is not is casual. She regulates her life by standards inbuilt by experience, by nurturing her friendships, by staying true, by her irony, by her humor — all qualities that show she is the real deal. That past sorrows and joys have merged into an elegance that permeates her presence, that “something in the air” that indicates class and courage and composure. Though she now rigorously guards her privacy, her free spirit surfaces easily, and her thoughts come crystal clear. A figure of her time, our history, Lee is her own harbinger for an iconic future. Ours, and hers.
One sees why Lee is happy. The apartment, just high up enough to encompass most of the most famous Parisian landmarks, low enough to allow her to sometimes use the stairs to walk Zinnia, a wriggling bundle of snow-white fur, is tailor-made for her lifestyle. The living room, a symphony of light and white and the deep pink of falling rose petals. Around the fireplace, a banquette and armless chairs, covered with crisp white linen printed with tumbling Asian figures (“they go everywhere with me, every house, my apartment in New York, my little men”) and against the far wall, a sofa of luscious rose silk, thick and ribbed, its back a relaxed baroque scroll. The art on the walls is mostly contemporary, mostly monochrome, most signed, all highly personal. The flowers, two low glass cylinders, a massed spectrum of pinks and reds (“the man who does them for Dior brings them”) fill the Parisian dusk with their heady scent.
“Come sit,” Lee says, folding her legs into the sofa’s cushioned recesses. “Some vodka?” “Sure!” Over her shoulder to an unseen presence, “Seulement de l’eau plate pour moi.” Near her is a photograph, recently discovered, sent to her: Lee in a column of brilliant red taffeta couture, at the height of her astonishing beauty. She has no recollection of where it was taken or when.
“Were you always aware of your beauty?”
“From the word go,” she answers simply and honestly. “But no one else was, then. My mother endlessly told me I was too fat, that I wasn’t a patch on my sister. It wasn’t much fun growing up with her and her almost irrational social climbing in that huge house of my dull stepfather Hughdie Auchincloss in Washington. I longed to be back in East Hampton, running along the beaches, through the dunes and the miles of potato fields my father’s family had owned. And even in summer, when we’d go to to Hammersmith Farm . . . the Auchincloss place in Newport, a house more Victorian or stranger you can’t imagine . . . it wasn’t much better. Well, at least there was the ocean, but naturally my sister claimed the room overlooking Narragansett Bay, where all the boats passed out. All I could see from my window was the cows named Caroline and Jacqueline. (My real first name is Caroline.) Oh, I longed to go back, to be with my father. He was a wonderful man, you’d have loved him. He had such funny idiosyncrasies, like always wearing his black patent evening shoes with his swimming trunks. One thing which infuriates me is how he’s always labeled the drunk black prince. He was never drunk with me, though I’m sure he sometimes drank, due to my mother’s constant nagging. You would, and I would. The only time I ever saw him really drunk was at Jackie’s wedding. He was to give her away, but my mother refused to let him come to the family dinner the night before. So he went to his hotel and drank from misery and loneliness. It was clear in the morning that he was in no state to do anything, and I remember my mother screaming with joy, ‘Hughdie, Hughdie, now you can give Jackie away.’ During the wedding party I had to get him onto a plane back to New York. Accompanied by my first husband, also drunk. It was a nightmare.
“But we were talking about the Hamptons. It was so empty then, houses miles apart. We lived fairly near my aunt Edie Beale and I’d play with her daughter, Little Edie, even though she was quite a bit older. Grey Gardens was a beautiful house, but I lost touch when I married and lived in England. Later, I had my own house in East Hampton, and went to visit them, with Peter Beard. My God, you should have seen the place! And them! But they were sweet and funny and happily living in their own world. The original idea for the film was about my return to East Hampton after 30 years and to have my aunt Edith narrate my nostalgia and hers. So we phoned the Maysles brothers. Initially the Edies were against it, but the Maysles charmed them as they only worked with 16-millimeter cameras, and were finally allowed in. . . . The remake is good. Have you seen it? . . . Listen, I booked a table at Voltaire. We should leave at . . . what? . . . 8:15. Is that O.K.?”
The taxi swings into the Place de la Concorde. “You know, Paris — well, at least this part of it — has hardly changed since Jackie and I first came here in 1951. We were so young! It was the first time we felt really close, carefree together, high on the sheer joy of getting away from our mother; the deadly dinner parties of political bores, the Sunday lunches for the same people that lasted hours, Jackie and I not allowed to say a word. Not that we wanted to, except to a lovely man called James Forrestal, our secretary of defense, who had a bit of the culture we craved. Jackie’s dream was France, but mine was really art and Italy, as that was all I cared about through school. My history of art teacher, who saved my life at Farmington, was obsessed with Bernard Berenson and I succumbed as well. My first discovery of him was when we were taken to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, better known then as Fenway Court. Berenson had chosen all the most important paintings Isabella should buy. I had another life open.
