“Proust’s Muse” Exhibition Opens

proust-muse-embedA new exhibition, “Proust’s Muse”— an edited version of “La Mode Retrouvée,” curated by Olivier Saillard for the Palais Galliera in Paris — has opened at the Museum at FIT in New York. On display is the wardrobe of Élisabeth de Caraman-Chimay, the Countess Greffulhe, after whom the Duchess de Guermantes, a central character in Marcel Proust’s masterwork, “In Search of Lost Time,” was modeled. A commanding redhead and noted beauty, the Countess was an important philanthropist who helped raise funds for the Ballets Russes and for a lab for Madame Curie. Fashionwise, she knew what she wanted: Her uncle, Count Robert de Montesquiou, who also inspired a character in Proust’s novel, recounted that his niece “would have the most renowned designers show her everything that was fashionable; then, when she was certain that they had come to the end of their pretentious rambling and bragging, she [would say], ‘Make me anything you like, as long as it’s not that!’ ”

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