Once my Republican parents came to terms with my Jackie Kennedy (a Democrat) paper dolls (clipped from magazines and newspapers) new trouble appeared on the horizon - I discovered Vogue. Young boys should be more interested in sports, golf in my Father's case, than images of society beauties wearing Givenchy, Balenciaga, Mainbocher and living in grand rooms decorated by Mongardino, Jansen and Billy Baldwin.
So began my life long fascination with imagery created by famous artists of the “it girls” of my youth. These ladies set out to create a picture-perfect world where everything was the ultimate in style and ease and of course, most of them wanted their accomplishments recorded. I hate to say it but much like the Kardashians and the Housewives of Beverly Hills, their lives were (and some still are) lived in the glare of the media, albeit a much more respectful one.
Here are my favorite portraits of my favorite girls.
1. Erwin Blumenfeld photograph, 1946. 2. Kenneth Paul Block drawing, 1960s. Babe is wearing Mainbocher, and her daughter Amanda Burden is wearing Sarmi. 3. Kenneth Paul Block drawing, 1960s. 4. Richard Avedon photograph, 1960s.
C. Z. Guest
1. Irving Penn photograph for Vogue, 1954. C.Z is wearing Mainbocher. 2. Salvador Dali painting 1958, sold at Sotheby's London, June 2011 for $684,891.00 presumably by her daughter Cornelia Guest. 3. Rene Bouche drawing, 1967. 4. Cecil Beaton photograph, 1953.
1. Cecil Beaton photograph, 1970. 2. Alejo Vidal-Quadras painting, 1959. 3. Kenneth Paul Block drawing for WWD, 1962. Gloria is wearing Dior. 4. Henry Clarke photograph, 1960s.
1. Aaron Shikler painting, 1982. Gloria is wearing a Fortuny gown from her personal collection. 2. Francesco Scavullo photograph, 1969. 3. Richard Avedon photograph, 1969. Gloria is wearing Bill Blass. 4. Rene Bouche drawing for Vogue, 1960s.
1. Andy Warhol painting 1984, created by Warhol to raise money for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia with the consent of the Princess Grace Foundation. 2. Ralph Waldo Cowan painting 1959, H.S.H Prince Ranier commissioned this portrait as a Christmas gift for H.S.H. Princess Grace their first year of marriage. This painting hangs in the Hall of Mirrors at The Prince's Palace of Monaco. 3. Irving Penn photograph, 1954.
1. Aaron Shikler 1970, the official White House portrait of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. When Shinkler invited Jackie to see the finished portrait, she took one look and said, "Why does the color look like old ladies' underwear?" 2. Andy Warhol painting 1964, Jackie did not commission this painting. 3. Rene' Bouche' drawing, 1961. 4. Richard Avedon photograph, 1961. One in a series with President and Mrs. Kennedy and their children.
1. Richard Avedon photograph, 1959. Hair by Kenneth. 2. Andy Warhol painting 1972, one of twelve multiples. 3. Richard Avedon photograph 1963, Marella is wearing Balenciaga. 4. Richard Avedon photograph 1953, recently sold at Sotheby's New York for $62,500.
1. Bernard Boutet de Monvel painting 1940s, Millicent is wearing Charles James. 2. Horst photograph for Vogue, 1948. "Paris stood up and took notice when Millicent Rogers arrived. They thought she was the first real woman with any style," said Horst. 3. Louise dahl Wolfe photograph, 1948.
Mona, Countess of Bismarck
1. Cecil Beaton photograph 1955, Mona is wearing Balenciaga. 2. Salvador Dali painting 1943, Dali painted her barefoot in a tattered skirt so her legendary eyes - "the most beautiful in the world" would dominate the picture. 3. Rene Bouche drawing, 1936. 4. Cecil Beaton photograph.
Only the top artists of this period were chosen to capture in photography, drawing and painting these influential beauties for the pages of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, WWD and of course to hang over the 18th century marble mantel pieces in their exquisite numerous houses. The conversation would stop when these women entered a room and start up seconds later with a renewed energy - for everyone knew they were in the vortex of great style, beauty and power.
Today's fashion photographers, fashion designers, interior decorators, illustrators, film makers and fine artists (see our next post on artist Cindy Sherman) continue to reference this generation of women who had enormous style and creativity.
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