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понедельник, 30 мая 2011 г.

DOVIMA - "Last Aristocratic Beauty"

Dorothy Virginia Margaret Juba (December 11, 1927 – May 3, 1990), later known as Dorothy Horan, and best known as Dovima, was a model during the 1950s. 
Born in New York City, Dovima was discovered on a sidewalk in New York by an editor at Vogue, and had a photo shoot with Irving Penn the following day. She was an overnight success and soon was the highest paid model in the business. 
Jerry Ford of Ford Models said, "She was the super-sophisticated model in a sophisticated time, definitely not the girl next door."
She worked closely with Richard Avedon, whose photograph of her in a floor-length black evening gown with circus elephants—"Dovima with the Elephants"—taken at the Cirque d'hiver, Paris, in August 1955, has become an icon. 
The gown was the first evening dress designed for Christian Dior by his new assistant, Yves Saint-Laurent.
The half-Polish, half-Irish daughter of Stanley Juba, she was raised in Jackson Heights, Queens. 
She contracted rheumatic fever at age ten and was confined to bed. 
The standard treatment was a year in bed, but her overprotective mother kept her home for the next seven years. It was a lonely time for her. She took up painting and had an imaginary friend, whom she called Dovima- using the first two letters of each of her given names. Doe, as her family called her, only socialized by telephone with other invalid children that her tutor educated. 
It's not too surprising then that her first husband, Jack Golden, was an upstairs neighbor. He simply moved into Doe's bedroom in her family's home.
Photo Richard Avedon
She appeared on the covers of all the fashion magazines and worked with every major photographer of the day. She formed a particular bond with Richard Avedon who would take the most famous photos of Dovima.
After her death, Richard Avedon said, "She was the last of the great elegant, aristocratic beauties...the most remarkable and unconventional beauty of her time." 
On another occasion, Avedon said, "The ideal of beauty then was the opposite of what it is now. It stood for an extension of the aristocratic view of women as ideals, of women as dreams, of women as almost surreal objects. Dovima fit that in her proportions."
Richard Avedon , Dovima in Balenciaga
Dovima and Jack Golden divorced in the late fifties and she married Alan Murray. She let him handle all of their finances as Jack Golden had. They had a daughter, Alison. 
Alan Murray is remembered as a man with boundless anger. 
In Vanity Fair, Mimi Swartz wrote, "That at times her husband beat her so severely that she could not show up for work did not, at first, cut into her bookings." 
Carmen Dell'Orefice commented on Dovima's love life, "Sadly she could only be with men who beat her. I'd find her on my doorstep black and blue, and I'd take her in and she'd live with me." 
In 1960 she moved with Alison to Los Angeles to pursue acting work. Murray told the FBI that Dovima had kidnapped their daughter. The two divorced and she lost custody of Alison. 
Dovima never saw her again.
Dovima appeared in 1957's Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. The musical was loosely based on Richard Avedon. In fact Avedon shot the fashion pictures that appear in the film, and the photographer that Astaire plays is named "Dick Avery". Dovima plays ditzy fashions model Marion. She has only a few scenes, but comes off very funny and glamorous.
Photo by Horst P.Horst
She announced her retirement from modeling in 1959, but actually posed until 1962. 
Of retiring, Dovima said, "I didn't want to wait until the camera turned cruel."
Unfortunately she hadn't saved any of her money.
When the TV appearances dried up, she spent the late sixties and early seventies working as a spokesperson for Qiana, a clothing line.
In 1974, she moved to Ft. Lauderdale to be near her parents and held various jobs like selling cosmetics and hosting at restaurants. 
She fell in love with a co-worker, bartender West Hollingsworth with whom she had twelve happy years. 
They married in 1983, but Hollingsworth died of cancer in 1986. It was a devastating blow to her and she never really recovered.
Dovima for Lanvin by Henry Clarke
In 1984 she went to work in Pizzeria as a hostess. 
She said she worked with nice people and was the mascot for their softball team. 
She enjoyed her status as kind of local celebrity. She commented in 1987, "The only 'has been' is one who has been. You have to Have Been in order to be a has been." 
She died of liver cancer on May 3, 1990. 
What she left behind are photographs that are a part of our culture. Images that speak of a time and a dream, that somehow speak volumes yet nothing at the same time.