“I wrote to Berenson at I Tatti, several letters; then out of the blue he replied, asking me to come and see him if I ever came to Italy. Well, that was it. I thought of nothing else. So after we were here, I went to Florence. Florence and Berenson and I Tatti! Imagine! Any artistic intellect I possess is due to that time. He took me under his wing, read to me, encouraged me to write. In fact he published a letter I wrote him. That was my proudest moment. I went back to I Tatti last summer. Though there was no B.B., and no Nicky Mariano, the atmosphere is still the same, though now there are maybe a hundred people there, great scholars-to-be of Renaissance art studying, learning, in those almost monklike surroundings, eating at a beautiful long oak table. He was one of the most fascinating men I ever knew.”
The doorman opens the taxi door. “Bonsoir, Princesse.” We go inside.
“Madame la Princesse!”
“Princesse Radziwill, je suis ravi de vous voir!”
This fabulous ancien régime politeness to Lee, who has booked the table, and the taxi, and my hotel room, as Mme. Radziwill. One sees why she likes Paris.
“Believe me, when I used to come here with Nureyev or Lenny Bernstein, there was none of that. I was a pimple beside their stature and genius. When I was young, I used to think that everyone should die at 70 . . . but my closest friends, like Rudolf and Andy [Warhol] and to an extent Capote, let alone most of my close family . . . didn’t even reach that age. There is something to be said for being older, and memories. How could I ever forget Rudolf’s funeral, here, at the Opera . . . the whole place swathed with deep red roses, and draped in black, as well as the dancers and les petits rats descending the stairs. I’ve seen some extraordinary funerals in my life, Jack’s of course. That had a different kind of sadness, a bleak, brutal, tragic end to hopes for a greater future and the buoyant few years of his presidency . . . the opening up of the White House to artists and musicians; I can’t deny those few years were glamorous, being on the presidential yacht for the America’s Cup races, the parties with the White House en fête. It was so ravishing. People think it was decorated by Sister Parish . . . well, a bit was . . . but really it was Stéphane Boudin of Jansen, who Jackie had met here in Paris; and, as well, Jack’s charismatic charm and enthusiasm for life. I remember the first time Jackie asked Jack to Merrywood, to pick her up for some dinner. You couldn’t mention the word ‘Democrat’ in my stepfather’s house or even presence — nor in my father’s for that matter — and I felt Jack was in for a rough ride. But he was a senator, so he already had a kind of authority as well as a dazzling personality. He won them over pretty quickly.
“My life could certainly have been different. Not so much because Jackie married a Kennedy, but because he became president. If he’d lost the election, I’d have probably spent most of my life in England with Stas, whom I adored, as did anyone who knew him, and our children, Anthony and Tina. We had this divine house on Buckingham Place behind the palace, and the prettiest country place in Oxfordshire . . . Turville Grange . . . that Mongiardino decorated. He glued the walls of the dining room with Sicilian scarves, and asked Lila di Nobili to paint each child with their favorite animals crisscrossed by bands of flowers. It was enchanting. Sadly Lila lacquered over them, so I couldn’t take them when we left. To me, that’s the essence of great design. It was a perfect Turgenev room . . . something simple and original that stays in the mind forever. Like I Tatti, and Nancy Lancaster’s Ditchley Park. Or Peter Beard’s house in Montauk. But I wasn’t always so pure in my taste. As a child, the person I admired most in the world was Lana Turner! She seemed the epitome of glamour, and her glitzy surroundings so enviable, the opposite of my mother’s extremely banal taste. And of course no one had as much taste as Rudolf, vast 19th-century paintings of naked men on glowing velvet walls, Russian-Oriental fabrics and furs, all on a huge scale. He was so impressed with what Mongiardino did for me that he took him for himself and some of his ballets.
“We weren’t taught anything like that as children. In fact, my childhood taught me nothing . . . zero. I never saw a play with my mother until I was 14 and then it was ‘Hansel and Gretel.’ My father, naturally, spoiled me when I was allowed to see him — flying to New York from Washington, alone, in those terrifying planes. He’d take me to Danny Kaye movies and rent a dog for me to walk in the park on Sunday — a different dog every Sunday — and then to have butterscotch sundaes with almonds at Schrafft’s. My mother simply had me, sticking me with a series of horrible governesses. There was one particular beast called Aggie, who I remember well. I hadn’t a clue how to be a parent myself, and I expect I put Tina and Anthony through tough times. I find it hard to read people’s minds, my own children’s minds even harder. But it all worked out and I was blessed with two wonderful children. Anthony and I were wonderfully close in the years before he died, and my daughter, Tina, who leads the most original life, is coming to stay with me in Italy soon for four weeks. . . . I say, it’s awfully late, you must be exhausted and I know I am.”
It’s late in the evening and the apartment is dark now, with only a pool of silvery-pink light on the sofa as Lee walks me to the door, Zinnia bouncing between our feet.
