In 1993 I had a little job to do at Christies in New York. I was asked to provide ambiance for the sale of M. de Givenchy's furniture and silver collection. If you're a collector of vintage auction catalogs you can find the one for this sale HERE.
The famous sterling silver chandelier -
I fashioned the largest cord cover I ever made!
Another highlight is a six-legged desk in ebony and chiseled bronze executed by master cabinetmaker Andre-Charles Boulle
M. de Givenchy said he decided to sell off the valuables "to simplify my life."
The pieces that went on the Christie's auction block included a sterling silver chandelier dating to 1736. Commissioned by Britain's King George II, the German-made chandelier was priced at $3 million to $3.6 million (it realized triple that amount).
from The House of Beauty and Culture
Watercolor of M. de Givenchy's home -
I spy the sterling silver chandelier!
So what ambiance could little old me provide for all this grandeur? Besides making the word's largest cord cover, I did many large floral bouquets of perfect white flowers. I also made several six foot tall topiary trees from clipped boxwood, studded with a few well placed roses.
Christies was a regular client, and I often added ambiance for important sales preview parties. There was a delicate balance to strike. The ambiance had to be present, but not over power the merchandise so to speak.
The large photo is of M. de Givenchy's Paris apartment
The urns hoilding the bouquets are mine! Faux ho ho!
A handsome man came up to me and asked if I wanted to meet M. de Givenchy. I wasn't star struck back then. I knew who he was, but I wasn't a fashionista (the Beene clothes I had came by way of friend who worked there and dressed me up as his personal Barbie doll). I knew he designed clothes for the movies of Audrey Hepburn because one of my thousand jobs when I was a young adult was in The Film Department of The Museum of Modern Art.
Of course he was charming and very good looking. I apologized to the handsome assistant for not speaking French, and M. de Givenchy spoke to me in English. What did we talk about? Well he really wasn't that interested in the ambiance I was creating (though he complimented me saying I struck the perfect note of restraint and exuberance).
Out of print and rare, so if you have it you have a treasure-
I found one for sale for $650. via amazon
I did meet her a little later at a United Nations event. We spoke and I told her I did the flowers for the MOMA party, and she remarked how sweet I was to find out that roses were her favorite flowers. She also remembered taking the photo with my friend Danny who she found to be utterly charming and sweet.
She was in her 60's then, and she said she didn't believe in plastic surgery. She managed her weight all her life, never wanting to weigh more than 103 pounds (she was nearly 5' 7'' tall). She wore very little make-up, and dressed very simply.
Those two five minute encounters with Audrey and Hubert taught me many worthwhile lessons.
Photo taken in 1993 - she died later that year
and Danny died the next year -
I was his Audrey, and he was my Hubert