A Surrealist Parisian Dinner Party chez Madame Rothschild, 1972

By

27th Aug, 2013

Dali was there of course and Audrey Hepburn showed up with her head trapped inside a Magritte birdcage …

Never has there been a dinner party quite like the “Diner de Têtes Surrealiste” that took place at the suburban Parisian mansion of Baron Guy de Rothschild and his ‘hostess with the mostess’, Marie-Helene de Rothschild. Only the crème de la crème of Parisian high society got an invite, but let’s rewind to 1972 and crash this hoity toity (if not a teensy bit fabulous) shindig.

We are the ‘plus one’ of attendee Baron Alexis de Redé, pictured above in his surrealist mask, custom-made by Dali himself. He recalls the night:

On 12 december 1972, Marie-Hélène de Rothschild gave her surrealist ball at Ferriéres. This time the guests were asked to come in black tie & long dresses with surrealist heads. For the evening the chateau was floodlit with moving orange lights to give the impression that it was on fire. 

The staircase inside was lined by footmen dressed as cats that appeared to have fallen asleep in a variety of staged poses. Guests had to pass through a kind of labyrinth of hell, made of black ribbons to look like cobwebs. the occasional cat appeared to rescue the guests & lead them to the tapestry salon. Here they were greeted by guy with a hat to resemble a still-life on a platter, & by Marie-Hélène wearing the head of a giant stag weeping tears made of diamonds.

Marie-Hélène proved that she had the flare and imagination to create something unique and worthwhile. None of this was created by charm alone. It needed a degree of ruthless determination. She attended to every minute detail of style in her life & also in her entertaining. She was a great hostess with all the qualities. She loved parties & people. She was forever in quest of new talent & new figures to entertain from the world of the arts, literature, dance & haute couture. 

She mixed them with the more established set of paris society. Everyone was intrigued. Marie-Hélène’s parties took on such importance that one social figure threatened to commit suicide unless she was invited.

[Salvador Dalí and Italian Princess Maria Gabriella de Savoia]

[Audrey Hepburn]

The invitation was printed with reversed writing on a blue & cloudy sky, inspired by a painting by magritte. To decipher the card, it had to be held to a mirror.

[The two headed Baroness Thyssen-Bornemizza and Guy Baguenault de Puchesse]

The menu.

[Hélène Rochas & François-Marie Banier]

[Our guide on the left, Baron Alexis de Redé in a Dalí designed Mona Lisa hat inset with portraits of Marie-Hélène]



Images via Real Life is Elsewhere, Scala Regia and So Bad So Good

:::

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

.

 

You Might Also Like

Comments

More in AbandonedDon't Be A TouristNostalgiaOff-Beat & Little Known

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

salemwitchmuseum

Welcome to Halloweentown, USA

“I think I saw the Head Witch of Salem in Trader Joe’s today,” I remember my mother saying. “She was wearing a pointy hat and cape in front of me at the checkout.” Welcome to Salem, Mas...

Trending 0
parisianbohemian

The Secret Bohemian Dinner Party in Paris

Behind the ominous door at number 8 Rue de Conservatoire, a secret bohemian dinner party awaits... Up the theatrical marble staircase, knock at the door on the first floor to find your eveni...

Trending 1,031
delaney

The Miniature Library of Forgotten Curiosities

If you can't have your own velvet-curtained library complete with dusty volumes, mysterious documents and antique treasures, how about a miniature one? On my internet travels today, I stumbled upo...

Trending 2,923
catacombs25

Penetrating the Paris Catacombs: Level One

We were told to dress in inconspicuous clothing, wear sturdy boots and gloves, bring food supplies, an ID in case of arrest and a rosary in case of the unimaginable. We met our host to the underworl...

Trending 10,106
dopples

13 Things I Found on the Internet Today (Vol.XCVII)

1. A Biblical Theme Park in Florida Photographer Daniel Cronin to the ancient and sacred land of Orlando, Florida to visit The Holy Land Experience, a Biblical theme park owned and operated by the...

Trending 20,909
connecticut

For Sale! The Ghost Town that Nobody Wanted

Johnsonville, Connecticut may be completely void of (human) inhabitants at present and characterised by those particular houses where one might occasionally see the faint shadows of children in ni...

Trending 159,079