Christie’s Auctions Jewels from Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen

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It is not every day one can stand a chance to own jewelry that once belonged to royalty. If it isn’t enough that Shirley Temple’s blue sapphire ring, the Queen of Albania’s Coronation tiara and jewels owned by the Duchess of Windsor are all up for bids next month. On May 18, auction house Christie’s will give you that opportunity with the sale of exquisite jewels that include several from the private collection of H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen.

The princess (born merely wealthy, she was first married to the Prince of Leiningen before marrying the Aga Kahn in 1998), received many of the jewels as gifts from her second husband.

Gabriela was previously married to Prince Karl-Emich zu Leiningen and later, May 1998 she married to his Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, 49th Imam of the Ismaili, international entrepreneur, horse-breeder and founder of the Aga Khan Development Network, and became Princess Inaara Aga Khan.

During their 16-year marriage, the Princess held the tittle Begum Inaara Aga Khan and received superb and unique Jewels from her then husband, a great art connoisseur, furthering her already extensive collection. Several of them are to be presented in the Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale in May. Before the sale however, the jewels will be on display in Geneva from May 13; the collection is currently making its way to New York as part of a tour.

Sophisticated and classically beautiful, H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen’s extensive collection is a true reflection of its owner. A woman of charisma, wisdom, elegance and above all joy. Each jewel represents a special moment in her life and the happiness she experienced at the time.

The 46 lots set to go under the hammer in Geneva are estimated to be worth over $15 million. Bidders can expect to see spectacular items from Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany & Co.

We highlight several key pieces that will certainly excite any avid jewelry collector.

Cultured pearl and diamond fringe necklace, bangle and pair of earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels.

 

Cultured Pearl and Diamond Fringe Necklace and a Bangle and Pair of Earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels

 

A significant piece on auction is the pearl and diamonds necklace the Princess inherited from her grandmother in law, the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan (1906 – 2000), wife of Sultan Mohammed Aga Khan III. When it was given to the Princess, she commissioned Van Cleef & Arpels the creation of complementary bracelet and earrings to wear with the necklace. On several occasions, Princess Gabriele has been photographed wearing the stunning set.

GNV1415_Zmag_Cover.pdf

GNV1415_Zmag_Cover.pdf

The necklace, whose yellow-gold flowers contain small diamond clusters, has 15 cultured pearls and multiple white gold clusters. The necklace comes with a similarly set bangle and pair of ear pendants. Estimate: $200,000 to $300,000

Aside from their beauty, many of these jewels bare a compelling history of their own. To me they embody wonderful and loving personal memories as well as exciting chapters of my life, full of color, travel and encounters. They have brought me great joy and happiness. Now I wish their journey to continue, bringing joy and happiness to their new owners.

H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen

Other highlight in the collection is the cultured pearl and diamond fringe necklace. Its owner before coming into the possession of the princess was her former husband’s grandmother, Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan. When it entered the collection of Princess Gabriela, a matching pair of ear pendants and a bangle were commissioned from Van Cleef & Arpels in order to wear them as a complete parure.

Cultured pearl and diamond necklace and pair of earrings

A SET OF CULTURED PEARL AND DIAMOND JEWELLERY Provenance H.H. Begum Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan

The necklace designed as a double strand of cultured Pearls, to the circular and retangular-cut diamond cluster clasp, together with a pair of earrings, each cultured pearld set within a baguette-cut diamond undulating surround, with four circular-cut diamond accents. Mounted in gold, the necklace is 46 cm, the earrings are 2 cm in diameter.

Provenance H.H. Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan.

A ruby, emerald and diamond flower brooch by Robert Pouget.

A RUBY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND FLOWER BROOCH, BY ROBERT POUGET Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

The rose flowerhead and rosebud set with calibré-cut rubies, to the similarly-set emerald leaves and baguette-cut diamond stem, 8.5 cm. With French assay marks for platinum and gold, signed Robert Pouget. Estimate: $40.000 – $60.000

Provenance H.H. Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan.

Emerald and diamond necklace and earrings by Cartierb71b523e8a76e488bb7e29df5a277658

The necklace features a detachable, cushion-shaped emerald pendant weighing approximately 39.7 carats; there are five more emeralds in the necklace weighing more than 16 carats in total. Estimate: $2.5 million to $3.5 million

This creation by Cartier that would make any woman swoon. The diamond and emerald necklace features an almost 40-carat Colombian emerald. The necklace with the matching earrings was worn at the official dinner that followed the wedding of Prince Felipe of Spain and Letizia Ortiz back in 2004.

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Persepolis necklace and paire of Persane earrings by Cartier

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The necklace, set with emeralds, sapphires, and rose-cut diamonds, is paired with a pair of emerald, diamond, and pearl earrings. The necklace was a gift from the princess’s mother, Renate Thyssen. Estimate: $700,000 to $1 million.

 

'Persepolis' Necklace and Pair of 'Persane' Earrings by Cartier

Pieces that will certainly get your attention, include a suite of emerald, diamond and pearl jewelry from Cartier, as well as the ‘Persepolis’ necklace and pair of ‘Persane’ earrings. With graduated emerald bead drops and a larger emerald beat pendant suspended, the suite also features a briolette-cut diamond and oval cabochon emerald surmount. With emeralds, diamonds and sapphires of several cuts, the ‘Persepolis’ neckalce and ‘Persane’ earrings are a set that certainly cannot be missed.

 

Suite of emerald, diamond, and pearl jewelry by Cartier

 

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Collection of H.S.H. Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen. A suite of Colombian emerald, diamond and pearl jewellery, by Cartier4

 

The necklace is a fringe of emerald beads interspersed with diamonds and pearls, suspended on a larger emerald and diamond pendant. The necklace is matched with a similarly-set pendant clasp, bracelet, and pair of ear pendants. Estimate: $500,000 to $700,000.

