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The 1972 Rothschild Surrealist Ball & Why it Continues to Inspire After 50 Years

Here is a step back in fashion history to one of Fab Hatters’s greatest influences, the 1972 Rothschild Surrealist Ball. Every year we have hundreds of requests to recreate looks inspired by the marvelous event. Learn more about why even after more than half a century this lavish party continues to inspire others.

The 1972 Rothschild Surrealist Ball, also known as the "Diner de Têtes Surrealistes," was an extravagant costume party held at the Château de Ferrières, a mansion owned by the Rothschild family, in France. The event was organized by Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, a prominent member of the Rothschild banking family, who was known for her love of art, fashion, and surrealism and her husband Guy.

Salvador Dalí designed several of the costumes, but didn’t wear one himself. The hostess Marie-Hélène Rotheschild wore a giant stag’s head studded with tears of real diamonds. For a look inspired by her, check out Fab Hatters’s pearl studded golden antlers.

The ball was inspired by the surrealist movement and aimed to recreate the atmosphere of the 1920s and 1930s when surrealist artists and intellectuals were active. The attendees were required to wear costumes that reflected the surrealist theme, resulting in an extravagant display of creativity and imagination.

The guests included notable figures from various fields, such as artists, actors, musicians, and socialites. They embraced the surrealist spirit by wearing unconventional and fantastical outfits, often incorporating elements of surprise and illusion. The costumes featured peculiar masks, bizarre props, and avant-garde designs, creating a surreal and dreamlike ambiance.

The Château de Ferrières was transformed into a surrealistic setting, with rooms and hallways adorned with imaginative and whimsical decorations. Surrealist artworks, sculptures, and installations were displayed throughout the venue, adding to the overall surreal atmosphere.

The event itself was shrouded in secrecy, and photographs from the ball were only released years later, adding to its mystique and allure. The Rothschild Surrealist Ball became legendary, symbolizing the fusion of high society, art, and surrealism.

The ball captured the essence of surrealism, celebrating the subversion of reality and the exploration of the subconscious. It was a testament to the enduring influence of the surrealist movement and its ability to captivate and inspire even decades after its inception.

The 1972 Rothschild Surrealist Ball remains a notable cultural event, reflecting the extravagant spirit of the era and the ongoing fascination with surrealism as a source of artistic inspiration.

As for the other attendees:

Audrey Hepburn sported a relatively innocent cage filled with birds. Baron Alexis de Redé wore an surrealist four-masks-in-one number freckled with scarab beetles, an Egyptian twist on Titian’s Allegory of Prudence. Perfumer Hélène Rochas wore a gramophone on her head.

Art references abounded at this soiree, One guest wore an apple in front of her face, a nod to Magritte’s The Son of Man, another wore a chopped up collage of Mona Lisa’s.

If you are looking to recreate this surrealist, extravagant excellence, look no further than Fab Hatters. Surrealist looks are our specialty and we take custom orders. We also carry surrealist jewelry and other accessories, besides just headwear. We have several fast shipping designs, like our floating apple bowler hat inspired by Magritte’s “Son of Man” but can also take custom commissions for more elaborate custom designs.

Head designer Fang went to UCLA & Princeton to study art history and she has a background in politics and medicine too, which means that she is well-versed in the history and influences of the Surrealist movement and can use unconventional materials to create fantastical, extravagant designs with an intellectual or campy twist. We have heavily studied the surrealist, Bauhaus, & and post-modernist art movements.

We also have a custom print shop and work with thermoplastic which means we can recreate almost any piece of artwork you desire and turn it into a 3-dimensional headpiece!

With Fab Hatters, our unique designs, playful details, unconventional shapes & materials can truly capture the spirit of the Surrealist Ball.


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