BURTON WRITES OF TAYLOR

fashion archives
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Taylor and Burton pose on set of The Sandpiper, 1965.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were once Hollywood’s most famous power couple. Twice married and twice divorced, their romance was heavily documented over the years.

In 1965, Burton wrote an ode to his then-wife, printed for Vogue Magazine entitled ‘Burton Writes of Taylor’. The publishers decided that it was such an excellent piece of writing that it should be released in book form. Published in 1966, this was to be the second book which Richard Burton would have released in his lifetime. A slim volume of twenty-four pages tilted ‘Meeting Mrs. Jenkins’, Jenkins being his family surname. It is considered Richard Burton at his creative best with Taylor serving as his creative muse.

Photographer William Klein took the images of Elizabeth Taylor on the Paris film set of their latest Burton-Taylor movie The Sandpiper. Below is an extract, a rare intimacy into Burton’s picture of their relationship:

“…a girl sitting on the other side of the pool lowered her book, took off her sunglasses and looked at me. She was so extraordinarily beautiful that I nearly laughed out loud…I smiled at her and, after a long moment, just as I felt my own smile turning into a cross-eyed grimace, she started slightly and smiled back. There was little friendliness in the smile…She sipped some beer and went back to her book…She spoke to no one…Was she merely sullen, I wondered? I thought not. There was no trace of sulkiness in the divine face. She was a Mona Lisa type, I thought…and she is famine, fire, destruction, and plague, she is the dark Lady of the Sonnets, the only true begetter…

“Her breasts were apocalyptic, they would topple empires down before they withered. Indeed, her body was a miracle of construction and the work of an engineer of genius. I needed nothing except itself. It was true art.”

“Those huge violet-blue eyes (the biggest I’ve ever seen) had an odd glint in them. You couldn’t describe it as a twinkle….Search lights cannot twinkle, they turn on and off and probe the heavens and so on.”  

(All Photos by William Klein, 1965.)

 

Vogue’s Endangered Animal’s

fashion archives, Shrimpton Couture, Vogue Magazine

Diana Vreeland Memo

While editor-in-chief at Vogue Magazine, Diana Vreeland was an avid typist and writer as a form of communication with her staff and collaborators. The book Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years, chronicles the editor’s work at this magazine from 1962 to 1971. This one memo from 1969 regards a list of animals said to be endangered at the time. It led me on a search to find images from the editorial pages of Vogue Magazine, both past and present, real and fake.

Diana Vreeland Memo, 1969.

Diana Vreeland Memo, 1969.

(L) Model Apollonia van Ravenstein in Seychelles. Styled by Grace Coddington. Photographed by Norman Parkinson for Vogue UK, 1971. (R) Supermodel Elle Macpherson with a toy polar bear. Photographed by Mario Testino for October Vogue US, October, 2004.

(L) Model Apollonia van Ravenstein in Seychelles. Styled by Grace Coddington. Photographed by Norman Parkinson for Vogue UK, 1971. (R) Supermodel Elle Macpherson with a toy polar bear. Photographed by Mario Testino for October Vogue US, October, 2004.

A model in a black crepe dress and large feather hat by Lilly Dache dines with a cheetah. Photographed by Leombruno-Bodi in Vogue, November 1, 1960.

A model in a black crepe dress and large feather hat by Lilly Dache dines with a cheetah. Photographed by Leombruno-Bodi in Vogue, November 1, 1960.

(L) Model Veruschka with a cheetah. Photographed by William Klein for Vogue July 1, 1967. (R) Apollonia in the Seychelles by Norman Parkinson, Vogue UK, December 1971

(L) Model Veruschka with a cheetah. Photographed by William Klein for Vogue July 1, 1967. (R) Apollonia in the Seychelles by Norman Parkinson, Vogue UK, December 1971

Model Veruschka with a cheetah. Photographed by William Klein for Vogue July 1, 1967.

Model Veruschka with a cheetah. Photographed by William Klein for Vogue July 1, 1967.