 

The Pohl diamond by Cartier

The 'Pohl' Diamond by Cartier

Pohl Diamond. What makes this 36-carat diamond so special is that it was the very first significant diamond that was polished in America (most diamonds are polished in Europe, India or Israel) before it was sold in 1943 to Bernice Chrysler Garbisch of the Chrysler Family. Having been mined nearly a decade earlier as a 287-carat rough stone, the diamond was acquired in 1998 for the Princess at Cartier.

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This massive 36.09 carat diamond, flawless D color, is mounted on platinum and tapered by baguette-cut schoulders. Estimate: $3.8 million to $5.5 million.

 

Sapphire and diamond ring by Cartier

Sapphire and diamond ring by CartierThe sapphire weighs a massive 21.06 carats and is set in platinum between baguette-cut diamond shoulders. Estimate: $600,000 to $800,000.

 

A magnificent diamond and sapphire necklace by Cartier

 

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A detachable pendant set with a cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing approximately 55.61 carats, a pear-shaped diamond weighing approximately 6.05 carats, and a cushion-shaped sapphire surmount, weighing approximately 3.48 carats, to the necklace set with a continuous line of graduated pear-shaped diamonds. The nacklace is 37 cm and is dated 1998, Signed Cartier, with French assay marks for platinum and gold. It comes in its original Cartier red leather box. Estimate: $2.000.000 – $3.000.000.

65b4b50b93324bfe619393177dc7e813Accompanied by report no. 16030063/1 and 2 dated March 2016 from the Gübelin GemLab stating that the orgin of the sapphires is Burma, with no indications of heating.

Report 1176529998 dated 15 March 2016 from the GIA Gemological Institute of America stating that the 6.05 carat diamond, VVS1 clarity: also with a working diagram indicating that the clarity of the diamond is potentially internally flawless, and the Diamond Type Classification letter stating that the diamond has been determined to be type IIa.

Further the necklace is accompanied with by a copy of an invoice dated 18 November 1998 from Cartier.

 

Pair of diamond and sapphire earrings by Cartier 

Pair of diamond and sapphire earrings by Cartier

The two sapphires, weighing 24.69 and 25.63 carats are detachable; the diamonds are set in platinum. Estimate: $600,000 to $800,000

 

Ruby and diamond Novelty brooch watch by Cartier119026913_o

 

Ruby and Diamond Novelty Brooch by Cartier

This ‘novelty’ brooch, so-called because one side opens to reveal a watch with a circular dial, was once owned by Begum Sultan Mohamed Shah Om Habibeh Aga Khan III (the princess’s ex-husband’s grandmother).

The violin was one of Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan’s – and Princess Gabriele’s – favorite instruments. The brooch, modelled as a violin, has calibré-cut ruby belly with diamond fingerboard and tailpiece, with pavé-set diamond ribs. A one side opening to reveal a watch with circlar dial, Roman numerals and quartz movement. Together with its bow, its dated 1989. The violin, 6,8 cm, and bow, 8 cm, are mounted in platinum and gold. The violin is signed Cartier, no.001: the bow is unsigned. Estimate: $10,500 to $15,000.

Provenance H.H. Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan.

 

Mystery set ruby and diamond brooch and pair of earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels

Ruby and Diamond Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels

This ‘Mystery Set’ flower brooch comprises rubies and a diamond-cluster pistil and is mounted in platinum and gold. Estimate: $150,000 to $250,000

'Mystery Set' Ruby and Diamond 'Poppy' Earrings by Van Cleef & ArpelsEach ‘Mystery Set’ ruby-set poppy flower has a circular-cut diamond pistil and two diamond-set leaves set in platinum. Estimate: $100,000 to $150,000.

 

H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen

Born to an entrepreneurial and philanthropic German family, Princess Gabriela, a trained lawyer, has been involved in educational, health and cultural development programs throughout her life.

In 2004, the Princess founded the Princess Inaara Foundation. This aid organization is committed to supporting projects in both Germany and in developing countries, striving to protect and ameliorate the rights of women and children in need, often through microcredit projects. She campaigns for greater understanding and tolerance across diverse cultures, whilst also being committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and continues to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for the German AIDS Foundation.

The sale will be held on May 18, 7pm at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva. For more information on the auction, visit Christie’s.

 

 

 

 

 

Mata Salamat, The lady of Yakymour

 

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Yvette Labrousse

Yvette ‘Yvonne’ Blanche Labrousse born in 1906, of a father who was a tramway driver and a town councillor for Le Cannet, and a mother who was a seamstress. Nothing in her modest upbringing told anything of the glorious destiny that was to be hers.

Today, 110 years ago, Yvette Labrousse was born Yvonne Blanch Labrousse in the small town of Sète, near Marseilles, France, on 15 February 1906. She was the daughter of Adrien Labrousse (October 25, 1874 – June 1, 1969) and Marie Brouet (December 26, 1870 – .. ) , a seamstress. When she was only six months old her family soon move to Cannes, where they lived in a flat in the Rue d’Antibes, and later on to Lyon where the young Yvette spent most of her childhood.

 

Yvonne Yvette Labrousse Om Habibeh Begum Aga Khan

Yvette Labrousse

Yvette grew up tall, more than six feet, and vèry beautiful. Having stricktly raised, however, she showed no disposition to accept the film and modelling offers that cameher way, instead, she went to work with her mother, who was running a dress shop that time. She always told that her parents were very warm, kind and always openminded.

 

Yvette Yvonne Blanche Labrousse Sète Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Le Cannet

Yvette Labrousse

After being elected Miss Lyon in 1929, at the age of twenty-four, then Miss France in Paris in 1930, she joined the Miss Europe 1930 pageant in Paris, at the Paris Opera. The streets outside the hall were packed with people eager to see the beautiful participants from all over Europe… It was one of the most talked about events in the press.