пятница, 27 мая 2011 г.

"Beauty Icon and Muse" - Betty Catroux

Betty Catroux (born Betty Saint) is a former Chanel model and fashion icon who has been cited as a muse by both Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford.
Saint Laurent has called her his twin sister and referred to her as his female incarnation.
Tom Ford was so inspired by her that he dedicated his debut YSL Rive Gauche collection to her.
  Catroux is famed for her long white-blond hair, lanky body, gaunt features, and androgynous appearance.
Catroux and Saint Laurent met, according to her, in a "very, very gay" nightclub in Paris, Regine's in the 1960s and have had a friendly relationship ever since.
When Victor Hugo asked her in 1976 what she normally did in Paris, Catroux answered "nothing".

четверг, 26 мая 2011 г.

"Shocking Elsa" - Elsa Schiaparelli

Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars.
 Starting with knitwear, Schiaparelli's designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador Dalí , Jean Cocteau and Alberto Giacometti.
Schiaparelli was born at the Palazzo Corsini in Rome.
Her mother was a Neopolitan aristocrat and her father a renowned scholar and curator of medieval manuscripts.
 Her father, Celestino, was Dean of the University of Rome and an authority on Sanskrit. She was a niece of astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who discovered the canali of Mars, and she spent hours with him studying the heavens.She studied philosophy at the University of Rome, during which she published a book of sensual poems that shocked her conservative family. Schiaparelli was sent to a convent until she went on hunger strike and at the age of 22 accepted a job in London as a nanny. Elsa led a refined life with a certain amount of luxury provided by her parents’ wealth and high social status. She believed, however, that this luxury was stifling to her art and creativity and so she removed herself from the “lap of luxury” as quickly as possible. Schiaparelli moved first to New York City and then to Paris, combining her love of art and design to become a surrealist couturier.
En route to London, Schiaparelli was invited to a ball in Paris. Having no ballgown, she bought some dark blue fabric, wrapped it around herself and pinned it in place.
When only 18, she married William de Wendt de Kerlor, a theosophist. She remained with him as he drifted around Europe, eventually reaching America, but he abandoned her when her daughter was born. She then returned to Paris, a young woman with a child to support. She tried to get a job with Paul Poiret  and Maggy Rouff, unsuccessfully. However in 1928, she had some luck. She had drawn a design of a black sweater with a white trompe l'oeil bow at the neck. Mainbocher admired it and had it shown in the French VOGUE.
Anita Loos purchased on, and a buyer for a New York store ordered 40 with skirts to go along with them. Elsa was surprised at the success of her sweater and recruited a group of Armenian women to knit them. She bought some good cheap material for the skirts, and rounded up another group of women to make these.
"Schiap" was in business.
She experimented with costume jewellery. The early 30's saw Schiaparelli consolidated techniques, bringing together expert craftsmen for couture. A skilled atelier meant a finished garment and excellent construction following her genius as a designer. She sniffed out unusual materials like glass-like cellophane giving an illusion of transparency.
Schiaparelli was the first to use shoulder pads, hot pink, calling it SHOCKING PINK ,in 1947, animal print fabrics, and zippers dyed the same colors as the fabrics. She is also well known for her surrealist designs of the 1930's, especially her hats, including one resembling a giant shoe and one a giant lamb chop, both which were famously worn by the Franco-American Singer sewing machine heiress Daisy Fellowes, who was one of Schiaparelli's best clients and who owned a pink gemstone that inspired the color shocking pink.
