Wednesday, December 5, 2012

celebri-crush of the week: nan kempner.

so maybe i'm a little late jumping on the nan kempner train. she died in 2005, after all. but better late than never, i say! & for nan kemper, jumping into her fan club is totally worth it. ever since i discovered her a few days ago, i've been somewhat obsessed reading about her lately.

nan kempner was the new york socialite of all new york socialites (even though she herself loathed the term). she was a glittering fixture at all society events, fashion shows, charity work, and shopping on both sides of the atlantic for decades. married to a banker & calling a sprawling 16-room duplex on park avenue & 79th home, she was also the owner of the largest private collection of haute couture clothing in the world. the world! after her children moved out of the house, she turned their rooms into walk-closets to house her 362 sweaters, 354 tailored jackets, 106 bikinis, & thousands of complete couture outfits. she once said "i spend more money than i should and less than i'd like to, much less. i couldn't keep my husband if i spent more." here's nan with yves saint laurent:

she was a muse of yves saint laurent's & one of his closest friends (she is said to have owned thousands of his designed pieces). he designed with her, his favorite american client, largely in mind. with her long legs, 26-inch waist, & tomboyish physique at 5'9 & 110 pounds, she was the casual, athletic ideal. she was a fixture at all runway shoes in new york, paris, milan, and traveled all over the world, and once said that out of yves saint laurent's last 63 shows, she only missed one. 

nan was also an extraordinary hostess, & you always went to her dinners if you were invited because you never knew who might turn up - nancy reagan? lady di? (she even wrote a book divulging recipes & other hosting secrets of the fabulously elite, complete with tours of places like oscar de la renta's santo domingo villa and a yacht of valentino's). she had sharp wit & energy up until she died. she told vanity fair once, "wait till you discover the wheelchair. you go to the front of every single line. they push you right through." 

it was also said she had this glitter in her eye - people were just drawn to her. she simply lived life on a grand scale. fashion & life were joyful games to her - near the end of her life, she said, "i want to be buried naked. i know there will be a store where i'm going."

she was even painted by andy warhol! if that isn't a sign you've made it, i don't know what is.

so let's hear it for nan kempner. one of those people who is so fun to learn more about.


read more about nan in fun articles here, here, here, here, & of course there's a tumblr for her (as there is for everything these days) where you can check out her beautiful re-created closets at the met here.

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