(L) Model Liu Wen wearing a Valentino gown and Manolo Blahnik shoes. Stylist: Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Hair: Oribe, Make-Up: Serge Hodonou, Manicure: Emi Kudo. Photographed by Mario Testino for the 10th anniversary Vogue China, December 2013. (R) Karen Elson with a crocodile in a Tim Burton themed editorial Tales of the Unexpected. Photographed by Tim Walker for Vogue UK, December 2008.

(L) Model Liu Wen wearing a Valentino gown and Manolo Blahnik shoes. Stylist: Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Hair: Oribe, Make-Up: Serge Hodonou, Manicure: Emi Kudo. Photographed by Mario Testino for the 10th anniversary Vogue China, December 2013. (R) Karen Elson with a crocodile in a Tim Burton themed editorial Tales of the Unexpected. Photographed by Tim Walker for Vogue UK, December 2008.

Model Karlie Kloss is posed with a tiger as part of a larger editorial. Styled by Camilla Nickerson. Photographed by Steven Klein for Vogue US, March 2013.

Model Karlie Kloss is posed with a tiger as part of a larger editorial. Styled by Camilla Nickerson. Photographed by Steven Klein for Vogue US, March 2013.

First in the USSR

fashion archives, Shrimpton Couture, Vogue Magazine

VOGUE UK, January 1976

Norman Parkinson (1913-1990) was one of the great British fashion and portrait photographers of the 20th century. He brought fashion into the streets and unique locations all over the world. He helped raise the fame of models such as Celia Hammond, Grace Coddington and Jerry Hall. Hall first worked with him in 1975, when she modeled evening gowns in Versailles. It was later that year that she and Parkinson would reunite for a British Vogue editorial under the helm of editor-in-chief Beatrix Miller. It is this shoot we look at for today’s piece.

It was 1975. The location is the former Soviet Union, then a verboten Communist territory behind the Iron Curtain. The head team consisted of photographer Norman Parkinson, 18-year-old model Jerry Hall, longstanding collaborator, Grace Coddington, cosmetics artist Germaine Monteil and Parkinson’s wife Wenda, a former model herself who was writing a feature for Vogue.

Russian engineer's helmet. Crepe de chine jump-suit, Sheridan Barnett, about £36, at Quorum. Make-up by Germaine Monteil. Scent, Bakir.

Russian engineer’s helmet. Crepe de chine jump-suit, Sheridan Barnett, about £36, at Quorum. Make-up by Germaine Monteil. Scent, Bakir.

In a recent interview for the Financial Times Magazine, Jerry Hall reflected on the shoot and the extent they would go to in order to get the shot… “He was always saying, “Climb up on that thing!” I went up on oilrigs waving giant flags, stood on a plinth in a red swimsuit in the Red Sea. He had me on a horse, bareback, in a blue dress, and the horse took off and threw me into a barbed-wire fence. I broke my tailbone and he came up and said, “You all right?” and I said, “I think so”, blood everywhere. And he said, “I thought you said you were from Texas!” He made me get right back on another horse and do the picture. The next day I was in agony, tears were rolling down my face and he was, like, “Come on, stop making such a fuss.” Eventually he did take me to the doctor, but he wasn’t very sympathetic at all. But he had the most profound effect on my modelling career and my life, as far as photographs went. His photos sort of launched me into becoming a big model in England and in America, and I met my fiancé Bryan Ferry because of those photos.”

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Jerry Hall posing on a styrofoam plinth in Russia. She is wearing a red swimsuit by Martil and heeled sandals by Manolo Blahnik.

Jerry Hall posing on a styrofoam plinth in Russia. She is wearing a red swimsuit by Martil and heeled sandals by Manolo Blahnik.

Previously, fashion magazines didn’t go to the Soviet Union at that point. Norman Parkinson along with his team was one of the first photographers to be welcomed to the former USSR during the 1970′s. As Jerry Hall continues,

This was in the mid-1970s and we had to travel around with tourist guides and they were taking our film. Parks was worried they might not develop the film right, so he asked me to stuff some down my pants, which I did – I was very young. Anyway, we got the film back and then he said to me afterwards, ‘Actually, the Russians developed the film even better than we did over here and we needn’t have bothered.’ ”

P.S. There is a 2013 BBC4 documentary ‘ARENA, AKA: Norman Parkinson’ worth checking out. Interviews with Hall, Coddington and Carmen Dell’Orefice to name a few. There was also a recent exhibition at MAMM (the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow) called ‘Russia in Vogue’. It was dedicated to Vogue Russia’s 15th Anniversary and featured images from the editorial and candid behind the scenes snaps (as shown above).