 

Miss France, Yvette Labrousse, Begum Um Habibeh Aga Khan

Miss France, Yvette Labrousse, was always full of great story’s about ‘her time’ as Miss France. Talking about the girls, the fashion of that time, the make-up and the travels.

 

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Yvette Labrousse, Paris, 1930’s

Yet Yvette Labrousse was no longer a provincial. As a beauty queen and a representatieve of France, she traveled to many countries around the world. She found herself particulary taken by Egypt and, in the late thirdies she moved to Egypt, she moved to Cairo and adopted the faith of Islam.

In Cairo, Yvette Labrousse met her future husband, the Sultan Aga Khan III, 48th Imam of the Nizari Shia Ismaili community, and they fell in love at first sight when they met at a royal dancing party in Egypt in 1938. They married thirteen months after the Aga Khan III and his third wife were divorcedby mutual consent, on 9 October 1944 in Switzerland.

 

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III by Weinberg Picture FrameSir Sultan Mohamad Aga Khan III and Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan seated half-length portrait by Weinberg. Photograph signed and inscribed by Begum, “A souvenir – from an old friend – of the family Aga Khan”. Inscribed in the image, middle left and right. 8 1/2×6 1/2 inches; matted in original sterling silver frame bearing Khan’s emblem at top. Circa 1955

After her marriage she took the name of Om Habibeh (Little Mother of the Beloved) and became Begum, fully Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan. Her husband playfully nicknamed her ‘Yaky’, which was composed from the initials of ‘Yvette’, ‘Aga’ and ‘Khan’. In 1954, Om Habibeh was given the title of ‘Mata Salamat’, which literally means serene or peaceful mother. She was the foutyh woman in Islamic history with that title during last 13 centuries.

I have at last been granted the real and wonderful haven of finding in and with my wife a true union of mind and soul

Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan III, in his Memoirs ‘World Enough & Time’, page 275

They settled in the Avenue Victoria villa at Le Cannet, in the hills above Cannes, on a hillside wich she had once looked on to from the flat in the Rue d’Antibes, for which planning permission applications had been submitted in 1937. They named it Yakymour: Y for Yvette, ak for Aga Khan, mour for amour. The French word for love. As is clear from such indications , the couple was very close and the two loved each other dearly.

 

Yakymour

Yakymour, Le Cannet, France

Within this property surrounded by parkland, Her Higness La Bégum used to assemble the members of the Cannes film festival jury, and many national and international movie stars. Some of them became friends for live. She wasn’t only Kees van Dongen’s muse, but with her husband’s encouragement, she also developed an active interest in painting and sculpture, herself becoming an accomplished artist and sculptor. She was also interested in the arts including classical music, opera and ballet.

I always appreciated beauty, but he (the Aga Khan) taught me how really to enjoy a lovely sunset, moonlight, to know the stars, the colours and scents of flowers, to like music, ballet and opera, to appreciate everything that is beautiful in life.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

She rarely left his side, and nursed him devotedly through the pains of old age until his death in 1957. But her duty was also a delight. She never ceased to be grateful for the manner in which he had widened her horizons, especially in music and in the arts. “Enjoy yourself”, he told her. “It’s later then you think”.

 

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Shortly before his death, the Aga Khan III chose a location on the West Bank of the Nile as his final resting place. The location was highly symbolic, for centuries earlier the Aga Khan’s ancestors had founded the Fatimid dynasty with its capital in Cairo. The Fatimids represented one of the apogees of culture, being patrons of the arts, liteature, achitecture, pluralism (the acceptance of racial, ethnic, cultural and intra-religious differences) and scientific endeavors,  all fields that were equally dear to the Aga Khan III an Om Habibeh. The Begum was very supportive of her husband in his work during their thirteen years together. They both took a particular interest in issues affecting women’s welfare.

When her husband died in 1957, he had stated in his will that his successor, his grandson Karim, would have Om Habibeh as advisor for the first seven years of his reign. because she had been familiar for many years with the issues facing his followers and he had the confidence in her wise judgment. Immediatly, with the help of architect Farid El-Shafie and contractor Hassan Dorra, Om Habibeh started building at Aswan, on top of the hill above there house, a mausoleum to her husband, a task that took 16 months. “The Aga Khan wants to sleep in the hot sand overlooking the waters of the Nile”, Om Habibeh always said, “and when I die I want to lie beside him. We do not want to be parted”.

 

Begum Om HabibehAga Khan Yvette Labrouse Aswan

It was not in her nature either to forget, or to try to hide, her humble orgins. Her legacy remains in the Om Habibeh Foundation, whose programs have contributed to health, education and inclusion in some of the poorest areas of Egypt.

Her gesture of daily placing a red rose on her husband’s tomb while in Egypt (every day for 43 years, either the Begum or when she was away in Europe, Sheikh Ahmed Ibrahim, whom she hired in 1963 to spend eight hours a day chanting verses from the Koran over her late husband’s tomb, laid a fresh red rose there) enforced the reputation of the legendary romance between the Aga Khan III and Om Habibeh. After the death of her husband, she continued to live at Yakymour, though she always spent three months a year in the villa at Aswan, the site of her husband’s mausoleum.

As a widow, she travelled widely both for charity and for pleasure. She was a regular face at Ascot (she herself owned several horses), where she always caught the eye. In the 1950’s and 60’s she was a true fashion icon, and was a countless times on the cover of International magazines. Her advice on fashion was typically sensible: “Don’t choose what you like, but what suits you. To be elegant one must have discretion. The secret is in the details”. Often she was sitting front-row at the Paris fashion shows from Christian Dior, Lanvin, Jaques Faith and many others.