In 1934 Elsa Schiaparelli opened a shop in London and also moved her Paris salon to 21 place Vendome. In the window of her boutique she put Dali's handiwork along with other surrealist works, and it was a great attraction to people on their way to the Ritz Hotel nearby.
Her shocking clothes seldom offended any of her clients.
Mrs Reginald Fellowes, Wallis Simpson later Duchess of Windsor, Millicent Rogers and Lady Elsie Mendl were among her elegant clients. It was even said that Daisy Fellowes managed to carry the lamp chop hat off.
She dressed many movie stars both on and off the screen, including Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Swanson and Tallulah Bankhead.
Her frenzy with Mae West, led to the actress's hour-glass figure being used for Schiap's perfume bottle for "Shocking".
The 30's were "Schiap's" decade. Whatever she made, made headlines.
Schiaparelli was an innovative woman and fashion designer. She had a lot of "firsts" in the fashion industry. Her career began with her introduction of graphic knitwear to the world of fashion with knit patterns and emblems. These led to her fanciful prints of body parts, food, and many more unusual themes. She was the first to use brightly colored zippers, appearing first on her sportswear in 1930 and again five years later on her evening dresses.
Not only was she the first to use brightly colored zippers, but she was also the first to have them dyed to match the material used in her garments. She was the first to create and use fanciful buttons that looked more like brooches. They came in the shapes of peanuts, bees, and even ram’s heads.
In Parisian fashion, she invented culottes, introduced Arab breeches, embroidered shirts, wrapped turbans, pompom-rimmed hats, barbaric belts, the “wedge,” a soled shoe that would trend through the 20th century and into the next, and mix-and-match sportswear, the concept of which would not be fully recognized for another forty to fifty years.
While her innovations in fashion design were numerous, it was her creation of the runway show as we know it today that was most influential. Her modern idea of a fashion show included a runway with music and art, and the use of elongated, shapeless women as models. She believed that this boyish figure would best display the clothing.
Many people do not realize the true sum of her impact on fashion and the fashion industry.
A darker tone was set when France declared war on Germany in 1939. Schiaparelli's Spring 1940 collection featured "trench" brown and camouflage print taffetas. Soon after the fall of Paris on 14 June 1940, Schiaparelli sailed to New York for a lecture tour apart from a few months in Paris in early 1941, she remained in New York City until the end of the war.
 On her return she found that fashions had changed, with Christian Dior's "New Look" marking a rejection of pre-war fashion. The house of Schiaparelli struggled in the austerity of the post-war period, and Elsa finally closed it down in December 1954,the same year that her great rival Chanel returned to the business.
Aged 64, she wrote her autobiography and then lived out a comfortable retirement between her apartment in Paris and house in Tunisia.
She died on 13 November 1973.
Elsa Schiaparelli's daughter, Countess Maria Luisa Yvonne Radha de Wendt de Kerlor, better known as Gogo Schiaparelli, married shipping executive Robert L. Berenson.
Their children were model Marisa Berenson and photographer Berry Berenson.
Both sisters appeared regularly in Vogue in the early 1970s. Berry was married Anthony Perkins, who died of AIDS on September 12, 1992.
Almost 9 years later, on September 11, 2001, Berry perished tragically on American Airlines Flight 11 when it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

