Countess Greffulhe wearing a ball dress by Otto

  • Otto

  • Circa 1887
  • Albumen print
  • GALK2477
  • Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

Born in 1860 and married at the age of eighteen to the wealthy Count Henry Greffulhe, Elizabeth de Caraman-Chimay was until 1914 one of the best known, distinctively elegant figures on the Paris social scene. The inspiration for the Duchess of Guermantes in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, she regularly ordered – notably from Worth – sumptuous outfits that highlighted her splendid waist. Here we see her in a dress entirely covered with appliqués of blossoming branches and a long swansdown evening cloak lined with satin. In 1883 Countess Greffulhe had herself photographed by Paul Nadar, with whom she studied photography, and the Palais Galliera has portraits of her from Reutlinger, Otto, Nadar, Waléry and other elite Paris studios.

Notice's author : Sylvie Lécallier