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Jacqueline de Ribes in her own design, 1986. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Francesco Scavullo, The Francesco Scavullo Foundation and The Estate of Francesco Scavullo.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Costume Institute’s Fall 2015 exhibition, Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style, will focus 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 20th century. The exhibition will be on view in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Anna Wintour Costume Center from November 19, 2015 through February 21, 2016. 

A close study of de Ribes’s life of creative expression yields illuminating insights into her strategies of style,” said Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, who is organizing the exhibition. “Her approach to dress as a statement of individuality can be seen as a kind of performance art. When she established her own fashion house, her friend Yves Saint Laurent gave his blessing to the venture as a welcome projection of her elegance.” 

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Jacqueline de Ribes in her own design, 1983. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Victor Skrebneski, Skrebneski Photograph © 1983.

Exhibition Overview 
The thematic exhibition will feature approximately 60 ensembles of haute couture and ready-to-wear primarily from de Ribes’s personal archive, dating from 1959 to the present. Also included will be her creations for fancy dress balls, which she often made by cutting up and cannibalizing her haute couture gowns to create unexpected, thematic, and conceptually nuanced expressions of her aesthetic. These, along with photographs and ephemera, will tell the story of how her interest in fashion developed over decades, from childhood “dress-up” to the epitome of international style. 

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Jacqueline de Ribes working in her Studio by David Lees for LIFE, 1985.

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Jacqueline de Ribes working in her Studio by David Lees for LIFE, 1985

A muse to haute couture designers, they placed 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. 

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Jacqueline de Ribes wearing one of her own designs, phorographed by Victor Skrebneski, 1983, Skrebneski Photograph © 1983.

While the exhibition will focus on her taste and style methodology, extensive documentation from her personal archives will illustrate the range and depth of her professional life, including her roles as theatrical impresario, television producer, interior designer, architect, and director and organizer of international charity events. 

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Jacqueline de Ribes wearing one of her own designs, by Victor Skrebneski, 1983. Skrebneski Photograph © 1983.

Designers in the exhibition will include Giorgio Armani, Pierre Balmain, Bill Blass, Marc Bohan for House of Dior, Roberto Cavalli, Jacqueline de Ribes, John Galliano, Madame Grès (Alix Barton), Valentino Garavani, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Norma Kamali, Guy Laroche, Ralph Lauren, Ralph Rucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Fernando Sanchez for Révillon Frères, and Emanuel Ungaro. 

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Jacqueline de Ribes in her own design, 1985Photography by David Lees, David Lees/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

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Jacqueline de Ribes wearing a Jean Dessès gown, 1956.

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Jacqueline de Ribes in a Dior dress & headdress by Raymundo de Larrain for Alexis de Redé's Bal de Têtes, 1957.

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Jacqueline de Ribes wearing a Yves Saint Laurent dress, photographed by Mark Shaw, 1959.

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Jacqueline de Ribes wearing a Dior day-suit and veiled hat, photographed by Mark Shaw at her home in Paris, 1959.

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Jacqueline de Ribes in Christian Dior, 1959. Photograph by Roloff Beny, Roloff Beny Estate

Countess Jacqueline de Ribes (born 1929 in Paris to aristocratic parents) is seen by many as the ultimate personification of Parisian elegance. She was, with the American and Italian beauties Gloria Vanderbilt and Marella Agnelli, among the small flock of “Swans” photographed by Richard Avedon and written about by Truman Capote in 1959. 

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Jacqueline and Edouard de Ribes, Marella and Gianni Agnelli. Photo by Benno Graziani, 1958.

Married at age 19 to Édouard, Vicomte de Ribes (he became the Count de Ribes upon the death of his father in 1981), the traditions of her in-laws precluded her from becoming a career woman. An independent spirit, she channeled her creativity into a series of ventures linked by fashion, theater, and style. In 1956, de Ribes was nominated for Eleanor Lambert’s Best-Dressed List. At the time, she had only a handful of couture dresses, as most of her wardrobe was comprised of her own designs, which she made herself or with a dressmaker. Four more nominations followed, and resulted in her induction into the International Best-Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1962. 

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Jacqueline and Edouard de Ribes. Photo by Robert Bourguet, 1991.

