Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Ladies of the 80s

The Gold!  The Glitz!!  The Glorious 80s!!!  And the inglorious 80s!!!!  The ladies of the 80s lived in 17,000 square ft apartments, bought Marie Antoinette's letters as a gift for a Baroness, had caviar bills of $100,000 a year and had closets bursting with haute couture.

Patricia Kluge collection of haute couture

One of the ladies of the 80s, Patricia Kluge, sometimes known as the richest divorcée in the United States, spent and lost a fortune and her house, Albemarle, in the rolling hills of the Virginia and nearby Monticello the home of Thomas Jefferson.   

I read an interesting blog, Emily Evans Eerdmans, on the fire sale of Albemarle and its contents in 2010.  She wrote that Albemarle should be bought by the National Trust and turned into an historical house museum of its time: the 1980s.  And I agree.  Maybe houses are like vintage couture - they may be under appreciated now - maybe the 80s seems too recent for some collectors of vintage but yesterdays 80s will be todays 50s, 60s, 70s vintage.  The history of haute couture begins today with each new collection.  

And  just think: Versailles was ransacked as Marie Antoinette was beheaded and much of its furniture and contents and clothes were lost and destroyed.  Now, what wouldn't the museum at Versailles do to have those lost pieces?!  (Not that I am comparing Albemarle to Versailles but it would be a nice compliment and contrast to Jefferson's Monticello - which had also been left to decay before being saved)

A look back at Albemarle from the Sothebys sale...

All photos courtesy of Emily Evans Eerdmans

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