“No, Zinny! Tomorrow!! And you, too, tomorrow . . . let’s have breakfast at L’Avenue in the sunshine. Good night!” The door gently shuts, the elevator opens. All so easy, so civilized.
One can see why she likes Paris.
Half awake, I lie collecting thoughts, the bare facts, of the near-legend I have just left . . . Caroline Lee Bouvier . . . born in 1933 to John V. Bouvier III and Janet Lee, four years after her sister Jacqueline. Becomes stepdaughter of Hugh D. Auchincloss Jr.
1) 1953, Michael Canfield.
2) 1959, Prince Stanislas “Stas” Radziwill; two children, Anthony and Christina (“Tina”).
3) 1988, Herbert Ross, film director.
Lives in the United States and France.
The lesser-known facts are the fodder of tabloids. Her duplicitous treatment by the whims of Aristotle Onassis. Her great friend Truman Capote, insisting Lee should act, adapts “Laura” as a vehicle for her, but stage fright prevents her from pursuing a theatrical career. Her romances with the most attractive men of the time — the photographer Peter Beard and Richard Meier, the architect, possibly even Mick Jagger, among them. The last-minute calling off of her wedding to the San Francisco hotelier Newton Cope. Unfulfilling years, exacerbated by her sister’s escalating ill health, their difficult relationship and a certain amount of friction with her children, led Lee to bouts of deep depression and occasional dips into alcoholism, both bravely, the latter publicly, divulged and eradicated. Indeed, so much so that she was able to cope, resiliently, with the death of her nephew John F. Kennedy Jr., to whom she was extremely close, followed, shockingly soon after, by that of her son, Anthony, from a rare form of cancer.
These tragedies, compounded by earlier, unforgettably tragic memories, convinced Lee to make, if not a new life, a different one: one where the press is gentler; where her past, good or infamous, is not daily revisited; and where she can be surrounded by so many of the things she grew up with and learned to love about Europe. In 1974 she and Jackie published “One Special Summer,” a memoir of their European trip, written originally as a gift to their parents, and in 2001 Lee wrote a second memoir, “Happy Times,” published by her friends, the Assoulines. It’s an engaging picture of some of the most glorious moments in her vivid life. She says the best part was being hands-on in its production, discussing the layout, the typefaces, selecting photographs from among myriad images.
Radziwill’s Anglo-Indian botanicals in the living room. François Halard
A book from the I. M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar next to a group of Line Vautrin boxes. François Halard
A picture of Radziwill on the cover of Life magazine from 1967 sits on her desk. François Halard
A view of the Eiffel Tower, from her balcony. François Halard
Her bedroom. François Halard
A drawing of Radziwill by René Bouché above a bronze wolfhound in her Paris apartment. François Halard
The cover of Nicholas Foulkes’s ‘‘Bals: Legendary Costume Balls of the Twentieth Century,’’ showing Radziwill getting ready for Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball in 1966. François Halard
A cozy seating arrangement with chairs covered in her beloved Le Manach fabric. François Halard
We meet, as she said we would, in the sunshine, at the chic cafe spitting distance from her building. Chairs are arranged for her, water, espresso and an ashtray brought without a word said.
“Well?” she says, “what’s next?”
“Tell me about your marriages.”
“Oh.” Short now, taken aback, no low note and a long pause. “O.K., where shall we start?” I say, “The first?” Another pause. “Michael Canfield? O.K. . . . I was very young when we met, and he was so good-looking and clever. I wanted so badly to get away from my mother, and he seemed to offer everything . . . looks, privilege, friends, fun. His father was chairman of Harper & Brothers, so he led a very literary life and was a brilliant editor. I was deliriously happy for a while, moving to London, our house in Chester Square . . . but . . . he drank seriously. He was very fragile. One day I couldn’t open the front door, he was slumped, out cold, inside. He tried to stop, but nothing worked for any time. He said I was so in tune with life and he wasn’t any longer. And besides, I had met Stas . . . Stas was divorcing at the time, and we fell in love and eventually we married. . . . Those were glorious years. Being married to Stas was certainly the happiest part of my life, so he must have been the love of my life: there were other infatuations, other loves even, but never the joy or knowledge of life and living that I experienced with Stas. . . . Jack and my sister would come over, staying in Buckingham Place rather than the embassy, and I’d be included in all the great events, dinners at Buckingham Palace, you know. And the trip to India. The best part of that was meeting
Nehru, he was seductive, mentally rather than physically, not unlike Berenson, and so beautiful, and with the most exquisite soft golden skin. We stayed in his house and he showed us to our rooms every night, showing us the books we should read, which made one feel completely at home.
“Stas and I went to Washington often . . . and then. . . .” Her voice trails off as she stares into the sun, perhaps considering the end of her marriage to Stas. “More coffee? Well, there was Jack’s death and . . . and . . . Ari. Listen, I think the world knows more about all that than I do. He was dynamic, irrational, cruel I suppose, but fascinating. He also had the most beautiful skin, and smelled wonderful. Naturally, I mean. Fascinating . . . as my sister discovered!”
