There have been few dinners parties quite like it. It’s December 12 back in 1972, the night at which Marie-Hélène de Rothschild held her famous Surrealist Ball at Ferrières. As you can probably guess by her surname, she was a member of the ultra-wealthy Rothschild banking family. To be invited as a guest, was the ultimate seal of approval from Parisian high-society.
In keeping with the theme, she sent out an invitation which was actually written backwards – to read the card you had to hold it up to a mirror. The requirements for the evening where “Black tie, long dresses & Surrealists heads” nothing more, nothing less.
When money is no object, the only limit is ones imagination and Marie-Hélène certainly had plenty in supply. Firstly she insisted the iconic chateau be floodlight with sweeping amber lights, designed to create the illusion the building was on fire. Once instead, she made sure the entire staircase was filled with servants and footmen dressed as cats – all in various pose of sleep.
And once you’d been confronted with that, guest were then forced to enter a hellish labryinthing maze – where should you get lost, one of the “cats” would rescue you and whisk you away where you’d be formally greeted by Marie-Hélène herself. She was wearing a ginamous giant’s head that was crying tears of diamonds.