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Pilar Crespi

Pilar Crespi

Every so often, you come across something truly charming on the internet. For example: Valentino’s relationship with Consuelo Crespi is well known, as the American-born contessa championed the house in its early days. Mr. Valentino has said that it was seeing Consuelo’s twin sister, Gloria, in one of his dresses that made Jackie O. such a fan. The sisters really were just incomparably chic.


Less well known is Valentino’s relationship with Consuelo’s daughter, Pilar Crespi. These days, Pilar is the president and co-CEO of Source of Hope, a humanitarian aid organization that she founded with her husband, Stephen Robert. Back in the spring of 1971, however, Pilar was, according to a story in the Reading Eagle, “fashion’s most beautiful girl,” not to mention Mr. Valentino’s assistant. Unearthed on Google by happenstance, the article, dated May 31, 1971, recounts Pilar’s experiences managing Mr. Valentino’s appearances at American stores, and her influence on the customers taken in by her DNA-deep chic.


“The other day Barbra Streisand buzzed into Valentino’s boutique on Madison Avenue here,” writer Marian Christy recounted. “Barbra spied hot pants with accompanying battle jacket displayed in the window. She instructed the chauffeur to double-park and she dashed in for a ty-on. Finally,” Christy reported, “Barbra in Valentino’s hot pants observed herself in the three-way mirror and blurted: ‘I’m not sure.’”


“Valentino,” the article continues, “sent for Pilar.”


Christy’s piece also features a time capsule anecdote about a fashion show at the Valentino boutique, and a model wearing “funny granny prescription glasses perched on her nose.” As Christy writes, Valentino insisted the model keep her glasses on for the show—to demonstrate to the audience that, in his words, Valentino clothes are for “anybody,” not just “somebody.”


Another choice anecdote? How about the one about Pilar’s best friend, Isabella Rosselini, who is apparently “anti-fashion,” and pretty much only wears jeans. At a party Valentino gave in Rome, according to the article, Pilar had to loan Isabella clothes. Hot pants, in fact—perhaps the same style Barbra had been eyeing. And maybe a similar style to the pair Pilar coaxed Jackie O. into buying, despite the fashion icon’s insistence that she would “never wear hot pants.”


Never say never!  



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