Balenciaga, Venet & Givenchy at the Chateau Haroue, Lorraine.


6th May - 17th August 2010.



The home of the Beauvau - Craon family has been transformed into the most fabulous fashion venue outside Paris by the current Chataleine Princess Minnie de Beauvau - Craon.


Her long term freindship with designers Hubert de Givenchy and Pilippe Venet has blossomed into a beautiful collaboration bringing a collection of twentieth century Haute Couture under the roof of one of France's most important country houses. Mr Givenchy and Mr Venet are very honoured by the invitation from thier friend to show these garments.


Chateau Haroue has a special history. It was built in 1720 by Germain Boffrand and was commissioned by Princess Minnie's ancestor Marc de Beauvau - Craon and is a unique representation of the calendar and the cycle of the year. The castle is approached through one of 4 bridges, it has 12 towers, 52 chimneys and 365 windows. 



































 Image Credit Didier Doussin



It is very beautiful and the descibed, quite rightly, as a Jewel of the Lorraine region. The Chateau is a show piece of all the hard work of the local crafts people of Lorraine and a celebration of the hard work of the Beauvau - Craon family.


There are many famous pieces on display such as HM Queen Fabiola of Belgium's wedding dress that has come from the foundation of Cristobel Balenciaga in Getaria, Spain. This piece is displayed in one of the magnificent first floor salon's of the Chateau along with other works by Balenciaga that will be seen in the museum of the foundation from next year. Like all Balenciaga pieces the models show the careful structured tailoring of his work that gives the clothes the timesless elegant quality they have. They could be worn today.





















Image credit Didier Doussin.






















Queen Fabiola's dress is amazing. It's beautiful and modern but with an impression of a winter fairytale that the people of her new country would have expected or hoped to see. I'm sure that she looked very beautiful when she wore it and kept the cold out too. I also love the accompanying blue-marine coloured Bridesmaid Coatdress. She had a beautiful December wedding and both the Bride and the Bridesmaids were kept very stylishly warm on the special day.


Balenciaga dressed many beautiful women all over the world such as Queen Ena of Spain and Grace of Monaco. Balenciaga always had a very strong following in his native Spain. He found his leading inspiration in the work of Gabrielle Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and the very influential Madeleine Voinnet.



Phillipe Venet has had a long distinguished career as a couturier. He worked with Mr Givenchy at Shiaperelli before moving on to work with Givenchy as his Master Taylor in 1952. He played a vital role in the sucess of Givenchy in the 1950s before setting up his own House in 1962. His collections showed in Paris and he was one of the first designers to show in the United States.










Pieces from the salon dedicated

to the work of Phillipe Venet.







Image credit Didier Doussin.


















For most visitors to the Chateau the most recognisable dress will be piece by Hubert de Givenchy that was worn by Audrey Hepburn in the Film Breakfast at Tiffany's. This classic black gown with it's innovative back detail illustrates how Mr Givenchy was spotted, from his early days as a designer with a new creative vision for women. 






 The famous dress. Daring in it's design

perhaps but so classic. The simplicity

of the piece creates the beauty of it I feel.



I'm glad the piece was shown with pearls as

Audrey wore it in the film. Pearls complete

any outfit and make a fabulous dress even


















 Image credit Didier Doussin.





Miss Audrey Hepburn first asked Mr Givenchy to dress her for ther role in Sabrina in 1953 and then he dressed her in many of her subsequent films. He even created a special perfume for her 'Interdit' by Givenchy and from this his other great perfumes followed. I remember after finishing school the first two grown-up perfumes I bought for myself where from Givenchy and now I know I have both him and Audrey Hepburn to thank for beginning that part of his creative exploration.


However one very special lady does need to mentioned, Mrs Jackie Kennedy. She was the first paron of Givenchy as an independant designer was Mrs Jackie Kennedy before she became the First Lady of America.












This piece by Givenchy was made

for Jackie Kennedy in 1961.

The occassion was a meeting with

the French President Charles de Gaule.

Here as in an earlier article I wrote

about Grace of Monaco, fashion

plays a more than decorative role.

For women on the political stage

fashion choices form an important

part of a diplomatic wardrobe. It is

still true today of women on the

world stage.


Image credit Didier Doussin.







Her recognition of his talent played an important part of establishing his client base following many years of hard work and studying in the Houses of Jacques Fath, Robert Piquet, Lucien Lelong and Elsa Schiaparelli. He also dressed many other leading ladies such as Grace of Monaco and her daughter Caroline. Some of Grace's clothes can be seen on the April News page in this site in the report on the Grace Kelly Style Icon exhibition at the V&A.    


After many years at the heart of the world of Paris couture Mr Givenchy sold the house to the LVMH group. He is however still active in the fashion world in other ways as this project with his friends Phillipe Venet and Princess Minnie shows.


I warmly recommend that you visit the Chateau Haroue if possible before 17th August to see the exhibition. The Chateau is 20 KM south of Nancy, which is itself only 1 1/2 hours from Paris, and set in the heart of beautiful countryside. I am hoping that I will be able to visit myself but for all you who are able to I know that you will enjoy it.


For more information about tickets and travel please see

I am very grateful to Minnie Beavau-Craon, Sophie at Anouka Paris and everyone involved in the project for their kindness and assistance.











































A Blush of Rose

Beauty, Grace & Style

          May 2010