The very first Dior dress seen on Aimée de Heeren at the Circus Ball in 1939 / Lady Mendl by VB.com
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Aimée de Heeren with a friend at the Circus Ball given by Lady Mendl and wearing one of the first dresses made by Christian Dior
Aimée de Heeren (August 3, 1903 – September 14, 2006)
was a legendary Brazilian beauty
and one of the most elegant woman of the 20th century.

Aimée lived through and met everyone who was everyone
in the entire century (Michelle Kauffmann) ...

One of the very first Dior dresses ever
was worn by her
at the Circus Ball reception from Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe).
The dress was designed by Christian Dior
but not under the Dior lable,
it was for the 1939 spring collection of Robert Piguet
the company Christian Dior
worked for before launching Dior.

 

one of the very first Christian Dior dresses, at the time produced for Robert Piguet, spring 1939 collection

 
 

This historic photo was found in Brazil in the Museu da Moda
(Casa da Marquesa de Santos)
and sent to VB.com by Michelle Kauffmann Benarush
an International fashion expert
and the Secretaria de Estado de Cultura do Rio de Janeiro.

The photo was published by Vogue August 15 1939
but did not come to the eyes of VB.com until August 2012.

The editor of VB was fascinated to see the legendary necklace
which was one of Aimeés favorite and very first jewels,
once a present of
the inventor Thomas Edison.
(Unfortunately the necklace was stolen in the 1950s and all what was left from Thomas Edison
is a pearl broach which does also have quite a story ...)


Lady Mendl
The Circus Ball was given July 1 1939
at the Villa Trianon,
the beloved Versailles home
of the American decorator
Elsie de Wolfe (Lady Mendl).
The Villa located on Boulevard Saint Antoine had a huge park
adjoining the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles.

guests of the Circus Ball
The guest list of 700 people
(if anybody sould have the list please mail it to b "at" vb.com so that we can enhance the article)
included the writer Somerset Maugham,
the Duke and Dutchess of Windsor (Wallis Simpson),
Prince Jean-Louis de Faucigny-Lucinge, his wife Princess Baba
Coco Chanel, Elis Schiparelli
Baron Hubert von Panz,
Baron Nici von Guenzburg,
Armand de Gramont,
Cecil Beaton
Photographer Cecil Beaton,
Mme Jean Bonnardel,
Elsa Maxwell, the Countess Mona von Bismarck
and the textile magnate Marcel Boussac.
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Lady Mendl's Party
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Lady Mendl's Party
William Vandivert
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Lady Mendl's Party
William Vandivert
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Lady Mendl's Party
William Vandivert
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Lady Mendl's Party
William Vandivert
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Lady Mendl's Party
William Vandivert
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Mrs. Ronald Balcom and Elsa Schiapare...
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Lady Mendl's Party


Villa Trianon
Held at the dawn of World War II the Ball
was the last great party of the Season,
and in some way, the last great party of it's era.
The park of the Villa Trianon was full of Topiary plants
which Aimée admired and later planted
at her Villa La Roseraie in Biarritz.

Villa Trianon
According to Edouard de Lobkowicz
who was allowed to assist the Ball as a teenager
Aimée de Sa Sottomajor just having arrived from Brazil
(where her beauty had caused a "little" scandal)
was in the center
of the public eye.

arriving at the Circus Ballarriving at the Circus Ball
According to Aimée de Heeren,
Christian Dior himself was a little sad
not to have been invited.
Only very few fashion clients, excluding Lady Mendl,
knew his name.
... fame had to wait for the war to pass to come to him.


At the Ball
Aimée met Marcel Boussac,
a french textile magnate.
Boussac was fascinated by Aimée's dress & look
over and over again
until Aimée had finally given him
the name of the designer .... Christian Dior

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Christian Dior (1905-1957)

Aimée wearing a dress of the,
at the time unknown Christian Dior,
might have been a little help in his later caréer ...

The dress was seen by everybody
and 7 years later,
right after the end of the war
Boussac
financed the launch of the Dior fashion house .

 
 
 
     
 

fashion expert Michelle Kauffmann BenarushChristian Dior patron Aimée de Heeren and Ben von Solms
Aimée de Heeren's memories
told to the editor of VB.com
and research from Michelle Kauffmann Benarush (Rio Fashion Museum)
helped to create this small article
about one of the
very beautiful
and very first Christian Dior dresses.

 


 
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