“And Herbert Ross?”
“Oh no, do we have to talk about that? O.K., he was certainly different from anybody else I’d been involved with, and the film world sounded exciting. Well, it wasn’t. I hated Hollywood, and the provincialism of the industry. . . . Herbert had been married to the ballerina Nora Kaye until she died, and unbeknownst to me was still obsessed by her. It was ‘Nora said this, Nora did it like that, Nora liked brown and orange.’ . . . If anybody even breathed her name, Herbert would burst into tears. I had to clench my fists every time and was deeply hurt as I thought I had created a wonderful life for him. Thank God we never really settled in Los Angeles. My New York was difficult for Herbert, so we parted. . . . Now, no more on husbands!”
“Then let’s go back to the president’s assassination,” I say. “Do you remember where you were?”
Lee pauses. “As if yesterday. It was in the evening, in London. Stas came running up the stairs, his voice and face in shock. I started crying . . . uncontrollably. For hours. Finally he said, ‘Lee, you have to get ahold of yourself, and I stopped, suddenly. It was the last time I have ever cried. I’ve never cried since, never. Anthony’s death was equally soul destroying, but with an illness it’s so distressing . . . coupled with his bravery throughout it. I could only cry inner tears. When he died, I was already cried out. And I certainly wouldn’t cry about myself, or my life. In some funny way I’m lucky that there was so much more interest in my sister. Which, of course, I understand. I enjoy reading about real celebrities even now, and Jackie certainly qualified in that league. Of course, when you are closely related to someone so in the public eye, you tend to think the interest is dumb or trivial because you know the person, and the truth. But I certainly understand people’s fascination. After all, as the young wife of the youngest elected president, she was fascinating.
“As to that interest in her spilling over into my life? Well, at times it was annoying, at times funny. Perhaps the most depressing part was that whatever I did, or tried to do, got disproportionate coverage purely because of Jackie being my sister. But you learn to deal with the scrutiny, even the lies, as long as it’s not malicious.
“Regrets? I think everyone has regrets, and people who say they haven’t are either liars . . . or narcissists. There have been many things in my life to have regrets about, in the sense I wish I could have changed them, or somehow made them not happen. What I don’t have is envy. I’m perfectly content at this time of my life. I’ve done so many fascinating things and the greatest joy is that I continue to do interesting things and meet fascinating people. Working for Diana Vreeland at Harper’s Bazaar was a great learning curve. Working in P.R. for Giorgio Armani taught me a lot about that particular — I almost said ‘peculiar’ — industry. And I met my dearest friend, Hamilton South, while there.
“Really, the most fulfilling roles have been my friendships — Berenson, Nureyev, Peter, even Andy Warhol because he was so wildly different — then, and now Bernard-Henri Lévy and his wife, Arielle Dombasle, and Giambattista Valli, and Diego Della Valle, who are all angelic to me.
“Am I melancholy by nature? Less so, now, and I certainly don’t bounce out to parties and talk all night. One can’t help but be a bit melancholy when you see how the world has changed, and I don’t mean that nostalgically. Every day one is confronted by words and visions of human misery. You would have to have a heart of ice not to be a bit melancholy. I’ve been happy, and am happy now. My life has been exciting, active, changeable. At my age, one is lucky to have old friends, and, fortunately, most of them, like me, can’t seriously work a computer and the phone is our link. So I’m not lonely. I have this apartment, this view, my bursting-with-light New York apartment . . . yes, and you, Zinny . . . this ‘douceur de vivre,’ this city.”
One can see why Paris loves Lee.
A version of this article appeared in print on 02/17/2013, on page M2185 of the NewYork edition with the headline: The Real Life Radziwill.
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Thank you for a beautiful portrait of a beautiful, creative fascinating woman.
I met Miss Radziwill once, at what I called the Mother of All Charity Balls, aka The American Friends of Versailles, where to my surprise, I was seated next to her at a very french pre-charity ball luncheon in the bedroom of Baron Rothschild. (Since Medieval times, the french of course, think somewhat differently about separating eating from sleeping than we Americans do)
I was probably in way over my head, but she could not have been a more interesting person to sit next to, and either she pretended to be, or it was genuine, but she was as interested in me as I was in her.
That’s what is unique about extraordinary people, they find something interesting in everyone and everything. Extraordinary people have a breadth of life of experiences they draw from which they use to find common ground, to further nurture their curiosity. In so doing, their interests, curiosity, ability to listen and learn feeds upon itself…nurturing both you and them. You leave, inspired, sometimes awestruck, with memories you never forget, even remembering the deep sensual tone of her voice, her lithe features, bright eyes.
I was captivated by your article, and equally so, by the portrait of her life.
