Sunday, August 8, 2010

Models of the Past: Part 2

When I think of 1960s style and beauty trends, the first thing that springs to mind is youth.
The 60s saw a massive cultural shift, where young people started to become the drivers of popular culture and fashion. Trends stopped starting in the great haute couture houses of Paris, and started on the streets of London and New York instead. The womanly New Look was replaced by baby doll dresses, Mary-Jane's and models with the wide-eyed and button nosed beauty reminiscent of children.
Models had always been young, but now they looked young too.

Dutch beauty Wilhelmina Cooper was a top model in the 50s and early 60s, and once she moved behind the camera, she established Wilhelmina Models which, alongside Ford Models, became a top model agency for many decades.
These pics of brown eyed Wilhelmina are quintessentially sixties; I love the coquettish poses and the heavy eye make-up.

Wilhelmina - who was played by Faye Dunaway in the movie Gia (Angelina Jolie starred in the tragic leading role) - worked with models as diverse as Lauren Hutton, Janice Dickinson, and Angelica Huston. She also discovered Donyale Luna, who is often named as the first black supermodel. A statuesque beauty with a phenomenal figure, she appeared on the cover of UK Vogue and TIME magazine in 1966.
Sadly Donyale's life turned out to be almost as tragic as Gia's, and she passed away due to drug abuse at a young age.

Where would the 60s have been without Veruschka? Veruschka was a German aristocratic head turner (and I mean that she was actually an aristocrat, not that she just looked like one), who was discovered at 20 and whisked away to Paris to become one of the world's highest paid models. She was over 6 foot tall with piercing blue eyes and lusturous hair and like most of the models well into the 1990s, she was instrumental in creating her own signature look.

With an animalistic sex appeal, Veruschka became a household name after she appeared as herself in the cult 60s film Blow Up. She dated stars like Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty, and quit fashion in 1975 after a falling out with Vogue editor Grace Mirabella. Oh, and her father was a Nazi turned conspirator who was executed after a failed attempt to murder Hitler. Someone could write a seriously fascinating novel based on Veruschka's life.

Jean Shrimpton was the ideal 1960s beauty, and her face still continues to take my breath away. It is hard to turn away from a photo of The Shrimp.

Jean started modelling in 1960 and soon hit the big time thanks to her boyfriend, photographer David Bailey. Jean became his muse and appeared on covers all over the world; soon she was being labelled the face of the decade, recognised as one of the key components of swinging London.

Jean's face and figure suited the bold new styles of the 1960s to a tee, although funnily enough she never cared much for fashion.

Lucky for Jean she didn't marry David, who would soon move on to other models, and now she leads the quiet life managing a hotel in Cornwall. She'll be forever remembered in Australia as that girl who dared to wear a mini-skirt and no hat to the Melbourne Cup.

Celia Hammond was another blonde British beauty who made the big time. It is rather fitting that I've included a photograph of her with some kittens, as post modelling Celia has become an animal welfare campaigner, with a particular interest in feral cats.

While Verushchka's Amazonian proportions were unusual for the time, Twiggy came in at the other end of the size scale. She was only five feet six and when the Twiggy phenomenon was at it's peak - Leslie Hornby was only 17 - her measurements were a very petite 31 - 22 - 32.

She was flat-chested, had a pixie haircut and freckles and highlighted her already arresting eyes with layer upon layer of false eyelashes. Twiggy said she modelled her look on Jean Shrimpton, but she was soon an icon in her own right. Her look inspired its own magazine as well as countless other items of merchandise, and thankfully she was able to leverage her fame into an acting career.

After his relationship with Jean Shrimpton ended, David Bailey started dating American born model Penelope Tree, who was first photographed by Diane Arbus at only thirteen years old. Another icon of the 60s, Penelope's elfin features - framed beautifully by ever present bangs - are still revered and emulated by hip young things today.

Patti Boyd is probably best known for being married to George Harrison and then Eric Clapton - and for inspiring the song Layla - but before she was a famous wife, Patti was also a top model.

Patti is one of a long line of models - Lee Miller and Helena Christensen are two that spring to mind now - who ventured behind the camera post modelling. There was an exhibition of Patti's photographs in Sydney just last year.

Marisa Berenson - who like Verushcka came from an aristocratic lineage - was huge throughout the 60s and 70s. She must have been destined for glamour, seeing as she was the grand-daughter of Elsa Schiparelli. David Bailey called Marisa his "dream woman" and she certainly had a chameleon like face, stunning both bare or made-up.
One of the 'IT' girls of the 60s and 70s, Marisa was good mates with Andy Warhol, and continues to have a film career. She was even in Cabaret with Liza Minnelli!

Lauren Hutton is another slashie (model slash actress), whose face and body paved the way for the all American beauties like Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley who'd dominate covers in the 70s. Lauren was a big name in fashion in the 1960s and appeared on 25 Vogue covers. She's particularly famous for being the first model to negotiate a major cosmetics contract, and for looking drop dead stunning and sartorially brilliant in American Gigolo.
These shots are from the 1960s, when Lauren was at the top of her game. Of course she still works as a model sometimes today, and she is as drop dead gorgeous as ever.

And last but not least, who cannot be moved by the lovely face of Italian model Benedetta Barzini? Don't you love the big eyes and big hair? Along with Marisa Berenson, she was one of the most famous models on the 'scene' in New York in her heyday, and she became a feminist activist in the 1970s, and now teacher back in her native Italy. She sounds like a fascinating woman.


BaronessVonVintage said...


Everyday Goddess said...

This is a fabulous collection of timeless beauty! And the bio information you give is fascinating. Well done!

Sarah said...

I love seeing the drastic different looks that each model has. These models are so unique and well known for a reason! Great pics!

lauren said...

this is one of the best posts ever -so much researched info, impressive!
thank you!