At the retrospective of posters done by the eminent Spanish couturier Agatha Ruiz De La Prada, the chisme was about the upcoming corruption trial of Princess Cristina and her husband—and the scandal’s possible repercussions for Cristina’s brother, Felipe VI, The King of Spain.
“The feeling at the moment in Madrid is that Cristina won’t end up doing jail time but her husband [Inaki Urdangarin] almost certainly will,” a well-connected guest told me.
Will she stick with him? “Oh yes, she’s deliriously in love and the marriage is strong. But the fear here is that one more wrong move and the monarchy is in danger of being abolished.” Many feel the monarch is essential in uniting the various regions of Spain, where separatist movements abound like olive trees.
Christina and Inaki go on trial later in the year for looting a nonprofit they controlled and for tax evasion. It is the first criminal trial of a member of the royal family in modern Spanish history. Early in June, the king stripped them of their titles, Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, and banished their presence from royal occasions.
A smart and lively crowd turned out to sip sherry and admire the riotous posters Agatha has created over the last thirty years. The exhibition is at the Cervantes Institute, the Spanish cultural center in New York, located in the bucolic enclave of Amster Yard in Turtle Bay.
Agatha Ruiz de la Prada is a dress designer from an ancient family of Spanish nobility, much as Emilio Pucci (Marchese di Barsento) was in Italy and Jacqueline De Ribes (daughter and wife of a count) is in France. According to the Almanach de Gotha (which Orb consults each morning), Agatha is the 12th Marchioness de Castelldosrius, and the 19th Baroness of Santa Pau. Que abolengo, as we say in The Bronx.
As is often the case, all this blue blood gives Agatha license to dress and act eccentrically and to design eccentric clothes. She employs a palette of bright colors that outdoes Walt Disney and she embraces motifs such as hearts and stars. Her oeuvre is childlike, whimsical, and unpretentious. With that concept and the business acumen of a Pierre Cardin, she has built a worldwide retail and licensing empire.
Greeting Agatha and celebrating the Solstice were such as Alejandra Cicognani, the fashion publicist who reps small exquisite Italian labels; Luz Miriam Toro, the pre-Columbian expert and collector; investment banker Violy McCausland and her husband, amiable Brazilian art dealer Frederico Seve; the ravishing Spanish model Eugenia Silva; and Gabriel Rivera-Barraza, the p.r. man who has developed a speciality introducing prominent fashion designers in South America to the New York media. That’s why he’s always Flying Down to Rio—or Asuncion.