Russian Princess Irene Galitzine
In Italy, she was called ‘Princess’. She was considered the most elite fashion designer in the country. Her name is in the history of fashion along with Yves Saint Laurent and Gianni Versace, John Galliano and Karl Lagerfeld. Among her clients were Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor. This is about Russian Princess Irene Galitzine, or Irina Borisovna Galitsyna, the founder of the fashion house Galitzine and representative of an ancient Russian noble family of Golitsyn.
Irene Galitzine was born in Tiflis during the Civil War, July 22, 1918 into the family of Russian officer of the tsarist army. Her father did not accept the revolution and fought in the White Army under the command of Wrangel. Mother for a long time had no news from him. While she worked in a hospital as a nurse. In 1920, along with a little daughter, her mother was forced to flee to Italy, with a help of the Italian consul Franzoni, an old friend of the family. While the father was in a POW camp, about him the wife still did not have any news.
In Italy, Irene’s mother Princess Nina Lazareff, due to her beauty, was invited to act in films, but she quickly realized it was not for her. Brilliantly speaking French, English and Italian, she began teaching English and French, as well as playing the piano. “When my mom was at work, I often missed her” – then remembered Irene Galitzine. – I even made friends with a boy – lifter, who rolled me on the elevator up and down. One evening, when the nurse dozed off, and Nina went down to the restaurant, I not knowing what to do, ran out of my room and went to find my friend. There was a young officer, who praised me and asked how I was there alone. I took the officer’s hand and said: ” Come, I ‘ll introduce you to my mom.” Laughing, he followed me into the restaurant. Mama , confident that I have long been in bed, was shocked to see me by the arm with a strange man”.
In 1922 Boris Golitsyn arrived in Rome. But the relationship between the spouses were no longer the same. Father did not like Rome, he could not stand the music which mother adored, he did not know Italian and could not get used to the Roman life and find himself . All he could do, take his daughter from kindergarten and attend the meetings of emigrants. As a result, her father left his family and went to Paris. “For me, it was a shock , I was very attached to him – told then Irene Galitzine. “I long could not accept the fact that he had gone forever.”
Irene Galitzine got a great education, and along with a variety of foreign languages mastered Russian. She did it by the book of the century grammar, reading Russian classics. In their home, moreover, constantly appeared emigrants Aristocats: Prince Yusupov, Anna Pavlova, the daughter of Leo Tolstoy Tatiana Sukhotina. Irene Galitzine excellently spoke Russian. And besides, she was fluent in English, French and Italian.
After high school, she entered the University of Rome – the Faculty of Political Sciences. “My biggest dream was to travel the world and to know people,” – she said. Because Irene decided to become a diplomat. However, along with the training, she was fond of art. In particular, enrolled in courses of painting.
Then, at age 18, she sewed her first dress. Received an invitation to the ball, she decided to invent her own outfit . After graduation, she got a job as a translator of films from English to Italian. The girl was hit in the bright world of cinema, met with known Italian actors. In the future they will become her customers.
Her career as fashion designer Irina started with a position of a simple seamstress. In the early 1940s, she got a job working in a small studio on the then little known Fontana sisters, who subsequently became widely famous. And then they were just starting their business, and Irene actively helped them, soon moving to the position of the designer. It’s only been a couple of years, and this company has already began to dress the entire Roman bohemians. And then the stars from other countries: Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner.
However, Galitzine’s idols were the French Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga, but sisters did extraordinary accent on Italian fashion. One day, after leaving for the office in Paris, Galitzine met there Christian Dior. That prompted her to open her own studio. This helped her future husband – Silvio Medici, representative of Medici clan. After some time, her studio became popular not only in Rome, but throughout Italy and then turned into an entire network.
The first author’s collection of Princess Irene Galitzine was “alta moda”. For this collection the designer received the title of “Designer of the Year” American award. And in the newspaper “The New York Times” wrote: “A new star was born.”
Next collection of Galitzine was in 1963 – “Golitzine” – made even greater furore in the fashion world. It presented “palazzo pajamas”, decorated with pearls, precious stones, pearls and silver. Suit of silk sleeveless blouses and tight pants became quite revolutionary – pants were not actually included in the female wardrobe.
Since then she began to dress Liz Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy, Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale, Maria Callas and Monica Vitti, Greta Garbo and Maya Plisetskaya. And relationships often turned into friendship. Among close friends were Onassis, Kennedy and the Ford family.
History of friendship with Jacqueline Kennedy deserves special attention. By 1962, the designer has created for Jackie few dresses, but they were not familiar. In August of that year, Mrs. Kennedy vacationing with children in Ravello at Villa Episkopi, on the shore of the Bay of Naples. At this time Galitzine remained on Capri. Then the Italian entrepreneur Gianni Agnelli called Galitzine and said “Jackie really wants to meet you. Moreover, she burns with the desire to come to Capri. Give her pleasure, host a party.” The fashion designer replied: “Look, Gianni, you know me. Hardly Jacqueline come ashore here, the quiet time will come to an end, and we are no longer able to come here.” But he convinced her that everything will be fine. The yacht of Miss Kennedy still had to wander along the coast to escape the curious “persecutors” and yet she managed to break through to Galitzine’s villa. Jacqueline even persuaded Galitzine to walk along the streets of Capri.
In 1968, Irene Galitzine closed her fashion house and became involved in the development of models of clothes for private clients. In 1970 she re-launched her brand “Irene Galitzine”, under which not only produced clothing (by the way exposed in many museums of the world), but also handbags and sunglasses, umbrellas and linens, china and silverware.
Critics have said that her models embody the classic elegance and the true spirit of aristocracy. To all this contributed Galitzine’s favorite wine and claret shades, bold mix of Russian, Italian and Caucasian motifs. But nevertheless, despite the craving for aristocracy, her models were practical and comfortable. She also brought several innovations in the structure of hits, starting with a demonstration of swimwear and gowns.
Galitzine called herself “Russian 500 percent.” “I did not want to go back there as a usual tourist and did not want to see myself in any hotel, where foreigns live, – she said. – I expected that Russian send me a formal invitation as a private person, in recognition of my merit, which has been achieved over many years. ” Such an invitation was followed only in 1988, after the beginning of perestroika. Since that Irene often come to our country in 1991, participated in the St. Petersburg telethon organized by UNESCO, in 1992 – visited the opening of the exhibition of Italian design and fashion, spoke with a lecture at Moscow University. And in 1996, she opened the boutique fashion house Galitzine on Pushkin Square in Moscow.
5 years later, the princess arrived at the presentation of the book of her memoirs “From Russia to Russia”. On it she said: “For all my life I spent in Russia only the first two years, but coming here, I felt that I finally found a home”. She lived a long life and died on October 20, 2006 in Rome, at age 90. Galitzine was buried in the Testaccio cemetery in Rome.
sources http://www.superstyle.ru/, http://www.galitzine.it/