среда, 25 мая 2011 г.

Richard Avedon-"The Eye of Fashion" Master of portraits

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004) was an American photographer whose fashion and portrait photographs helped define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century.
Avedon was born in New York City to a Jewish Russian family.
After briefly attending Columbia University, he started as a photographer for the Merchant Marines in 1942, taking identification pictures of the crewmen with the camera given to him by his father as a going-away present.
In 1944, he began working as an advertising photographer for a department store, but was quickly discovered by Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar.
In 1946, Avedon had set up his own studio and began providing images for magazines including Vogue and Life.
He soon became the chief photographer for Harper's Bazaar.
Avedon did not conform to the standard technique of taking fashion photographs, where models stood emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, Avedon showed models full of emotion, smiling, laughing, and, many times, in action.
During the early years, Avedon made his living primarily through work in advertising. His real passion, however, was the portrait and its ability to express the essence of its subject.
Avedon’s ability to present personal views of public figures, who were otherwise distant and inaccessible, was immediately recognized by the public and the celebrities themselves.
In 1966, Avedon left Harper's Bazaar to work as a staff photographer for Vogue magazine. He proceeded to become the lead photographer of Vogue and photographed most of the covers from 1973 until Anna Wintour became editor in chief in late 1988.
 When he was working , Avedon was so acutely creative, so sensitive. And he didn't like it if anyone else was around or speaking. There was a mutual vulnerability, and a moment of fusion when he was clicking the shutter. Avedon was always interested in how portraiture captures the personality and soul of its subject.
In addition to his continuing fashion work, Avedon began to branch out and photographed patients of mental hospitals.The brutal reality of the lives of the insane was a bold contrast to his other work. Years later he would again drift from his celebrity portraits with a series of studio images of drifters, carnival workers, and working class Americans.
Hollywood presented a fictional account of his early career in the 1957 musical Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire as the fashion photographer "Dick Avery."
Avedon supplied some of the still photographs used in the production, including its most famous single image: an intentionally overexposed close-up of Audrey Hepburn's face in which only her famous features - her eyes, her eyebrows, and her mouth - are visible.
Hepburn was Avedon's muse in the 1950s and 1960s, and he went so far as to say
"I am, and forever will be, devastated by the gift of Audrey Hepburn before my camera. I cannot lift her to greater heights. She is already there. I can only record. I cannot interpret her. There is no going further than who she is. She has achieved in herself her ultimate portrait."
Throughout the 1960s Avedon continued to work for Harper’s Bazaar and in 1974 he collaborated with James Baldwin on the book Nothing Personal.
Having met in New York in 1943, Baldwin and Avedon were friends and collaborators for more than thirty years.
For all of the 1970s and 1980s Avedon continued working for Vogue magazine, where he would take some of the most famous portraits of the decades.
In 1992 he became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker, and two years later the Whitney Museum brought together fifty years of his work in the retrospective, “Richard Avedon: Evidence”.

In 1944, Avedon married Dorcas Nowell, who later became a model and was known professionally as Doe Avedon. Nowell and Avedon divorced after five years of marriage.

 In 1951, he married Evelyn Franklin, she died on March 13, 2004

On October 1, 2004, Avedon died of a brain hemorrhage in San Antonio, Texas, while shooting an assignment for The New Yorker.


вторник, 17 мая 2011 г.

