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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lessons in Life from The Ladies Who Lunch

Catherine Deneuve

“Anyone with a fair figure, ready cash, fashion savvy and a safecracker's nerve can buy the best that Fifth Avenue has to offer on Seventh Avenue at half the price. The girls at Condé Nast and Harper's Bazaar have known this for years. Likewise the ladies who lunch at Restaurant X, although they'd rather be banished from the banquette than admit they got their Beenes and Blasses on a bargain basis." – Merle Rubine, 1970 New York Magazine

This is the quote that brought the term “Ladies who Lunch” into our vernacular and the term has been used ever since to describe women who lived leisurely lives, served on the boards of museums and charities, and orchestrated the social calendar of the high society crowd.


Marie-Helene de Rothschild & Mariella Agnelli

“Power is the ability to do good things for others.” Brooke Astor

Many times when people think of ladies who lunch or high society women there's a condescending undertone associated with the term as if these women flittered their time away with meaningless activities, but I beg to differ and here's why. Although I'm sure some of the things they're known for excessive shopping, neuroses involving tea and sandwiches with the crust cut off I admire their respect for and preservation of tradition and the history of our society. Not to ignore their calculated sometimes-ruthless attempts to ensure their social success and shut out those from their world they didn't feel fit, there is a pride in American culture that is endearing, and besides nobody's perfect. Many of these women started their careers at fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar as editors and purveyors of style and used their experience to navigate their way through society with great style and poise. I especially like the stories of Brooke Astor, Gloria Guiness, Annette de la Renta and those like them because they all were married to very successful, influential men yet established their own significance in society through their ability to network and their commitment to various social causes. Nothing is wrong obtaining power it's what you do with it that matters and I admire these women for how they used everything they had to enrich their life and the lives of others.

Babe Paley

“There will always be ladies who lunch. Always. And apparently they live a long time.”  - Elaine Stritch


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