March 2, 2013 at 7:36 a.m.
Great fodder for an Edith Wharton or Henry James novel. The once lovely, thwarted, American “Princesse,” full of grandiose aspirations, soldiering on with style and forced dignity in a corner of Paris. Poor lady.
March 2, 2013 at 4:06 a.m.
Why on earth does the lady reveal treasuring the company of Bernard Henri Levy and his wife Arielle Dombasle.
Such an invitation to rather cruel laughs.
Feb. 24, 2013 at 11:45 p.m.
J’adore Lee Radziwill. So interesting, cultured, honest and what a marvelous interview. She deserves a full length documentary, she’s one of the last of that generation and with her connection to big and little Edie, Jackie, Andy, the Stones and Truman Capote she’s a one woman cultural icon. She doesn’t edit her opinions and I love that about her. She tells it like she sees it and is fun, funny and fascinating. Please Sofia Coppolla give us more Lee!
Feb. 20, 2013 at 5:50 a.m.
Vicki White Smith
All of my life I have followed the adventures of Lee Radziwill, and her sister, Jacqueline K. Onassis. I am so glad to see that she is truly happy in Paris. I lived in Europe for 17 years, and I was always in Paris, myself. I know why she loves this city,because my feelings are the same for this beautiful and elegant capital of France. What a life !!!!!!
Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:19 p.m.
Feeling disheartened by so many commenters putting Lee Radziwill down.
Have you considered that you’re writing about an actual person? I don’t believe she qualifies as having sought the limelight — a la anyone on People magazine’s cover — so legally, she’s not fair game.
We’ve each turned to an article in the Style section, presumably from an interest in what is cultivated. As her interview indicates, Ms. Radziwill possesses the genuine elegance to forbear from publicly denouncing others.
We might want to take a (gracious) page from her book. We need it these days.
Feb. 19, 2013 at 4:41 a.m.
Chevy Chase, MD
What a strange, sad relic from the past. A woman defined by her beauty and her relationship with powerful men. Is she really anything more than a courtesan?
Feb. 18, 2013 at 11:40 p.m.
i would say she was defined by her family, the Bouviers, rather than her husbands. Maybe, truly defined by her relationship with her sister. Why label?
Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:18 p.m.
I’d like to echo “lisbeth’s” comment. Stop judging someone you don’t know. “Is she really anything more than a courtesan?” What a repulsive thing to say. It denigrates marriage (we really don’t know anything about her marriages, do we? It’s her business) and it’s highly offensive to this woman whose life has been interesting and difficult. I’d like to know what makes you so spectacular, Liz, that you can judge her so harshly from Chevy Chase.
Feb. 20, 2013 at 4:43 a.m.
Santa Fe, NM
I’m an old man who has read for decades that Radziwill, Lee’s second husband, was a practicing homosexual. If that is so, “Princess” Lee doesn’t appear to be bothered by his sexual preference.
Feb. 18, 2013 at 11:37 p.m.
Why let that get in the way? Appearing cool and unflappable is part of the mystique de la Princesse.
March 2, 2013 at 1:45 a.m.
New York City
Now that she’s spending so much time in Paris I hope she’s had a chance to learn French.
Fifteen or 16 years ago I was in Paris and had arrived too early to claim my hotel room. I was wandering up and down the rue St. Honore killing time, when who should I come across but Lee Radziwill, having just stepped out of a jewelry store, trying to communicate with the taxi driver who had obviously driven her there and was waiting to drive her on to her next stop. It was when she was still married to Ross, , as she was trying to tell the driver, in some of the worst, most broken French I have ever heard, to go tell “Monsieur” Ross wherever he was over on the left bank (I think maybe in a restaurant on the rue du Cherche Midi) that she would be late. And was she ever late. I must have spent 40-60 minutes walking up and down that street and she was always in that store and always engaged in an intense conversation with madame at the desk. It was a place that also dealt in estate jewelry and I got the impression she was maybe trying to sell.
Was amazed that someone of her sophisticated background, and after all those alleged adventures with Jackie in Europe, couldn’t speak better French.
Feb. 18, 2013 at 11:30 p.m.
Wow, there’s more vitriol in these comments than in some of the articles on weighty political issues; and more talking past each other on women’s issues than usual, I think (?) I don’t believe this article was trying to address anything other than the interesting life and personality of Ms. Radziwill. And why not? It’s the Style section and she is, and was, an eminent New York doyenne with a particular and fascinating connection to several cosmopolitan luminaries throughout the years. A classy treatment of a complex, stylish woman.
Feb. 18, 2013 at 11:29 p.m.
When I first read the article and saw the video, I thought what a charming, attractive, classy lady. Then I thought a bit more about it and re-read and again watched the video.
She’s clearly very chic and attractive – would be even if she were not 79. Either she has a great sense of style or she employs those who do and is wise enough to take their advice.
