By  on December 17, 2010

Is Jacqueline de Ribes making a comeback? In April, the Comtesse was decorated as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and then was featured in Vanity Fair’s September issue. Now, this month, a candid photograph of de Ribes and Carla Bruni, taken by Jean Pigozzi in 1991, is on display at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue. Yet in perhaps the biggest coup of all, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is planning to stage an exhibit on the lifestyle of the chic French socialite-cum-designer in 2014.

De Ribes, however, has long been an obsession for WWD. In 1964, she gave the newspaper an interview during an intimate cocktail gathering in New York. She talked about the time she got kicked out of school (“I wanted to sleep out under the stars one night [so] I took my mattress out on the balcony [and was] locked out”), the summer she met her husband, Vicomte Edouard de Ribes, at the beach, as well as a trip she had just taken to Asia. “I did not enjoy Japan much at all — all those neon signs, even in one’s room,” she said. “But Hong Kong — how I love it there.”

And when de Ribes launched her fashion collection in 1983, WWD was there. “After years of whipping up dresses for herself and her friends,” we wrote on Feb. 16, 1983, “[she] has decided to take the plunge...with a couture collection of after-five clothes for the American market.” The line made its debut six days later at New York’s Regency Hotel — although close friend Yves Saint Laurent was given an earlier, private preview. “I wanted to show the secret to him,” de Ribes explained. “We share the same intellectual rigor about esthetics.”

As for why she opted to debut the collection in America, the Frenchwoman noted, “Every designer offers a personality and a style. Mine is simplicity and sophistication and I think Americans will appreciate that. They’ve always been very nice to me.”

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