So who is Lee Radziwill, whose effortless style sparked Tory’s Fall 2018 collection? She’s an icon, a Truman Capote swan. She’s European royalty, via her second husband Prince Stanisław Albrecht Radziwill, and American royalty, too; Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is her older sister. In 2001, she wrote a memoir, Happy Times, that recounted the more joyful moments in her life (it’s the inspiration behind our new wallpaper floral of the same name). There’s an excerpt in it, from the June 1976 issue of Vogue, in which close friend Capote gushes over her. We’ve reprinted parts of it here — because who better than Capote to introduce and describe Radziwill and her absolutely magnetic allure? Below, everything you really need to know….
Lee: A Fan Letter from Truman Capote
“Ah, the Princess!
“Well, she’s easily described.
“She’s a beauty. Inside. Outside.
“What I like about her best is that she can be both cozy and candid at the same time, a very rare combination, an almost impossible one; still, if you ask her opinion, be prepared for an honest reply — honest, yet always delivered in a manner that is warm and encouraging.
“Yet, she is reticent, she never forces advice upon you — she waits until you ask, or until she sees you really need it. That of course is part of her first-class intelligence and part of her femininity — which brings us to another interesting and singular combination of qualities in her character: I can’t think of any woman more feminine than Lee Radziwill — not even Audrey Hepburn or a great seductress like Gloria Guinness — yet she is not at all effeminate. She reacts like a remarkably resilient young man: nothing fazes her — not really; also, she is a mover, she moves, she’s a delicate but durable athlete, a water creature, an Ondine: to watch her swimming in Caribbean waters, or to see her sweeping on water skis across the sea’s horizon, is the most excellent experience.
“… Gosh, one could go on for several pages, but what is generally true about gifted people, is even truer about women of classical beauty and substance: it is impossible for a woman to be classically beautiful unless she has beautiful eyes, or can create the illusion that she does. Lee does — wide-apart, gold-brown like a glass of brandy resting on a table in front of firelight, and it is with those eyes that she recognizes the qualities of a room, a person sitting in it, and the very happenings in his heart.”
— Truman Capote