But classy? Classy does not trash ones mother and stepfather or ex husbands publicly. Frankly, I would say that the apples did not fall far from the tree where the Bouvier girls and their mother were concerned. All lied/mislead about their background and pretended to be what they were not. All aspired to have real money and did whatever was necessary to have it.
Neither were particularly good mothers, relying on nannies and boarding school to rear their children. Both were obsessed with materialism. Their relationships were very dysfunctional – bad marriages and affairs. I do think in the end Jacqueline found what she had been looking for in her relationship with Maurice Templesman and became much more grounded and was devoted to her grandchildren. I don’t think this has happened for Lee.
A part of me feels sorry for Lee – a lost son, so many friends gone and no grandchildren. She was brought up to be charming and amusing and in the end, that is all that is there.
Feb. 18, 2013 at 11:28 p.m.
New York City
One interesting thing I also noticed was that there was not much talk of formal educational experience — which I imagine is not something an English writer would ask about since it is not something the English generally expect of women, and is also not something very much expected of her generation and class.
Aside from giving credit to a secondary school art history teacher, I don’t think she said anything. I believe she did go to Sarah Lawrence College for a brief spell, but have been told she was thrown out and did not graduate, not an easy thing to do at Sarah Lawrence (I believe her late younger half sister Janet Auchincloss also flunked out there).
Feb. 19, 2013 at 5:03 a.m.
Funny she trashes her own mother as a social climber – LOL!!!
March 2, 2013 at 1:45 a.m.
I am still kicking at 84, teaching in the chihuahuan desert how to hand-craft adobe domed and Nubian vaulted roofs. In NYC the days of Lee Radziwill are fondly
recalled, with indeed Andy W., Rauschenberg, Magritte in 1967, John & Dominique de Menil, David Maysles, all dead but Lee and Al Maysles. Jackie lived 3 blocks away, Johnjohn went to St. David’s school right next door to me, family dinners at the Algonquin with Rossellini. NY was an intensely creative village. . Sofia Coppola is a genius to seek out interviews with people of style, of wit. I hope she continues because she’s very good at this form of writing and handling film. email@example.com
Feb. 18, 2013 at 11:27 p.m.
Very classy…and not everybody ends up in “La Cote Basque”
Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:39 a.m.
New York, NY
I bumped into Lee once in the lobby of the D&D building. I had no idea who she was so I had a rather pleasant conversation with her as we rode the elevator up together to Brunschwig & Fils. You should have seen the reaction on the faces of the people when the elevator doors open and we were still engaged in conversation. As she was leaving, she wished me a nice day, using my name…
Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:38 a.m.
Awesome. She’d be a PR person’s nightmare, but that’s what makes her interesting. Fascinating life, with an envious front-row view of world history. Thanks for the interview and the beautiful photos.
Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:38 a.m.
Wretched excess. The Bouvier sisters always fascinated me, but how incredibly shallow they were, still are, in Lee’s case.
Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:36 a.m.
Reader In Wash, DC
“Her romances with the most attractive men of the time — the photographer Peter Beard and Richard Meier, the architect, possibly even Mick Jagger, among them”
Wow! This sure reveals a lot about the reporter’s taste in men. Surely nice guys but these men are all versions of what a socialite is. An arbiter of aesthetics.
I think the most attractive men of the time might include Jonas Salk, Robert Noyce, Martin Luther King, etc…
Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:35 a.m.
What an interesting, informative, and well-written commentary. It exudes the life of one soul, who has found peace and contentment in her old age. May we all be given Ms. Radziwell’s grace and wisdom, when our end becomes so very, very apparent.
Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:32 a.m.
Why very very apparent?
Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:18 p.m.
The real Radziwill? She’s not a princess. The only reason she’s called a “princess” is because she married a Polish prince. Radziwills played a very important part in Polish history. I wonder why she keeps using this name since she divorced her husband Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill.
Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:32 a.m.
her 2 children perhaps
Feb. 18, 2013 at 11:25 p.m.
How many girls were named after these sisters, one way or another?
Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:05 a.m.
At first I thought, who cares; this is no different than Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton: famous for being famous. But I suppose that curious interest in the Kennedy mystique kept me reading and my thinking evolved to find someone with depth and a life story to share.
Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:05 a.m.
The interview and the article were so wonderful that my childhood friend and I (now separated by 2000 miles) Skyped and talked about it all week. We are Lee Radziwill’s age, lived in New York in the 60’s, and were Democrats and Kennedy supporters. We all lived in an era where we wore hats and gloves, were housewives and mothers, and took pride in having a beautiful home (now, it is more fashionable to say,”we created a serene and beautiful environment.”)
I had a career which she did not, but I wonder if I would have, had I had the kind of money she had.
The article and video were splendid. I much prefer reading about Lee Radziwill than Paris Hilton or Beyonce.
Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:04 a.m.
land of enchantment
After reading the comments, I am surprised at the vitriole! I too, have no regard for the so called “1%”, but, I don’t feel that Lee is in that category, she is old money, and it just seems mean, she is 79, and I don’t see her being so cut throat. I guess it is that she is Jackie’s sister and she is the closest thing to royalty that we have, and, I adored Truman Capote, her Aunt and cousin Edie at Grey Gardens, and the crowd she ran with.
It is also fun to listen to someone with true style, and grace, which is sadly lacking with the society today with the rich kids of Instagram and what have you, so tacky. I enjoyed this, and wish that people would be more polite online, reading reviews and articles even on the NY Times you would think there would be some civil discourse, it’s almost as bad as youtube or Yahoo! Have we really digressed so much? Listen to the way she speaks it’s glorious! Then read these comments!!!
Feb. 17, 2013 at 4:28 a.m.
Women of Lee Radziwell’s generation ( my generation) who had the opportunity to go to college, went so that they would be better wives and mothers. It was a very different time and the expectations of women were different.
In college, along with studying history, English and philosophy, we learned to host teas. We attended teas at the college president’s home on Sunday afternoons at 4:00, wearing dresses, high heels, a hat and white gloves.
It was the end of an era, and by 1970 things had totally changed.
To judge her by today’s standards is unfair.
Feb. 17, 2013 at 4:28 a.m.
My mother (of your generation) studied English at a prestigious all-women’s college and accomplished far more than a facility for hosting teas. Same with the mothers of many friends. They would easily hold up to being judged by today’s standards. Sure, times have changed, but your comment is inaccurate.
March 2, 2013 at 1:45 a.m.
You know, I have worried that The New York Times would fold and disappear along with so many other magazines and newspapers that have succumbed lately. This interview, along with the fascinating video and slide show have convinced me that the Times will continue to be a “paper” I simply cannot live without.
Feb. 17, 2013 at 4:27 a.m.
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Filipino Couture Shines on Red Carpet
by Larry Leviste
An estimated 20 million viewers saw Sofia Vergara’s caviar beaded strapless gown make Philippine fashion history last Monday at the 70th Golden Globes Awards. The Dubai based designer Michael Cinco created the $10,000 black 2 ply silk tulle gown encrusted with flat sequins which took 100 man hours to embellish. Vergara with her beauty queen stance and Columbian high energy placed 3rd in the Best Dressed List by People Magazine and consistently in the Top Five Choices in many countries broadsheets and blog sites including Yahoo, E News, NY Times, LA Times and the Hollywood Reporter.
” It’s by Michael Cinco, he’s a new designer for me, I usually stay away from black but when I saw it and put it on, it was amazing, ” proclaimed Vergara to Ryan Seacrest, as her towering sexual presence sent a shout out to the world that Filipino fashion design had finally arrived in Hollywood. An hour after she red carpeted on cable, 500 Tweets a minutes confirmed it’s knock out success. Personally I liked it because it looked comfortable yet Old Hollywood glamorous. It was a perfect fit like Vergara was poured into the gown, she looked happy too.
” It was Facebook that got me hooked up with my partner in Los Angeles Antonio Esteban, a wonderful puerto Rican who runs Style PR with a showroom in Beverly Hills that works closely with the top stylists especially during Awards season, ” said Michael in a phone patch PDI exclusive interview.
” Esteban saw some of my designs in a Swarowski shoot published in LA Salt Magazine, so he sent me a PM on Facebook and that’s what got the ball rolling. Next thing we were talking and from my 2013 couture collection, I sent 10 cocktail dresses and 10 long gowns. Now the Style LA exclusively handles me in celebrity placements and represents my work exclusively in the US.
An early morning call woke me up last Monday, Esteban broke the great news. It’s only now, with all the attention that dress is generating that I realize it’s a special moment in my career. I thank God for this opportunity and I promise to bring other Filipino designers to our Hollywood showroom, ” said the soft spoken and humble Cinco. He is not naming names but I’m sure he might bring his other Dubai based designer friends like Cary Santiago ( his room mate when they were just starting ) and Martin Bautista. I’m also wishing it might be Furne Une who has done spectacular gowns on music videos.
Next week you can watch Cinco on Star World where he is the guest judge in Tyra Bank’s Asia’s Next Top Model with Andre Leon Talley and Nigel Barker. His gowns were featured last year were worn last year in a special segment of America’s Next Top Model shot in a land fill. Cinco who is always in wraparound sunglasses took them off for the TV show, revealing a sweet faced Filipino who is presently fast tracked to fashion superstardom.
Here is photograhic evidence of his work and wonders. Hard copies that show originality and labor intensive hark work in cutting and finishing. He has the good taste of restraint in a porn couture world infecting show biz and the red carpet. Cinco made a special gown for Lady Gaga that she wore last week. Also outfits for Britney Spears for her new music video and costumes for Chris Rock through the top celebrity stylist Paris Libby.