 

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan by Gyenes

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan by Gyenes

It wasn’t only beauty on the outside. She was dearly loved by her people because of her generosity to the poor, childern, women and the elderly, and, by her own husband as well. She had a big heart for everybody. Also for people outside the Shia Ismaili community. No matter what kind of religion, man or women, or even sexual oriantation, she was véry openminded, Yakymour and Nour el-Salam were both an open house.

We should take care of eachother, everybody should be loved!, we are here on earth to do good, and not to harm or judge people, so lets love.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Begum Om Habibeh also loved annimals a lot. Over the years she had several dogs and cats. “Every person and every animal should be loved, we are all creations from Allah. “When a person is not good for animals, he can not be good to humans”. “We should take care of eachother, everybody should be loved!, we are here on earth to do good, and not to harm or judge people, so lets love”…. And that’s what she did!

 

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Grandma ‘Yaky’, the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan with her poodles at Yakymour, Le Cannet, France, January 1, 1985 

Beauty was not only on the outside. It came from the heart. Highly popular, Her Highness La Bégum showed great generosity throughout her life. She made many donations to schools (‘education is the most impotant thing in life after being loved’ and ‘The highest result of education is tolerance’ she always said) and hospitals. But also donations to women’s shelters, Alzheimer foundation, and… Aids foundation.

The highest result of education is tolerance.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Over four decades of widowhood (she never thought of remarrying) she was always out in the community helping the poor and elderly and would relentlessly encourage education for women. For over forty years, banquets were offered to the town’s elderly inhabitants. The Begum also ran a charitable foundation, the Om Habibeh Foundation, which tackled poverty in Aswan, Egypt, where she inherited her husband’s villa by the Nile. At home in Le Cannet, she established a home for the elderly. It was not in her nature either to forget, or to try to hide, her humble origins. In the last years of her life, she made an outstanding donation to the town, enabling it to renew its school property.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan at Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers

Begum Om Habibeh, Le Cannet, Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers, Le Cannet, 1997

She also contributed to the creation of the Jardin des Oliviers, for which the town showed its gratitude by erecting a bronze statue by Charles-Louis La Salle, unveiled by the mayor of Le Cannet Rocheville, in her image. She last appeared in public for the inauguration of this garden in 1997. She was also vèry happy that she could be present at the wedding of Princess Zahra Aga Khan with businessman Mark Boyden, June 21, 1997 in Paris.

Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers

Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers Park

Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers, bronze statue of Om Habibeh by Charles-Louis La Salle

Before her death, the late Begum arranged for Yakymour, the home of which she and her husband were so fond, to be retained for use by the Aga Khan family. She also planned that a large part of her estate be donated to two foundations closely associated with the family: The Aga Khan Foundation, Geneva, a non-profit organisation established by the current Aga Khan in 1967, which oversees and supports major international programmes in health, education and rural development, in some of the poorest regions of Asia and Africa, and the Bellerive Foundation in Geneva, established by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan in 1977, which is devoted to the protection of the environment, conservation of natural resources and the safeguarding of human and animal rights.

There was no doubting her enduring devotion. “Now all I have left to hope for”, she said shortly before her death, “is that Allah will take me to his side”. Begum Om Habibeh ‘Mata Salamat’ aka Yvette Labrousse died on 1 July 2000, in Le Cannet, near Cannes, at the age of 94 years, and is buried next to her beloved husband at the Aga Khan’s sandstone mausoleum in Aswan. The couple had no children. She was survived by her stepson, Sadruddin Aga Khan, and three step-grandchildren, Karim Aga Khan the current Aga Khan, Amyn Aga Khan and Yasmin Aga Khan, who are the children of the late Prince Aly Khan, who died in 1960 and who was the eldest son of the late Aga Khan.

The jamat will recall with fondness and affection her support for the work of My late beloved grandfather, and also her devoted care and attention to Him particularly in the later years of His life. Throughout her lifetime Mata Salamat retained an abiding interest to the progress and well-being of the jamat world-wide

Mawlânâ Hazar Imam Karim Aga Khan IV

She has now been reunited with her husband, who has been resting, since 1957, in a mausoleum built on their Nour es-Salam property, near the river Nile, in Aswan, Egypt. ‘Till today she is very respected and loved. For her eternal love, her honesty, her help (she hated the word ‘charity’!) and being só openminded…..

by Jean Amr

 

 

 

 The Om Habibeh Foundation

The Om Habibeh Foundation was established by the Aga Khan’s late step-grandmother, Om Habibeh, the Begum Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan. It is an Egyptian, not-for-profit organisation of long-standing that has been contributing to, and supporting, a number of institutions, in the Aswan area, which are involved in healthcare, education and income generation for disadvantaged communities. The Foundation draws on the support and technical expertise of the agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network to advance the newly announced initiatives.

The Aga Khan Foundation

For more information:

Farees Nathoo
Aga Khan Foundation
Tel. +20 (22) 506 1570
Email: info@akdn.org

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Aga Khan III and Andrée Joséphine Carron

The Aga Khan III married, on 7 December 1929 (civil), in Aix-les-Bains, France, and 13 December 1929 (religious), in Bombay, India, Andrée Joséphine Carron (1898–1976). A co-owner of a dressmaking shop in Paris, she became known as Princess Andrée Aga Khan. By this marriage, he had one son, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, (1933–2003). The couple were divorced in 1943

Aga Khan III Andrée Carron WeddingFrance, Aix-les-Bains, 7 December, 1929. The marriage between  Aga Khan III and Andrée Joséphine Carron, who came from Savoye . The marriage was celebrated by the Mayor, and by an imam.

Begum Andree Carron Aga Khan Cartier TiaraThe Princess Andrée, wife of Aga Khan III, wearing her tiara of Emerald with the blade of Sapphire and emeralds (1930) (Click photo to enlarge)

HH Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III estate auction

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Sotheby's

Born Yvette Labrousse in 1906 in Sete near Marseilles, France. Begum Om Habibeh was the fourth and last wife of the late Sultan Mohamed Aga Khan III, the 48 hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims in direct descent from the Profhet Muhammad through his cousin and son in law Ali and his daughter Fatima. The couple were married in Switzerland on October 9th, 1944.

