THE SURREALIST BALL OF ‘72
Dali holds court, footmen as cats and Audrey Hepburn’s birdcage
by KOD Staff
Imagine a castle, just outside of Paris. It’s lit to look as if it’s on fire, with bright orange reflections. Inside, the staircase is lined by footmen dressed as cats – pretending to be sleeping. Wearing a birdcage, Audrey Hepburn glides through a room filled with black ribbons. Salvador Dali sits at a table, decorated with deformed plastic dolls and famed perfumer, Helene Rochas has a gramophone on her head.
This is not a dream but Marie Helene de Rothschild’s famed surrealist ball. On December 12th 1972, an elite guest list gathered at her stately home, Chateau de Ferrières. Wife of Baron Guy de Rothschild of the French banking dynasty, Marie Helene was well known for her lavish hospitality and the magnificent parties she held throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Guests received invitations, written backwards that could be read only when held up to a mirror. The dress code was “black tie, long dresses and surrealist heads”. For the evening, the host wore an oversized stag’s head, decorated with tears made out of diamonds. The night was a visual masterpiece: the epitome of eccentric extravagance.
Perfumer, Helene Rochas