Brooke Astor isn’t the only chic woman whose estate was up for auction this week. The contents of the gorgeous apartment of Hélène Rochas who passed away last year is up for auction at Christie’s in Paris today. I apologize for the short notice but I myself just learned of this yesterday. Even if you missed bidding, you can still marvel at the décor.
Hélène Rochas was the widow of courtier Marcel Rochas of the venerable fashion house Rochas. Hélène met the twice divorced Marcel in the metro and became his wife at the age of 18. The couture house was closed in 1953 but after Marcel’s death in 1955, Hélène Rochas took over the perfume business and created an empire. She was known for her great beauty and lavish parties that she threw in her apartment in a hôtel particulier in the 7th arrondissement. It too is up for sale here.
Hubert de Givenchy stated that “Rochas was exceptionally skilled at blending classic and contemporary elements” and you can see that in many of those photos. I was thinking it reminded me of of the home of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berger and then I read that they lived close and were also friends. Her daughter, Sophie Rochas says “the original interior was conceived by her father and his decorator, Georges Geffroy” but that her made it her own over the years. You can see one example from the music room that was dark blue in the 1980’s and is now a soothing beige.
In WWD, “François de Ricqlès, chairman of Christie’s France and a friend of Hélène Rochas, describes the collection as the culmination of a cosmopolitan French style influenced by the wealthy Americans who started coming to Paris in the Twenties."
“It’s a form of taste that has practically died out, in which styles and eras are brought together with elegance and sobriety. The walls are white, the curtains are plain and what stands out is the beauty of the artworks,” he says. “I think it’s extremely Parisian.”
The Hélène Rochas auction catalog was online (not sure where it went) and was more than just a catalog. It’s was filled with memories from many of Hélène Rochas’ friends such as Hubert de Givenchy and Francois Catroux and was a touching tribute to a lovely lady.
Hélène Rochas with her son François and daughter Sophie, circa 1950.
“A dinner for six has to be for very close friends." - Hélène Rochas
Hélène Rochas flanked by Francois Catroux and Yves Saint Laurent.
Fabio Rieti drawing of Hélène Rochas.
Hélène Rochas in the music room in 1987.
The music room today.
Hélène Rochas by Andy Warhol.
Hélène Rochas posing for Andy Warhol.
Andy Warhol and Hélène Rochas at Maxime's in Paris in 1970.
The private garden.
“You need less rather than more to be elegant now."
1927 - 2011