Shameless Escape Australia


Today’s curate comes an extract from the book, The Faces of Fashion: Vogue Model. First published in 2010, it is written by Vogue’s creative director Robin Derrick and former Vogue picture editor Robin Muir. The contents cover some of the most prominent models who graced the pages from the 50’s all the way to the 90’s. One featured model is Marie Helvin (1952-). Of Japanese and American descent, Helvin was brought up in Honolulu and briefly Toyko where, at 15, she was given a cosmetics contract.

The exotic looking model was a staple of the color-saturated locations much favored by 1970s Vogue and David Bailey. Today we look at one of these editorials and hear a little insight from Helvin herself.


It was 1974. Helvin and Bailey took off for Australia, in the state of Queensland. Locations included the beaches of Dunk Island, Cairns, Port Douglas, Double Island and, on a boat to Upolo Cay. Perched on the edge of a volcano crater, oblivious to the looming approach of an inflatable turtle – Helvin’s selfless collaborations gave Vogue glimpses of the world that it might not have experienced had another model been selected. She was also the girlfriend of the photographer, which helped the process greatly.


This same trip to Australia had also taken in Tahiti, where Helvin was required to sport a blonde wig and lime-green tights. ‘I felt a fool,’ she said. ‘It was my first trip abroad for British Vogue. I was expecting luxury and first-class hotels all the way. When I arrived in Queensland, I discovered Bailey and I were to be sharing a tiny bedsit with the fashion editor and travel writer. Bailey and I ended up sleeping in the kitchen.’ Perhaps the enforced proximity worked, for six months later Bailey and Helvin were married.

P.S. While it is little surprise that suntan lotion brands were listed, so too was sun protection. I must say I was quite impressed for a 1974 publication. Also, I will be posting the Tahiti shoot mentioned above in a future write up…so we can soak them in one at a time.

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