Monday, June 29, 2009

IF YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF THE COUNTESS DI FRASSO...



Then you've never heard of society hostess ELSA MAXWELL!!!

Elsa Maxwell, hostess with the mostest, wrote a fascinating autobiography RSVP: Elsa Maxwell's Own Story in 1953. Naturally, I had to special order this ancient volume from the library, but am I glad I did. This old gas bag recounts (coyly) her life and times. Now these were the most fascinating of times, as La Maxwell managed to be in Europe during those heady days of Cafe Society. This stunning tale recounts lavish parties, evenings with Cole Porter, her complete and utter disinterest in cash, jewelry, clothes, The Duchess of Windsor, booze. No, this Zaftig Zelig (who managed to be EVERYWHERE at just the right time!) never touched so much as a drop, preferring to sing for her supper by playing piano at smart dinner parties. Oh, there's a lot of name dropping to be had here, but it's completely delicious! You see, Europe before and between World Wars was the place to be...and it simply wasn't a place for just anybody, unless, of course you were Salvador Dali, Claire Booth, the lesbian author Janet Flanner (AKA Genet), or some second generation American Heiress looking for a title on the cheap. Oh, what SNOBS Americans are! Simply the WORST in the world!!! Of course she brushes shoulders with John Barrymore, is the FIRST to congratulate FDR on his big White House Win, gives insomniac Winston Churchill advice on his wayward son Randolph, and his fetching bride Pamela Digby, arguably the greatest courtesan of her generation. Oh, that yearly free wardrobe by designer Jean Desse! Olivier of the Paris Ritz, who taught her EVERYTHING she knew about fine food and wine (though she never touched the stuff...err...the wine that is). Of COURSE she knew the fate of Woolworth Heiress Barbara Hutton when she got involved with that horrid Prince Mdivani! She convinced Eisenhower to run for president, and predicted he would win handily, FIVE YEARS BEFORE HAND!!!

Run, walk, sleep with, murder someone if you must, but get your hands on this book!

You won't be able to put it down!!!

1 comment:

Dale said...

Love her! Delightful.