Before we get to the heart of the subject, there is this matter of “Who is Denise Hale?” For those of you who do not know her let me offer a brief synopsis of why she has been chosen to be today’s topic of conversation. Ms. Hale has been a fixture on the International best dressed list as well as part of what used to be called high society or the jet set and today might be called the 1%. Currently, she is a philanthropist, art collector, doyenne of good taste/style and very much a vibrant personality who reminds us that there are still women of astounding taste and chic who walk amongst us.
Ms. Hale, as you will read, is a collector of some of the most amazing couture and ready to wear created by some of the greatest designers of the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Ms. Hale also possesses one of the great personal collections of “haute joaillerie” which she wears as often as possible because in her own words “why not?” The same premise remains when it comes to her clothing wardrobe as it remains as timeless as her jewels.
Furthermore, Denise Hale continues to be one of world’s best clad women who counts or has counted some of the world’s greatest style icons and legends as her friends including Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, Jacqueline de Ribes, Ann Getty, Marella Agnelli, CZ Guest and many more but you get the idea. So, it is my honor that she has made herself available to respond to some of my questions about her long standing status as a style icon and her lifelong dedication to fashion.
There are only a few times when this writer has been on the receiving end of a more gracious gesture than this but the below article/interview serves as proof that friendships endure no matter what life’s circumstances present to us. When you can ask Ralph Rucci, yes, that Ralph Rucci, to be your surrogate interviewer of one of the great legends of international style , well, then you know you indeed have a friend. The questions were written by me and the following is how the “conversation” went down over lunch and then continued at the Gianfranco Ferré show. “The White Shirt According to Me. Gianfranco Ferré,” show is from Nov. 4 through March 6, 2016 at the Phoenix Museum of Art in Arizona and where Mr. Rucci was the keynote speaker at the opening event.
Ralph Rucci: Would you please speak to the topic of your favorite designers in clothing and jewelry and tell us why?
Denise Hale: The favorite darling-I started with Roberto Capucci, then Federico Forquet, then Galanos, then Gianfranco, then you. In between there was some Donald Brooks and St Laurent. It’s very simple darling and to answer the jewelry question, that would be David Webb, Bulgari and James Taffin de Givenchy among others but those are my favorites.
RR: What can you tell us of your feelings when it comes to the fashions of today? What do you think is wrong or right and why?
DH: Very simple– not wearable or attractive
RR: If you could compile a list of the words best dressed, who would you include and why?
DH: In my life I live in style. Best dressed is nothing without style, so in my life I choose—Gloria Guinness, Marietta Tree, CZ Guest, Marella Agnelli and Jacqueline de Ribes
RR: Do you believe that the concept of great women of style such as yourself or Babe Paley or Marella Agnelli is a thing of the past and why?
DH: Let’s just say that there is always hope darling.
RR: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would it be and why?
DH: Alexis de Redé, Lilianne de Rothschild, Gloria Guinness, Marietta Tree, Paul Mellon so those names speak for themselves.
Mr. Rucci has told me that there is no friend as loyal as she and others have expressed their admiration for her by saying she is as real as she can be with absolutely no pretense. A case in point is that after this session was conducted, Ms. Hale suggested that she and Mr. Rucci take a stroll through the local Dillard’s. The long story short is that Mr. Rucci asked why and Ms. Hale said “don’t be such a snob!”