Party planner or event designer? Frankly, neither title seems elegant enough for the late Jacques Frank, a Paris-based designer who conceived and decorated parties for the crème de la crème of café society, including Arturo and Patricia Lopez-Willshaw, Elsa Schiaparelli, Princess Chavchavadze, and Duc de Talleyrand. A decorator who worked for decades at the prominent French design firm, Maison Ramsay, Frank was a conjurer of atmosphere, creating inspired settings that transported guests to other times and places. A student of history, Frank seemed especially proficient in recreating eighteenth-century tableaux. Based on the photos below (obtained from Connaissance des Arts, September 1957), it appears that a Frank-designed party could be part spectacle, but spectacle executed in a graceful, refined manner.
I consulted my library to see if I could learn more about Frank, but sadly, the Baron de Redé makes no mention of Frank in his memoirs. The same goes for both Prince Jean-Louis de Faucigny-Lucinge, who doesn't reference Frank in his highly-collectible book, Legendary Parties, 1922-1972, and Thierry Coudert, who penned the recently-published book, Beautiful People of the Café Society. I did manage to scare up this tidbit online: it seems that Frank worked on these shores, too, designing Anne Ford's 1961 coming-out party at her parents' Grosse Pointe Farm, Michigan estate, according to a 1961 Time magazine article.
I have a feeling we might be more impressed by his work had these photos been published in color. After all, what's a party without color? But if you zoom-in on these images, you'll see that while Frank might have had grand visions for his clients' parties, the décor was never ostentatious.
la piscine Deligny), which was located on the Seine, into an eighteenth-century Venetian scene.