In 2010, I was fortunate to catch one of the most extensive exhibitions of Irving Penn’s photography at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Whilst peering at the 120 photographs on display at the gallery, the one above (of beauty icon and writer Francine du Plessix Gray–left— with her stepfather Alexander Liberman and mother Tatiana du Plessix Liberman) stopped me dead in my tracks. The photo was taken in 1948 in New York. Tatiana is wearing Schepps’ Pearl Wrapped Link Bracelet and Earrings!
My curiosity was piqued. Who were Alex Liberman and Tatiana du Plessix Liberman? After all, you had to be a bit of a somebody to sit for Irving Penn.
A little research led me to Francine’s 2005 award-winning memoir of her parents, entitled Them, for which this Penn photograph is featured on the cover. Alex Liberman was the Art Director of Vogue from 1943 to 1961; Tatiana designed hats for Henri Bendel and Saks Fifth Avenue. Liberman was instrumental in Penn’s photography career; Tatiana’s illustrious customers included Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf, Barbara Hutton, Mrs. Pierre Du Pont, Estée Lauder, Betsy Bloomingdale, and Anita May (wife of the founder of the May company).
He was the éminence grise of Condé Nast; she was a majestic blonde and milliner to the haute monde. Russian émigrés Alexander Liberman and Tatiana du Plessix fled Nazi France in 1941 and became New York City’s grandest power couple, entertaining Dietrich, Dalí, Nabokov, and Dior at their East Seventies townhouse. – STYLE.COM
As Schepps jewelry was often featured in Vogue in the 40s, it was only natural that Tatiana would have some pieces in her collection. Apparently, these designs were favored by her, as she wore them for quite a few photographs, including a publicity shot for Saks Fifth Avenue
and in a photo of Tatiana and Francine at their home.
If only Tatiana knew that her beloved bracelet would be featured once again in Vogue in 2010!