For some this is a walk down the fabulously rich and fragrant memory lane of social life in the last century. For others it is a delightful key to open the door on a world not known by the younger generation. Prince Jean-Louis de Faucigny-Lucinge provides commentary and Brooke Astor sets us up with an introduction to a rarified world of entertaining on an Olympic scale. Bal masques, fetes, jubilees, soirées and veritable orgies of the very crustiest of the upper crust are noted in remembrances and photographs and works of art.
Hosts such as Carlos (Charlie) de Beistegui, Count Etienne de Beaumont, the Viscount de Noailles, and Baron Guy de Rothschild are celebrated by artists and photographers such as Cecil Beaton, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Berard.
In 1928, the author and his first wife “Baba,” (he describes her as “exotically beautiful” and “one of the most elegant women in Paris”), gave a soirée, based on the theme of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, which ended at six in the morning under the Eiffel Tower.
For anyone interested in the art of living on a grand scale, this book is a must. Good luck finding a copy. The image above is from the collection of Dominick Dunne on 1stdibs.com. And yes, it’s a bit pricey. We found copies at Abe Books (AbeBooks.com) from around $500. to $1,200. There are three copies at Biblio.com from about $500. to $750. Amazon has five copies from about $500. to $800. So keep your eyes open and perhaps you can find a copy.