The late Begum, following travels to Egypt, had already converted to islam before her marriage. Throughout her life she demonstrated a strong attechment to the faith and to its traditions of philantropy and concern for the less fortunate.The Begum took a particular interestin issues affecting woman and children’s welfare.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Kahn Yvette Labrousse Signed to Roger Flor, 1er coiffeur Elizabeth Arden, 1959

HH. Begum Om Habibeh Aga Kahn III (Photo made and signed by Sam Levin, Signed to Roger Flor, 1er coiffeur Elizabeth Arden by HH. Begum Om Habibeh Aga Kahn III, 1959, private collection).

Following her husband’s death in 1957, the late Begum moved between Le Cannet, Paris, Geneva and Aswan. In Le Cannet she was held in particular esteem and was known for her generosity towards the eldery, through the establishment of a retirement home.

Before her death, the late Begum arranged that all her estate, other than certain bequests, be donated to the Aga Khan Foundation, Geneva, to the Bellerive Foundation, Geneva, and to her own Om Habibeh Foundation. Today, 15 years ago, on November 15, 2000 Sotheby’s held the auction of Her Highness’s jewels posthumously, with respect to her wishes.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Yvette Labrousse neckless pearl

HH Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III, her famous 5 row pearl-diamond neckless.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Yvette Labrousse

HH Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III, wearing her favorite 5 row pearl-diamond neckless, and  Harry Winston 51.85 carat diamond ring.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Yvette Labrousse Ring Diamond

Highly important diamond ring by Harry Winston. Claw-set with a  step-cut diamond weighting 51.85 carats, between tapered baguette diamond shoulders, mounted in platinum

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Yvette Labrousse Neckless Diamond

Magnificent diamond necklace. The front is decorated with a profusion of marquise and pear shaped and brilliant and tep-cut diamonds, continuing to the back with graduated step-cut diamonds, spaced by clusters of marquise and pear shaped and brilliant cut diamonds.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Yvette Labrousse Earrings Diamond

French fine pair of cultered pearl and diamond earrings. The cluster surmounts set with pear and marquise shaped and brilliant cut diamonds, each supporting a cultured pearl dropmeasuring approximately14.8mm in diameter, and are mounted in platinum and 18k gold. The pearl pendants are detachable. Her Highness the Begum was wearing them very often, in both ways, with and without its pearls. 

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Yvette Labrousse

Another favorite pair of earrings for her where these pair of French diamond pendent earclips. The surmounts decorated with a cluster of pear and marquise shaped diamond, supporting tassels of graduated pear shaped diamonds. The clips are mounted in platinum 

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Yvette Labrousse

 HH the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III attends the ‘My Fair Lady’ ball, hosted by Hélène Rochas in the Bois de Boulogne in 1965. HH the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III wore a gown of white lace and her favorite, also in her estate auction, her Bvlgari diamond and turquoise set. The set contains a  necklace, earclips and a bracelet that she is wearing in her hair, as the ‘first’ woman to do so, long before Princess Diana of Wales.

The auctions results totalled to SF41,249,800 – US$23,340,809 – £16,303,619 to benefit the aforementioned philanthropic institutions in overseeing and supporting major international programs in health, education and rural development in some of the poorest regions of Central and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as initiatives for the protection of the environment, conservation of natural resources and the safeguarding of human and animal rights.

Come into the beautiful world of Sotheby’s.

Marlene Dietrich, Jean Cocteau and The Begum Aga Khan enjoying Gilbert Bécaud’s ‘L’Opéra d’Aran

Gilbert Becaud, the most Sung french artist in the world and has a sense of the verb and the incomparable melody. Essential figure of the variety at the turn of the 1960s, his titles ‘Age tendre et tête de bois’ and ‘Salut les copains’ are borrowed by the most iconic TV shows for youth and his most famous song, ‘Et maintenant ’, just published (1961).

Gilbert Bécaud

Gilbert Bécaud (Click photo to enlarge)

Gilbert Bécaud then at the height of his fame, began at cross-purposes of evolution that was taking his artistic career, the crazy bet to compose an opera that might combine a lyrical drama talents of popular melodist. Before becoming ‘Mr. 100.000 volt’, Bécaud had received classical training at the conservatoire de Nice and began his career at many film scores, notably for Marcel Carné. This enigmatic work, whose booklet is signed Pierre Delanoë, Jacques Emmanuel and Louis Amade, brought together all artistic Paris and many friends, like Marlene Dietrich, Jean Cocteau and Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan III, during his performance at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in 1962.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich and Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan III at the dress rehearsal of Gilbert Bécaud’s ‘L’Opéra d’Aran’ at le Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris on October 26, 1962 (Click photo to enlarge).

Marlene Dietrich, JEAN COCTEAU and Her Highness The Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III attend the dress rehearsal of Gilbert Bécaud's 'L'Opéra d'Aran' at le Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris on October 26, 1962.

Marlene Dietrich, Jean Cocteau and Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan III attend the dress rehearsal of Gilbert Bécaud’s ‘L’Opéra d’Aran’ at le Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris on October 26, 1962 (Click photo to enlarge).

Marlene Dietrich, Gilbert Bécaud, JEAN COCTEAU and Margarethe Wallmann attend the dress rehearsal of Gilbert Bécaud's 'L'Opéra d'Aran' at le Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris on October 26, 1962.

Marlene Dietrich, Gilbert Bécaud, Jean Cocteau and Margarethe Wallmann attend the dress rehearsal of Gilbert Bécaud’s ‘L’Opéra d’Aran’ at le Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris on October 26, 1962 (Click photo to enlarge).