Natalia Paley. Too beautiful to be real

Princess Natalia Pavlovna Paley (Наталья Павловна Палей) (December 5, 1905 – December 27, 1981) was a French-born fashion icon, socialite, and film actress who was a first cousin of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II.
Countess Natalie Pavlovna de Hohenfelsen was born at her parents' estate, 2 avenue Victor Hugo (now 4 avenue Robert Schuman), in Boulogne-sur-Seine, close to Paris, France, on December 5, 1905. She was the last child of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovitch of Russia, who was the son of the late Emperor Alexander II, who had been assassinated in 1881. Natalie's mother was also an aristocrat, Olga Valerionovna Karnovitch, soon to become Countess de Hohenfelsen, a noblewoman from Hungary.
Like most other aristocratic Russians who had survived and settled in France, Natalie went looking for a job. She found one when she went to Lucien Lelong's fashion house, 16 avenue Matignon, near the Champs Elysees, where she was signed as a model.
With her aristocratic background and her sparkling beauty, Natalie was an invaluable windfall for Lelong's business. For Natalie, this man's position was synonymous with power, money and security. As Natalie warmed to the thought of marriage, her family and friends saw their union as a misalliance. Despite this, the couple contracted a civil marriage on August 9, 1927.
Though they shared the same infatuation for the arts and fashion, too many things separated the newlyweds to bring them true happiness. Too involved with his work, and in love with one of his famous models who was doomed to die of tuberculosis, Lelong never grew to understand his wife's languor, or her frequent outbursts of temper when she was out of the limelight.
With her husband's affection going to another woman, Natalie searched for consolation. Spending the summer of 1930 in Venice, she embarked on an affair with charismatic dancer Serge Lifar, whose talent was applauded around the world. A former lover of ballet master Serge de Diaghileff, he was the ideal companion for Natalie.
Their relationship lasted almost two incredible years, until Natalie met another man whose sensibilty and creativity could match Lifar's talent. Again, her choice was strange.
Legendary writer Jean Cocteau was conspicuously homosexual, and a genius whose life reflected his art. Yet his addiction to opium had begun to ravage him. Sadly, he would share his affliction with Natalie who, along with actor Jean Marais, would be among the most important liasons of his life, as she was the only woman he ever wanted to marry, though they never had any sexual relations.
Natalie  left Cocteau in the fall of 1932.
 She became a movie actress and took parts in several European movies, including Sir Alexander Korda's The Private Life of Don Juan (1934) and Marcel L'Herbier's L'epervier (1933). She eventually moved to the United States, and acted in George Cukor's Sylvia Scarlett (1935), where she began a close friendship with the film's main star, Katharine Hepburn, which would last through her life.
 Her Hollywood film career was over almost as soon as it had started.
Shortly after her divorce from Lelong on May 24, 1937, she made the official statement to the press that she would marry a theatrical producer, John Chapman Wilson, the following September.
Wilson knew that his beautiful and popular wife could open many doors for his business as a Broadway producer. Natalie, for her part, liked her husband's humor, and his homosexuality suited her distaste for physical love. Once again, she was searching for a friend, and nothing more.
Since Wilson was a heavy drinker, whose habit gradually was spiralling out of control, most of their friends had deserted them by the late 1950s. Toward the end, his mental imbalance manifested itself in his bedroom decor, a nightmare of black furniture, black walls, black curtains, and even black sheets. Natalie tried to do what she could to help him, but he was self-destructive and she could do nothing more. Confined to a wheelchair, often violent, and in a state of increasing dementia, he was a shadow of his former self when he died in November 1961, at age 62.
So many of her friends, the witnesses of her former splendor, were now dead.
Jean Cocteau, Erich Maria Remarque, Coco Chanel, Noel Coward, Lucien Lelong, and so many others, had departed. Now, she was condemned to loneliness. After 1975, she shut herself off from the world and became a recluse. She even refused to see her few remaining friends and family, though she took their phone calls, but when she became blind, she was grateful to find a few admirers who took care of her until the end. In 1978, she was deeply moved when dancer Serge Lifar sent her a short letter, using a Pushkin quotation:
"We shall never forget our first love. The heart of Russia won't forget you. And you, my heart will never forget you."
On December 21, 1981, she had fallen in her bath and had broken her femur when she was rushed to the Roosevelt Hospital emergency unit. After surgery had failed and her condition had worsened, she whispered to her doctor and nurses, "I want to die in dignity."
She was 76 when she passed away on December 27
" If her film career was brief, and her talent unspectacular, Natalie Paley was, on the other hand, the answer to a Hollywood publicist's dream. She was a fascinating creature from a wealthy and famous family, the quintessence of French chic, and almost too beautiful to be real. Her romantic and tragic life was one that no mere fiction could have equalled. From Czarist Russia, to 1930s Parisian high society, and then on to the elite circles of Hollywood and New York City, her life blossomed, then faded. In the end, all that remained was a sad and lonely woman who had graced her century as a rare, but wasted, flower. "

воскресенье, 15 мая 2011 г.

"La Divine Comtesse"- Countess de Castiglione

Considered the most beautiful woman of her time, the Countess de Castiglione was a special agent for the cause of Italian unification, the mistress of Napoleon III, and a mysterious recluse notorious for her numerous love affairs.
She collaborated with photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson to chronicle her natural beauty, extravagant couture, public appearances, and private fantasies.

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione (22 March 1837 – 28 November 1899), better known as La Castiglione, was an Italian courtesan who achieved notoriety as a mistress of Emperor Napoleon III of France. She was also a significant figure in the early history of photography.

In 1856 she began sitting for Mayer and Pierson, photographers favored by the imperial court. Over the next four decades she directed Pierre-Louis Pierson to help her create 700 different photographs in which she re-created the signature moments of her life for the camera. She spent a large part of her personal fortune and even went into debt to execute this project.

