I recently came across a long forgotten folder containing the article ” The Great Pretender” from the New York Times Magazine of September 19th, 1993.
For some unknown reason, at this time there was still a good deal of fascination with the Windsors’ lifestyle and the late Duchess of Windsor, who had died in 1986. Her jewels had been sold in 1987. Perhaps it was the boom of the early 1990’s that made reading about the Windsors and copying the old money lifestyle so popular?
Renowned stylist Polly Hamilton asked to use my collection of copies of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels. Karl Lagerfeld wrote and photographed the article. The shoot was done in what is called the ”Windsor Suite” at the Paris Ritz. The model who portrayed Wallis Windsor was the tragic Italian Vogue cover model Wallis Franken, wife of Claude Montana, who killed herself in the spring of 1996. Franken’s ability to resemble the Duchess was remarkable.
The whole event was a brilliant and humorous spoof. My favorite shots are those of Wallis being coiffed by her famous Maître Coiffeur Alexandre de Paris and the ever-thin Wallis grabbing a lobster wearing Mizrahi’s copy of the famous Schiaparelli lobster dress made for Wallis Simpson.Working with Karl Lagerfeld was an enlightening experience. With kind permission of the New York Times. Courtesy of Didier Ludot, Ralph Lauren, Isaac Mizrahi, Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel and all jewelry by Clive Kandel for Magnificent Costume Jewelry.