An opera which then toured around the world for more than 30 years. Directed by Laurent Balandras and Olivier Julien in agreement with Gilbert Bécaud succession,

Couv+Dos Opera Aran

Gilbert Bécaud ‘L’Opéra d’Aran (Click photo to enlarge).

Now availble, offers a restored version of the Opera with for the first time in the outcome documents of unpublished tapes from the personal archives of the artist.

by Jean Amr

100 Years of Lipstick

Yvette Labrousse never left her home without fist applying her lipstick. The Cannes-based miss France got her first tube of the red lip color from her mother. And it has since become such a big part of her identity that she even wears it while she was doing her job in her mothers shop.

Miss France, Yvette Labrousse, Begum Um Habibeh Aga Khan

Yvette Labrouse, miss France 1930, the later Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III (Click photo to enlarge)

It’s been called the red badge of courage, defined Marilyn Monroe’s unabashed sexuality and was a way for factory-working ‘Rosie the Riveters’ to hold onto their femininity while doing a ‘man’s job’. Its paradoxical history is long and colorful, but whatever the shade, lipstick has left its imprint on the cultural fabric.

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

 Portrait of Her Highness The Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III (private collection)(photo by Dorothy Wilding)  (Click photo to enlarge).

So what is it that makes women coat their lips with crushed beetle guts and processed cow fat day in and day out? For Yvette Labrousse, it made her feel powerful in that time. Coloring her lips was the last thing she did before walking out the door to face the world. The click of the tube opening and closing gives her the comfort of routine. But it’s more than makeup, it’s a source of confidence, sensuality and sometimes even armor.

Yves Saint Laurent YSL Rouge Volupté Shine No. 35 Fuchsia in Grunge Fall 2015

Yves Saint Laurent (Click photo to enlarge)

The intimate relationship between lipstick and ladies goes way back, to the Egyptians who stained their mouths with red clay and iron oxide. Over the centuries it has been seen as both an embellishment of the elite and a scarlet marker of sin. In the Victorian era, when femininity was linked to a childlike innocence and women were prized almost solely for their looks, crimson salves were banned in England. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that lipstick came back into vogue. Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together.

Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together, Elizabeth Taylor, actress

Along with shattering countless other taboos, Hollywood also brought lipstick into the mainstream. While some women started secretly tinting their lips at home, actresses began coloring their pouts onscreen. And once Sarah Bernhardt, dubbed ‘the most famous actress in the world’, unveiled her red lips both on and off the red carpet, it was just a matter of time before others followed suit.

Christian Louboutin Rouge Matte Louboutin fall 2015

Christian Louboutin Rouge Matte Louboutin (Click photo to enlarge).

Until the early 1900s, lip salves were made primarily from carmine dye, extracted from dried insects, and applied with a brush. But around 1915 lipstick started appearing in cylindrical tubes, and within a few years everyone, from Estee Lauder to Elizabeth Arden to Chanel, was selling it. By 1936, the New York Times declared that lipstick was ‘as essential as clothes’ and ‘almost as vital as food’, and by 1940, 90 percent of American women wore it. “It wasn’t just lipstick, it was and is an icon,” says Veronique Vienne, a former art director and journalist for a number of American women’s magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook and Elle.

Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick in Stronger Fall 2015

Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick in Stronger Fall 2015 (Click photo to enlarge)

As fashion and makeup trends have evolved over time, so has lipstick’s composition and color palette. Most contain some strain of wax, oil, fat, emollient and pigment. In the past, cow brains were the fat of choice, because they were cheap and just the right texture. And emollient, which typically includes vitamin E or aloe vera, acts as a moisturizer. Tints are produced using a combination of plant, animal, mineral or synthetic dyes, and there is a dizzying spectrum of shades, from the classic Coco by Chanel to Urban Decay’s F-Bomb. But regardless of brand or shade, lipstick and its cylinder often evoke phallic symbolism: Think about its long, rounded shape that grows in size before touching your mouth …(Sorry, nothing I can do. This is what psychologists say!)

Guerlain Lipstick Neiges et Merveilles Christmas Collection 2015/2016

Guerlain Lipstick Neiges et Merveilles Christmas Collection 2015 (Click photo to enlarge)

And yet it tends to be the first makeup accessory mothers give their daughters, and it’s a must-have for many women, even those who forego eye shadow and foundation. There’s simply no other beauty product that possesses its cultural prominence. Perhaps Elizabeth Taylor best captured lipstick’s powerful influence when she instructed: “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together”.

Dolce&Gabbana Sophia Loren No.1 Red Lipstick

Dolce & Gabbana Sophia Loren No.1 Red Lipstick, 2015 (Click photo to enlarge)

Since making its debut in push-up tubes 100 years ago, lipstick has been helping women pull themselves together, providing them with a stamp of self-approval that says: I know who I am, and I’m not afraid to flaunt it. And there are many who’d agree with Yvette Labrousse who insists, “I can’t not wear it.”

by Jean Amr

Johnny Mathis, the world’s most famous balladeer

Mathis was born in Gilmer, Texas, United States, in 1935, the fourth of seven children of Clem Mathis and his wife, Mildred Boyd, The family moved to San Francisco, California, settling on 32nd Ave. in the Richmont District, where Johnny grew up. His father had worked in vaudeville, they were both professional cooks and cooked all these extraordinary things. When his father saw his son’s talent, he bought an old upright piano for $25 and encouraged him to play. Mathis began learning songs and routines from his father. He spent most of my childhood with my father. He was a singer and played the piano and Johnny was fascinated with him, whereas his brothers and sisters weren’t that interested in music. They were busy doing other things but it was very important to him, he got involved early and extensively in singing in every capacity of my daily life. His dad taught him his first songs, took him fishing, hunting, a lot of outdoor activities, free activities; that was the main thing, it didn’t cost anything. His first song was ‘My Blue Heaven’ Mathis started singing and dancing for visitors at home, at school, and at church functions.

