by Ilaria Salerno
MONACO. Waiting for paying tribute to Princess Grace’s 90th birthday at the 2019 Princess Grace Awards Gala on 25th November in New York, Texas’ legendary socialite Lynn Wyatts told the press that she has great souvenir of the enduring style of one of her dearest friends. “I think Grace had just the right combination of elegance and more casual, preppy elements,” explains Wyatt. “The sweaters worn over the shoulders, the slender skirt — it was very relaxed but still elegant. That look never goes out of style. I think she probably personifies it.”
Wyatt certainly had enough time to formulate an opinion. The pair met in the sixties when seated together at a lunch in the Wyatt’s mansion in San Antonio. The to ladies quickly became friends, eventually spending many a summer together in Monaco. Wyatt would first spend five days in Paris for the fall haute-couture shows, then head to Monaco, where Grace expected a full report on the fashion. Wyatt describes Grace’s daytime ensembles of slacks, shirtdresses, and caftans for lunches with the children at the family’s mountain retreat, Roc Agel, and afternoons at the Monte Carlo Beach as “very south of France.” She also admired Grace’s highly practical solution for the coastal humidity: a turban, sometimes worn under a hat. However, for formal evenings, like the annual Bal de la Rose and the Red Cross Gala, Grace had the legendary hairstylist Alexandre come down from Paris, often sharing his services with Wyatt.
Those galas often ended with an elaborate fireworks display. But the pair were known to continue the night back at the palace. “We would sit in the garden and talk until four in the morning,” recalls Wyatt. “She was the perfect beauty, but she had that silent inner strength,” she says. “Grace was one of the most beautiful women in the world, and she conducted herself beautifully. That’s inspirational.” Lynn Wyatt for five decades has been a fixture in the international social firmament. No haute couture show was complete without her, and her annual birthday parties in the South of France were considered high points of the summer season—drawing her friends, who ranged from Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco to Elton John, Estée Lauder, David Niven, Joan Collins, and West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
Each of the seated dinners, which were for up to 60 people, had a theme, such as “Denim and Diamonds,” “Think Pink,” and the “Gypsy Party.” Meanwhile, she has helped raise millions for charities, including the Princess Grace Foundation and seemingly every worthy institution in Texas, such as the M.F.A.H., Houston Grand Opera, and the Houston Ballet. In Monte-Carlo, late stylist Karl Lagerfeld used to say in various interviews that she is simply the “beau ideal”: “She is the perfect chic Texan woman. She has the perfect Chanel allure.”
Lynn’s beloved husband, Oscar Wyatt. (Oscar Sherman Wyatt, Jr. born July 11, 1924) is an American businessman, Texas oil tycoon and self made millionaire. The guest lists at the couple’s places they owned or rented in the South of France were glittering, including King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Princess Margaret, Truman Capote, Richard Nixon, Rudolf Nureyev, Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, John Travolta, and Barbara Walters. “The first years we rented a house in St. Tropez. But then Princess Grace kept saying, “Lynn, you have to come up to civilization…”, meaning Monaco, she recalls. Around 1977 the Wyatts bought “a fabulous house in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat”—La Mauresque, that had formerly belonged to Somerset Maugham. On the clay tennis court one could find Prince Rainier and Johnny Carson in a doubles match against Prince Albert and Douglas Wyatt. Not surprisingly, the “grey-haired sly foxes” won. “‘Will your dad be mad if we beat them? ” Lynn recalls Douglas asking Albert before the game. “Yeah” was his short answer. “Therefore, I can say that I witnessed the “English humour” of the future HSH Albert II…!”