This story was published on July 5 and updated on July 7.
The day before Balenciaga's Fall 2022 couture show, Jocelyn Wildenstein — the plastic surgery-happy socialite and ex-wife of billionaire Alec Wildenstein — seemingly announced her plans to attend the sartorial extravaganza.
"See you tomorrow @balenciaga," she captioned an Instagram selfie. Demna is known for working with an eclectic roster of celebrities, but Wildenstein, nicknamed "catwoman" by the media for her feline appearance, certainly isn't the first person I'd predict to make an appearance at the house's couture outing.
Still, I was stoked at the prospect of Wildenstein's step back into the spotlight — it's about time she reclaimed her place as a connoisseur of style. While married to Mr. Wildenstein, she purchased a $350,000 Chanel dress, designed in collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld. She owned a pet cheetah, Siri, and a pet lynx, Bastet. To match, she worked with Cartier and Roger Guillochon to design a collection of feline-inspired jewelry that was later sold by Sotheby's for $1 million.
While perusing photos of Balenciaga's celebrity guests, my heart leapt when I spotted Wildenstein, dressed in a leopard print catsuit (fab!). But it wasn't actually Wildenstein — it was makeup artist Alexis Stone, known for her jaw-dropping cosmetic transformations.
Later that day, I headed to Wildenstein's Instagram to do some important investigative work. Did she actually attend the show? Or did she just "attend" via Stone?
Sadly, Wildenstein herself was not at the show. On July 7, she edited the caption on the selfie that initially sparked my excitement to simply read: "@balenciaga."
It seems she and Stone were in on the switcheroo from the very start. Wildenstein left a flurry of hearts on an Instagram post immortalizing Stone's cosmetic shape-shift into the 81-year-old. "Love you mother," Stone replied.
So that's that on that: Jocelyn Wildenstein was not physically present Balenciaga's couture show, but she was certainly there in sprit.