Peau d’âne, which translates as “donkey skin,” is the story of a princess who escapes a difficult situation disguised in a donkey skin and eventually finds true love. Written in verse by Charles Perrault and published in 1695, it’s one of France’s best-loved fairy tales. The princess flees because her grieving father, unable to find a wife more beautiful than his late queen, proposes to her. The princess is advised by a fairy godmother to make her consent conditional on the king giving her a series of garments that would be impossible to make, such as a dress as bright as the sun. But the finest tailors succeed in creating them, so the princess flees to the forest disguised in the skin of the king’s prized donkey and becomes a scullery maid. One day a wandering prince happens along … and they all live happily ever after.
French director Jacques Demy adapted the story in 1970 for his musical film Peau d’âne, starring Catherine Deneuve as the princess and with a score composed by Michel Legrand. The film, which imagines a fantastical world of mystical creatures, resplendent gowns and musical interludes, was digitally restored by the Demy family in 2012 in cooperation with Van Cleef & Arpels. The project was the perfect fit for the jewellery house, given the enchanted motifs it has used since the 1940s.
MUSICAL NIGHT FRENCH OPERA SINGER NATALIE DESSAY PERFORMED AT THE GALA DINNER