the countess of ribes’s collection goes to auction in paris

by Sharon Santoni

Sotheby’s France just took Christmas shopping to a whole new level. This week they will auction a part of the vast and private collection of Count Édouard and Countess Jacqueline de Ribes. The collection includes priceless pieces accumulated over six generations .  The sale will include artwork, furniture, paintings and a beautiful collection of powder compacts, snuff boxes and cigarette cases. Beyond their beauty, these items are witnesses of an era and of a spectacular life lived to the full. For more on the fascinatingly glamorous life of Countess Jacqueline de Ribes – once hailed by Valentino as “the last queen of Paris” – read on…

Always one to make an entrance, Jacqueline de Ribes was born in Paris on Bastille Day 1929, into a great French aristocracy. The eldest child of the Count and Countess Jean de Beaumont, at age 19, she reinforced her already well-to-do social standing with a marriage to the Viscount Édouard de Ribes, a successful financier from an equally powerful family.

After an austere start to her married life, sharing a large home with her strict and oft disapproving parents-in-law, Jacqueline discovered that she had the character and the physique to become an international socialite (she would later be compared to “an ivory unicorn” by renowned French fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent). Always a creative, Jacqueline filled her time hiring dressmakers and seamstresses to make her custom garments, which she later modified into her own elaborate creations and wore proudly to grand dinners and events.

On a trip to New York in the mid-50s, Jacqueline met famed Harper’s Bazaar editor Diana Vreeland who asked to photograph her. She obliged, and the resulting cameo-like profile portrait, taken by Richard Avedon with a glowing accompanying text from Truman Capote, was published in Life Magazine. It was this moment that skyrocketed Jacqueline into international fame – she became the new face of French elegance. She went on to forge relationships with the creme de la creme of the fashion world – Oleg Cassini, Valentino, Ungaro, John Fairchild, Emilio Pucci, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few.

Although she always had a passion for creation, it wasn’t until 1982 – shortly after her 53rd birthday – that Jacqueline announced her official upcoming as a fashion designer. With the help from her now good friend YSL, she launched her first collection at Paris Fashion Week in 1983. Her line was an immediate commercial and critical success, and she was soon exclusively contracted by Saks Fifth Avenue, grossing over $3 million by 1985.

Jacqueline’s creativity never stopped at fashion. She’s written an anonymous column for Marie Claire. She’s headed up international charities. She took over International Ballet of the Marquis de Cuevas. She even tried her hand in television production with some of the biggest names in 1970s Hollywood. Aristocrat, fashion icon, entrepreneur, writer and philanthropist, living legend Jacqueline de Ribes remains as influential today as she’s always been.

So if you would like to own a small, or not so small part of the Ribes heritage, then head over to Sotheby’s  here, browse their catalogue and why not place your bid.    Part 1 of “La Collection Ribes” will be offered for sale on December 11-12 (with Part 2 coming to the block in Spring 2020). A portion of the proceeds will go to the Ribeses’ preferred charities.


Kate Dickerson December 10, 2019 - 7:07 pm

Wow – what an incredibly gorgeous house! While I could never live in such a museum-like atmosphere, I have been going gaga over the photos, That fire screen!!! It is the perfect centerpiece for that spectacular living room, and looks like it was made for the room, even thought it was made for Louis XVI. And all of those beautiful snuff boxes!!

Thanks for sharing the link, Sharon!

Steven December 10, 2019 - 7:30 pm

Fortunate are the few…………. Thank you very much for sharing!

Sandra Sallin December 10, 2019 - 7:43 pm

Why are they selling everything? Is there no family to inherit these beauties? I went to look into bidding and discovered it’s definitely out of my league. Thank you for featuring her. They don’t make them like that anymore. A real treat.

Eleni December 10, 2019 - 11:06 pm

Thank you so much for this article. I followed the Countess of Ribes over the years, always interesting and very creative.

Kay December 11, 2019 - 1:12 am

What a stunning looking woman!

Nita December 11, 2019 - 5:51 am

Ordered ur December magazine not received as of today, payed by credit card, received email of order, confirmation , but no magazine yet.

Sharon Santoni December 11, 2019 - 8:28 am

Hi Nita, our sincere apologies. We have experienced a problem with the fulfilment of our magazine orders, but you should receive your copy very soon now. As of next month, we are changing our shipping procedure and we expect the delivery to be far quicker and smoother for all.
Thank you for your purchase and for your patience

Ulrike Crysandt December 11, 2019 - 8:40 am

Good Morning from Germany, Sharon
I also ordernd & payed in November for the printed edition of the december magazine!
Until now I received no E-Mail ,no confirmation and no magazine!
I am looking forward to receive your magazine before Christmas?!

Molly @ MFCH December 12, 2019 - 5:02 pm

Hi Ulrike,

Please send us an email at so we can look into this.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Molly @ MFCH

Donna DE LUCA December 11, 2019 - 8:46 am

Hello Sharon
Ordered and paid late NOV and did receive an email and receipt for a year’s subscription . I live in Australia so expecting my DEC issue may take awhile?
Kindest regards

Molly @ MFCH December 12, 2019 - 5:06 pm

Hi Donna!

Thanks so much for ordering! It can take up to 4-6 weeks to arrive and depends on your local post service. We’re changing shippers in the new year and are hoping to see this timing much improved moving forward. Please feel free to send us an email at at any time.

Kind wishes,
Molly @ MFCH

Debby Hammer December 12, 2019 - 10:14 am

Exquisite as always. New to me. Flamboyant and fabulous. Thank you so much.

Roxane Lacroix December 15, 2019 - 6:51 pm

What an extraordinary life she has lived!! I highly recommend reading the Vanity Fair article “The Last Queen of Paris” from Sept 2010 for a peek into her fascinating story.


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