She was the original "it" girl, a Florentine who became the toast of Parisian society at the tender age of 19.
Seduce she did. Fluent in several languages including an unaccented English, the Countess' combination of youth, beauty and brains made her the most talked-about woman in Paris salons -- not least because she became mistress to Napoleon within weeks of her arrival.
By late 1879 Countess Castiglione was a recluse. She would not relinquish the past. She only went out at night. She had known glorious triumphs and insufferable scandals and tragedy. (Her only child, Giorgio, who had sat for many portraits, died of smallpox). For many years she had been under the care of a renowned psychiatrist, and despite her many physical and mental ailments she continued to produce portraits throughout the 1890's.
The hair was thin and the teeth were gone, only the costuming was the same. The confident gaze is replaced by a deep sadness.

суббота, 14 мая 2011 г.

Giovanni Boldini . Marchesa Casati

" I want to be a living work of art" -Marchesa Luisa Casati

Luisa, Marquise Casati Stampa di Soncino (23 January 1881 – 1 June 1957) was an eccentric Italian heiress, muse, and patroness of the arts in early 20th century Europe.
A celebrity and femme fatale, the marchesa's famous eccentricities dominated and delighted European society for nearly three decades.
The beautiful and extravagant hostess to the Ballets Russes was something of a legend among her contemporaries.
She astonished society by parading with a pair of leashed cheetahs and wearing live snakes as jewellery.
She captivated artists and literary figures such as Robert de Montesquiou, Romain de Tirtoff (Erté), Jean Cocteau, and Cecil Beaton.
She had a long term affair with the author Gabriele d'Annunzio.
In 1910 Casati took up residence at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on Grand Canal in Venice (now the home of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection).
Her soirées there would become legendary.
Casati collected a menagerie of exotic animals, and patronized fashion designers such as Fortuny and Poiret.
By 1930, Casati had amassed a personal debt of $25 million. Unable to satisfy her creditors, her personal possessions were auctioned off. Rumour has it that among the bidders was Coco Chanel.
Casati fled to London, where she lived in comparative poverty.
She died at her last residence, 32 Beaufort Gardens in Knightsbridge, on 1 June 1957, aged 76.

The Muse. Marchesa Luisa Casati

пятница, 13 мая 2011 г.

The Muse. Kiki de Montparnasse

Kiki de Montparnasse
Alice Ernestine Prin (2 October 1901 – 29 April 1953), nicknamed Queen of Montparnasse, and often known as Kiki de Montparnasse, was a French artist model, nightclub singer, actress, memoirist, and painter. She flourished in, and helped define, the liberated, early 1920s culture of Paris.
An illegitimate child, she was raised in abject poverty by her grandmother. By the age of fourteen, she was posing nude for sculptors, which created discord with her mother.
Adopting a single name, "Kiki", she became a fixture in the Montparnasse social scene and a popular artist model, posing for dozens of artists, including Chaim Soutine, "Julian Mandel" (a pseudonym), Tsuguharu Foujita, Francis Picabia, Jean Cocteau, Arno Breker, Alexander Calder, Per Krohg, Hermine David, Pablo Gargallo, Mayo, and Tono Salazar. Moise Kisling painted a portrait of Kiki titled Nu assis, one of his best known. Her companion for most of the 1920s was Man Ray, who made hundreds of portraits of her. She is the subject of some of his best-known images, including the notable surrealist image Le violon d'Ingres and Noire et blanche. She appeared in nine short and often experimental films, including Fernand Léger's Ballet mécanique without any credit.
A symbol of bohemian and creative Paris, at age of twenty-eight she was declared the Queen of Montparnasse.
Prin died in 1953 in Sanary-sur-Mer, France at the age of fifty-one, apparently of complications of alcoholism or drug dependence. A large crowd of artists and fans attended her Paris funeral and followed the procession to her interment in the Cimetière du Montparnasse. Her tomb identifies her as "Kiki, 1901–1953, singer, actress, painter, Queen of Montparnasse." Tsuguharu Foujita has said that, with Kiki, the glorious days of Montparnasse were buried forever.

среда, 11 мая 2011 г.

Yves Saint Laurent - part 6

Yves Saint Laurent - part 5

Yves Saint Laurent - part 4

Yves Saint Laurent - part 3

Yves Saint Laurent - part 2

Yves Saint Laurent - part 1

L' AMOUR FOU trailer HD