Johnny Mathis

Johnny Mathis (Click photo to enlarge).

When he was 13, voice teacher Connie Cox accepted him as her student in exchange for work around her house. Johnny studied with Cox for six years, learning vocal scales and exercises, voice production, classical, and operatic singing. He is one of the relatively few popular singers who received years of professional voice training that included opera. The first band he sang with was formed by his high school friend Merl Saunders. Mathis eulogized him at his funeral in 2008, thanking him for giving him his first chance as a singer.

Mathis was a star athlete at George Washington High School in San Francisco. He was a high jumper and hurdler, and he played on the basketball team. In 1954, he enrolled at San Francisco State University on an athletic scholarship, intending to become an English teacher and a physical education teacher. The high jump record he set there was only two inches short of the Olympic record.

In San Francisco singing at a Sunday afternoon jam session with a friend’s jazz sextet at the Black Hawk Club, Mathis attracted the attention of the club’s co-founder, Helen Noga. She became Mathis’ music manager, and in September 1955, after Noga had found Mathis a job singing weekends at Ann Dee’s 440 Club, she learned that George Avakian, head of Popular Music A&R at Columbia Records, was on vacation near San Francisco. After repeated calls, Noga finally persuaded Avakian to come hear Mathis at the 440 Club. After hearing Mathis sing, Avakian sent his record company a telegram stating: Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.

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Johnny Mathis (Click photo to enlarge).

At San Francisco State, Mathis had become noteworthy as a high jumper, and in 1956 he was asked to try out for the U.S. Olympic Team that would travel to Melbourne, Australia, that November. Mathis had to decide whether to go to the Olympic trials or to keep his appointment in New York City to make his first recordings. On his father’s advice, Mathis opted to embark on a professional singing career. His first album was released in late 1956 instead of waiting until the first quarter of 1957.

Mathis’s first record album, Johnny Mathis: A New Sound In Popular Song, was a slow-selling jazz album, but Mathis stayed in New York City to sing in nightclubs. His second album was produced by Columbia Records vice-president and record producer Mitch Miller, who helped to define the Mathis sound. Miller preferred that Mathis sing soft, romantic ballads, pairing him up with conductor and music arranger Ray Conniff, and later Ray Ellis, Glenn Osser, and Robert Mersey. In late 1956, Mathis recorded two of his most popular songs: ‘Wonderfull Wonderfull’ and ‘It’s Not For Me To Say’

Also that year, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, signed him up to sing the latter song in the movie Lizzie (1957). Shortly afterwards, Mathis made his second film appearance for 20th Century singing the song ‘A Certain Smile’ in the film of that title. He had small acting roles in both movies as a bar singer. This early visibility in two successful movies gave him mass exposure. His appearance on the popular TV program The Ed Sullivan Show in 1957 also helped increase his popularity. Critics called him ‘the velvet voice’. Mathis also appeared during this period on Abc’s The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, as did fellow African-American entertainers Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey.

During the summer of 1958, Mathis left San Francisco with the Nogas, who sold their interest in the Black Hawk club that year, and moved to Beverly Hills, California, where the Nogas bought a house.

Johnny Mathis judges a San Francisco State beauty contest in 1958.

Johnny Mathis, back at San Francisco State Collegee to help pick ‘Most Beautiful Girl on Campus’.
Finalists are front (l-r) Sheila Shelly, and Diane Delgado; rear Carol Jean Childers, Mary Lou Ciranson and Judy Massie (March 1958)(Click photo to enlarge).

He was the first artist to release a ‘greatest hits’ album, Johnny’s Greatest Hits, pioneering the concept in 1958. The album spent an unprecedented 491 consecutive weeks through 1967 (nine and a half years) on the Billboard top 100 album charts, earning him a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Mathis had two of his biggest hits in 1962 and 1963, with ‘Gina’ (#6) and ‘What Will My Mary Say’ (#9).

In October 1964, Mathis sued Noga to void their management arrangement, which Noga fought with a counterclaim in December 1964. Mathis purchased a mansion in Hollywood Hills, which was originally built by billionaire Howard Hughes in 1946, where he still maintains a residence.

After splitting from Noga, Mathis established Jon Mat Records, Inc., incorporated in California May 11, 1967, to produce his recordings (previously, he founded Global Records, Inc. to produce his Mercury albums), and Rojon Productions, Inc., incorporated in California September 30, 1964, to handle all of his concert, theater, showroom, and television appearances, and all promotional and charitable activities. His new manager and business partner was Ray Haughn, who, until his death in September 1984, helped guide Mathis’s career. Since that time, Mathis has taken sole responsibility for it.

JOHNNY MATHIS 1984

While Mathis continued to make music, the ascent of the Beatles and early 1970s album rock kept his adult contemporary recordings out of the pop singles charts, until he experienced a career renaissance in the late 1970s.

1970 Johnny Mathis - johnny mathis

Johnny Mathis (Click photo to enlarge).

1971 Johnny Mathis - Love Story_ USA backside

Johnny Mathis ‘Love Story’ (backside), 1971 (Click photo to enlarge).

1973 Johnny Mathis I'm Comming Home

Johnny Mathis ‘I’m Comming Home’, 1973 (Click photo to enlarge).

1974 Johnny Mathis - The Heart of a Woman - Front Cover Reconstruction

Johnny Mathis ‘The Heart of a Woman’, 1974 (Click photo to enlarge).

Mathis has released eight Christmas albums and his single ‘When A Child Is Born’ has been a hardy Christmas perennial ever since it went to No 1 in 1976.