Where does Michael Cinco go from here ? Rumors circulate he is doing costumes for a movie Mila Kunis is shooting right now. Also the producer of E News has called him that the stylist of Cate Blanchett is interested to see his gowns for the Oscars on February 24. For this Filipino talent, the yellow brick road to the Oscars is paved with good intentions and beautiful show stopping gowns that get the green light.
WE had a very successful VALDES (DE PAMPANGA) CLAN REUNION 2013 (the descendants of Pedro Angeles and Anacleta Valdes Juico through their four children Ignacio Valdes, Francisca Valdes-de Jesus, Leodegaria Valdes-Lilles, and Roman Valdes), today 13 January 2013, Sunday, 11am – 3.30pm, JRU Jose Rizal University Gym, Shaw boulevard, Mandaluyong city. More than 200 Valdes (de Pampanga) descendants attended.
Thank you very much to the Valdes (de Pampanga) clan reunions core group headed by Bunny Fabella and Tita Nela Katigbak-Fabella joined by Lola Afric Valdes-Reynoso, Tita Lita Lilles, Tita Eli Rivera-Narciso, Aye Yap-Azurin, Susie Tinio Arroyo, Salie Henson-Naguiat, Mia Reynoso-Laws, Mariness Panlilio, Therese Coronel-Santos, Lulu Posadas, & Toto Gonzalez.
Thank you very much to this year’s host branch, the Ignacio Valdes (yellow), among them: Aye Yap-Azurin, Baba Yap, Deg Yap, Popi Yap, Serge Naguiat, Dobbie Naguiat, Minda Feliciano-Lonsdale, Gene Gonzalez, Toto Gonzalez, Atty. Ompong Gonzalez, Rocelle Gonzalez-Lizares, Martha Reyes-Horrigan, Edward Horrigan, Bobby Horrigan, Justice Camilo D. Quiason, Atty. Eric Quiason, Telet Quiason-Litonjua, Didi Quiason-Lopa, et. al..
Ignacio Valdes branch (yellow): Cesar & Aye Azurin, Baba Yap, Serge & Salie Naguiat, Dobbie & Ging Naguiat, Toto Gonzalez, Danny & Rocelle Lizares with their twins Andrew & Marie, Sis Reyes, Martha Reyes-Horrigan, Edward Horrigan, Justice Camilo D. Quiason, Atty. Eric & Bernie Quiason, Telet Quiason-Litonjua, Therese Litonjua, Rapa & Didi Lopa, et. al..
Francisca Valdes-de Jesus branch (blue): Bunny Fabella, Nela Katigbak-Fabella, Gion Fabella, Eli Rivera-Narciso, Susie Tinio Arroyo, Lola Afric Valdes-Reynoso, Mia Reynoso-Laws, Litos & Mary Anne Reynoso, Martin Reynoso, Cecille Reynoso, Lorrie Reynoso, et. al..
Roman Valdes branch (green): Butch Valdes & family, et. al..
Where did you order the “lechon”??? Really good!!! 😀 😀 😀
As explained by Tita Eli Rivera-Narciso, next year 2014 will mark the 20th anniversary of the annual Valdes (de Pampanga) clan reunions — the descendants of Pedro Angeles and Anacleta Valdes Juico — begun in 1994 and spearheaded by the late Tito Armand Fabella of the Francisca Valdes-de Jesus branch (blue). It will be a very big event hosted by all the branches of the Valdes (de Pampanga) clan.
VALDES (DE PAMPANGA) CLAN REUNION 2013 (the descendants of Pedro Angeles and Anacleta Valdes Juico through their four children Ignacio Valdes, Francisca Valdes-de Jesus, Leodegaria Valdes-Lilles, and Roman Valdes), 13 January 2013, Sunday, 11am – 3.30pm, JRU Jose Rizal University Gym, Shaw boulevard, Mandaluyong city.
The Valdes (de Pampanga) clan reunions core group is headed by Bunny Fabella and Nela Katigbak-Fabella joined by Afric Valdes-Reynoso, Lita Lilles, Eli Rivera-Narciso, Aye Yap-Azurin, Susie Tinio Arroyo, Salie Henson-Naguiat, Mia Reynoso-Laws, Mariness Panlilio, Therese Coronel-Santos, Lulu Posadas, & Toto Gonzalez.
This year’s host branch is the Ignacio Valdes (yellow): Aye Yap-Azurin, Baba Yap, Deg Yap, Popi Yap, Serge Naguiat, Dobbie Naguiat, Minda Feliciano-Lonsdale, Gene Gonzalez, Toto Gonzalez, Atty. Ompong Gonzalez, Rocelle Gonzalez-Lizares, Martha Reyes-Horrigan, Edward Horrigan, Bobby Horrigan, Atty. Eric Quiason, Telet Quiason-Litonjua, Didi Quiason-Lopa, et. al..
The theme is: “The Valdes Mod Hatters”. Come in creative headgear, Valdeses!!!