Photographed by the world’s leading talents including Slim Aarons, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Cecil Beaton, Robert Doisneau, Horst, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Irving Penn, Francesco Scavullo, Victor Skrebneski, and Juergen Teller, her image came to define an effortless elegance and a sophisticated glamour. 

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Horst P. Horst, 1953.

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Richard Avedon, 1955. © The Richard Avedon Foundation

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Richard Avedon, 1955 © The Richard Avedon Foundation

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Richard Avedon, 1955 © The Richard Avedon Foundation

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Carlos de Beistegui and Jacqueline de Ribes, 1955.

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Jacqueline de Ribes and Charles de Besteigui by Robert Doisneau, 1957.

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Jacqueline de Ribes and Charles de Beistegui by André Ostier, 1957.

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Raymundo de Larrain, Jacqueline de Ribes and Charles de Beistegui by André Ostier, 1957.

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Jacqueline de Ribes, 1959.

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Jacqueline de Ribes, 1961. Photograph attributed to Raymundo de Larrain.

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Jacqueline de Ribes and Raymundo de Larrain by Richard Avedon, 1961. © The Richard Avedon Foundation

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Jacqueline de Ribes and Raymundo de Larrain by Richard Avedon, 1961. © The Richard Avedon Foundation

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Jacqueline de Ribes in Yves Saint Laurent, 1962. Photograph by Richard Avedon, © The Richard Avedon Foundation

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Jacqueline de Ribes, Baron Guy de Rothschild, Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, Audrey Hepburn, and Georges Pompidou, 1962

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 Cecil Beaton and Jacqueline de Ribes by Jack Nisberg, 1965.

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Jacqueline de Ribes at her home in Paris by Jean-Claude Deutsch, 1966

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Pierluigi Praturlon for Vogue, 1969.

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Pierluigi Praturlon for Vogue, 1969.

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Jacqueline de Ribes at the Oriental Ball, 1969.

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Comtesse Jacqueline de Ribes Bal Proust given by Guy and Marie-Helene de Rothschild, December 1971. Photographed by Cecil Beaton.

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Ronny Jaques, 1972.

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Jacqueline de Ribes and Gloria Guiness by Reginald Gray during a gala at Château de Versailles, 1973

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Andy Warhol, 1980.

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Victor Skrebneski, 1983.

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Jacqueline de Ribes and former model Bettina by Richard Kalvar, 1985.

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Jacqueline de Ribes by Martine Franck, 1989

In 1999, Jean Paul Gaultier dedicated his haute couture collection to her with the title “Divine Jacqueline,” and in 2010, she received the Légion d’Honneur from French President Nicolas Sarkozy for her philanthropic and cultural contributions to France. 

The exhibition will be featured on the Museum’s website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #JacquelinedeRibes.

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Dresses worn by French style and fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes are displayed at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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Dresses worn by French style and fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes are displayed at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in New York. The exhibit, "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style," opens on November 19.  (AP Photo/Jocelyn Noveck)

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Dresses worn by French style and fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes are displayed at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in New York. The exhibit, "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style," opens on November 19.  (AP Photo/Jocelyn Noveck)

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Dresses worn by French style and fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes are displayed at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in New York. The exhibit, "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style," opens on November 19.  (AP Photo/Jocelyn Noveck)

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Dresses worn by French style and fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes are displayed at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in New York. The exhibit, "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style," opens on November 19.  (AP Photo/Jocelyn Noveck)

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Dresses worn by French style and fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes are displayed at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in New York. The exhibit, "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style," opens on November 19.  (AP Photo/Jocelyn Noveck)

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Dresses worn by French style and fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes are displayed at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in New York. The exhibit, "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style," opens on November 19.  (AP Photo/Jocelyn Noveck)

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Dresses worn by French style and fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes are displayed at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in New York. The exhibit, "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style," opens on November 19.  (AP Photo/Jocelyn Noveck)

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Dresses worn by French style and fashion icon Jacqueline de Ribes are displayed at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in New York. The exhibit, "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style," opens on November 19.  (AP Photo/Jocelyn Noveck)

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FILE - This Nov. 20, 1959 file photo shows Viscountess Jacqueline de Ribes, right, with actress Miiko Taka from the film, "Sayonara," at the Embassy Ball at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Dresses, including this one worn by the French style and fashion icon, are part of an exhibit, "Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style,"opening November 19 at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)