Johnny Mathis & Diahann Carroll duet the song “You Are So Beautiful” on her show, July 1976

In 1978, Mathis recorded ‘Too Much, Too Little, Too Late’ with singer and good friend Deniece Williams. The lyrics and music were arranged by Nat Kipner and John McIntyre Vallins. Released as a single in 1978, it reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, number nine on the Canadian Singles Chart and number three on the UK Singles Chart. It also topped the US R&B and adult contemporary charts. ‘Too Much, Too Little, Too Late’ was certified gold and silver in the US and in the UK by the RIAA and the British Phonographic Industry respectively. It was his first number one hit since his 1957 chart-topping ‘Chances Are’.

1978 Johnny Mathis & Denise Williams - That's What Friends Are For

Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams with their monsterhit album ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ (Click photo to enlarge).

In 1978, his hit duet ‘The Last Time I Felt Like This’ from the film Same Time, Next Year was nominated for an Acadamy Award for Best Original Song. Mathis and Jane Olivor sang the song at the Academy Awards ceremony, in his second performance at the Oscars.

Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams released a follow-up duet, ‘You’re All I Need to Get By’, peaking at number 47 on the Hot 100. The success of the duets with Williams prompted Mathis to record duets with a variety of partners, including  Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Patti Austin, Josh Groban, Jane Oliver, Angela Bofill, Regina Belle, Stephanie Lawrence, Engelbert Humperdinck, Elaine Paige, Nana Mouskouri and his heroine Lena Horne, “She was the most gorgeous, enigmatic, provocative woman I’ve ever seen. I used to hang around at her concerts when I was a kid and after a while her husband started inviting me to her dressing room. I was probably bothersome to her but her husband was kind. He could see I was infatuated.” A compilation album also called ‘Too Much, Too Little, Too Late’, released by Sony Music in 1995, featured the title track among other songs by Mathis and Williams.

1979 Johnny Mathis

Johnny Mathis ‘The Best Days Of My Life’, 1979 (Click photo to enlarge).

Johnny Mathis Singles 1980

Johnny Mathis ‘The Best Of’, 1980 (Click photo to enlarge).

During 1980-81, Mathis recorded an album with Chic’s Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, ‘I Love My Lady’, which remains unreleased in its entirety, though three tracks appeared on a Chic box set in 2010 and a fourth, the title track, on Mathis’ Ultimate Collection in 2011 and the Chic Organization’s ‘Up All Night’ in 2013

1983 Johnny Mathis With Special Guest Natalie Cole Unforgettable A Musical Tribute To Nat King Cole

1983 Johnny Mathis With Special Guest  Natalie Cole Unforgettable A Musical Tribute To Nat King Cole (Click photo to enlarge).

1984 Johnny Mathis - A Special Part Of Me

Johnny Mathis ‘A Special Part Of Me’, 1984 (Click photo to enlarge).

1985 Johnny Mathis Right From The Heart

Johnny Mathis ‘Right From The Heart’, 1985 (Click photo to enlarge).

1986 Johnny Mathis - christmas eve with johnny mathis

Johnny Mathis ‘Christmas eve with Johnny Mathis’, 1986 (Click photo to enlarge).

1991 Johnny Mathis Better Together - The Duet Album

Johnny Mathis ‘Better Together’ The Duet Album, 1991 (Click photo to enlarge).

1998 Johnny_Mathis__Because_You_Loved_Me

Johnny Mathis ‘Because You Loved Me’, 1998 (Click photo to enlarge).

Johnny Mathis has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame Grammy Hall of Fame for three separate recordings, in 1998 for ; Chances Are’ in 2002 for ‘Misty’ and in 2008 for ‘It’s Not For Me To Say’

In 2003, the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded Mathis the Lifetime Archievement Award. This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy’s National Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artist significance to the field of recording

Mathis returned to the British Top 30 album chart in 2007 with the Sony BMG release The Very Best of Johnny Mathis in 2008 with the CD “A Night to Remember” and again in 2011 with “The Ultimate Collection.

He doesn’t set out to just sing ballads or romantic songs. He was thrilled when his country album ‘Let It Be Me, Mathis In Nashville’ was nominated for a Grammy in 2011.

Singing isn’t work it’s part of me. I don’t do it for any reason other than that I love it. How lucky does that make me?

Johnny Mathis

On June 21, 2014 Johnny Mathis was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall Of Fame along with Linda Rontadt, Shirley Jones and Nat King Cole (his daughter Natalie Cole accepting the award on his behalf). The awards were presented by The Center for the Performing Arts Artistic Director Michael Feinstein. Defined on their website, “Conceived as an enduring testament to the Great American Songbook, the Hall of Fame honors performers and composers responsible for creating America’s soundtrack.

He has sung for presidents (Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan) and royalty (Prince Charles, Princess Diana and HH The Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan who was vèry fond of his voice and music). His CV is undeniably illustrious. He should be cock-of-the-walk confi-dent but he does not come across that way. “As a child all I knew was that people kept asking me to sing and because I liked to please I would sing. It wasn’t until my dad told me that my singing made him happy that I began to think my voice might be good.” When was that? “When I was about 23”.

Johnny Mathis

 Nobody can deliver a romantic line quite like the silken-voiced Mathis as his record sales of more than 350 million will attest. When he sings Misty he could melt an Iceberg (Click photo to enlarge).

In an interview in The Guardian (2014) he said: “I think I am as close to some friends as I am to my brothers and sisters. And they are my family. I think it’s important to cultivate as many people as you can to see which ones you jive with. And it makes you happy. If one dies you have another one. So living is a process that you have to do by yourself, and if you can learn a few little goodies along the way that might make it easier for you, so much the better. I’ve found that the more friends I have, the luckier I am!”

I’ve had the privilege to meet Mr. Mathis a couple of times. Not only his beautiful voice impressed me, but certainly his humor, and his kindness. September 30, and over 60 years after winning his first recording contract he is still selling out concert venu, Johnny Mathis has his 80 birthday today, …

May all optimistic things will be yours!

by Jean Amr