Monday, April 20, 2020

CONSUELO: Gilded Life

Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, Palm Beach, Fla.

I just finished reading again my copy of Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, one of the best biographies on the market.  From the gilt drenched late 1800's all the way thru December 1964, Madame Balsan transitioned from an arranged loveless marriage to the Duke of Marlborough - scion of famous Blenheim Palace- into the wife of a French colonel, with whom she finally shared love and caring... above - she's shown in her salon in Palm Beach, after downsizing from a large estate on Hypoluxo Island (Manalapan).

Ms. Stuart, in her afterword, quoted style icon Diana Vreeland thus, regarding Consuelo's inclusion in her 1975 Met show, "American Women of Style" :  "the energy of Imagination, deliberation, and invention, which fall into a natural rhythm totally one's own, maintained by innate discipline and a keen sense of pleasure. All who have it share one thing -originality. This is not a dress show".  Wow! DF