>> The woman lived and died for fashion, literally. She smoked from the age of 14 and ate lettuce (instead of bread)-bound sandwiches to maintain herself within sample size range. A few years ago, when she was in her seventies, she broke her hip wearing spiked heels. In 2005, she passed away from emphysema.
But for all her effort, fashion loved the original "social x-ray," Nan Kempner, back. Diana Vreeland once said, "There are no chic women in America. The one exception is Nan Kempner." -- A weighty statement coming from an editor of American Vogue. Yves Saint Laurent called her "la plus chic du monde."
Mrs. Kempner had quite the personality -- in the 1960's, she wore a new style -- a pantsuit -- to dinner at La Cote Basque restaurant, where the dress code forbade women in pants. Stopped at the door by hostess Madame Henriette, she yanked off the pants, handed them to her husband and told Madame, "I hope you like this better.'' She wore the tunic top as a dress, placed lots of napkins in her lap and "didn't dare bend over,'' she recalled.
Quotes like "The only plastic I want is plastic surgery!" and "I want to be buried naked, I know there's a store where I'm going." spilled forth from her mouth.
There's no doubt that between the woman's panache and her vast collection of Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, John Galliano for Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi, Lanvin, and Emanuel Ungaro will make for quite an exhibition at the Constume Institute in the Met, running from December 12 to March 4 of next year.