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Multimillionaire [Raymond] Patenātre, who is married to an American [and is] Minister of Economics in the Daladier Government, discussing odds with a friend.
[Night Races at Longchamps, a Gala Event of Paris Society]
Gelatin silver print
4 11/16 x 7 1/8 ins
Courtesy of the Lucien Aigner Estate
"This gala night at Longchamps had very little to do with horses and races. It was a charity affair and like such affairs in general the question who-was-going-to-be-seen-with-whom was much more important than the question of which horse was to win which race.
There were plenty of notables to see and to be seen with. Industrialists, financiers, prime ministers and cabinet members past and present, members of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies, famous society lions, representatives of the aristocracy, actors and actresses, newspaper magnates and fashion designers. They were the real subjects to be watched, the events that filled the evening: their visits to each other's tables, their chatter and gossip.
Whatever happened on the track was just of very secondary importance, a by-product, pretext to be seen here and watched only between social contacts rather than the other way around.
ąThis kind [of] event is always good for a fashion show of sorts, a competition for the title of the 'best dressed' and the 'most elegant.' There is always room for showing off new creations, the latest models from the latest collections to confirm or break the hegemony of a designer too long in the news or to establish the reputation of a newcomer."
Lucien Aigner, from his unpublished memoirs