Night Out with Robin & Andre

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I attended the book party and signing for Robin Givhan’s The Battle of Versailles at the residence of French Ambassador Gerard Araud. Robin and Vogue Contributing Editor Andre Leon Talley (in a sweeping custom cape, natch) enjoyed witty, collegial banter about fashion history for the benefit of the crowd. Talley in particular was a steady stream of Tweetable one-liners–starting with interjecting “since the Civil War!” while being introduced as a longtime editor to the magazine.

Robin: “Women [the international jet-set; royalty] were showing up in their full-length gowns and tiaras and diamonds that they owned.”

Talley: “Grace Kelly in suites of diamonds. SUITES OF DIAMONDS.”

I’m nearly halfway through the book, and it’s a fascinating read for anyone interested in American fashion, especially those of us young enough to not be personally familiar with a time when ready-to-wear didn’t exist and copies of clothing were encouraged by design houses, not discouraged.

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t add here that the Ambassador’s residence in Kalorama is stunning. From the gated entrance that opens to a half-moon driveway to the elegant mix of period paintings and decor with contemporary art and modern textiles, seeing it was a truly a special and only-in-Washington experience.

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