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Behind the scenes on the 1975 shoot in Russia. (R) Three generations of Vogue models; Wenda Parkinson, Jerry Hall and Grace Coddington.

Behind the scenes on the 1975 shoot in Russia. (R) Three generations of Vogue models; Wenda Parkinson, Jerry Hall and Grace Coddington.

THE YOUNG IDEA

Shrimpton Couture, Vogue Magazine

VOGUE US 1962

David Bailey. Jean Shrimpton

British photographer David Bailey (1938) and supermodel Jean Shrimpton (1942) are considered pioneers in the fashion industry. They were part of Swinging London, a new era of youth culture domination. Together, they paired to create endless iconic images that would stand the test of time.

Today we look at a photo editorial from British Vogue that captured this movement. A shoot that has been dramatized in a 2011 BBC film, We’ll Take Manhattan.

It was 1962. Involved was a 24-year-old unknown photographer David Bailey and 19-year-old local model Jean Shrimpton. Bailey was married to his first wife Rosemary Bramble when he met Shrimpton while modelling for Duffy. Bailey quickly took a shine to the model, starting a four-year relationship that would last until 1964.

British Vogue fashion editor Lady Clare Rendlesham reluctantly sent Bailey and Shrimpton to New York City for a new feature for Vogue, titled ‘The Young Idea’. The magazine had recently started a youth section, using less sophisticated clothes and younger models, photographed in a more modern style. Photographers were beginning to use a Rolleiflex camera and 35mm film to get movement and spontaneity into their pictures. Lady Rendlesham was used to her 1950’s aristocratic models captured with stern poses in grandeur locations and controlled studio spaces. Bailey, on the other hand was determined to take fashion photography in a new direction.

The two set off for Manhattan with no hair or makeup artist, and were instructed to shoot mid-priced British clothing manufacturers like Jaeger and Susan Small against the cityscape. All Jean took on the plane was a plastic bag as her luggage.

Staying at the St Regis Hotel, the couple watched Ella Fitzgerald perform, encounter Salvador Dali in a lift, and eat hamburgers every night at their favorite diner. For the shoot, Shrimpton wandered the honky-tonk streets of Manhattan in a trench coat, trailing a sad-looking teddy bear, leaning against parking signs, ranging uptown to Harlem and downtown to the impoverished Lower East Side. “It was February and Bailey photographed me in a Jaeger camel spring outfit with an apple-green blouse and suit standing on the dizzy heights of Brooklyn Bridge. I thought I would freeze. I was crying with the cold,” wrote Shrimpton.

The resulting images were offbeat, realistic poses shot against the grittier side of Manhattan. Together they morphed raw street photography with fashion; a far departure of what Lady Rendlesham was accustomed to. It was the dawning of a movement Vogue editor Diana Vreeland would later label ‘The Youthquake’.

Of Jean Shrimpton, Bailey said: “She was magic and the camera loved her too. In a way she was the cheapest model in the world – you only needed to shoot half a roll of film and then you had it.” On their break up he went on to say, “Losing Jean… it was like losing my camera.”

Upon their return to London, Vogue loved the pictures in what would change the industry forever. As Shrimpton wrote in her autobiography, “The trip was wonderful. We both knew we had it made.”

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Blacked-out Beauty

fashion archives, Vogue Magazine

VOGUE PARIS DECEMBER 1969/JANUARY 1970

Louise Despointes & Suzanne by Guy Bourdin. Make-up by Serge Lutens.

Celebrated fashion photographer Guy Bourdin (1928-1991), was best known for his editorial work for Vogue Magazine and advertisements for shoe designer, Charles Jourdan.  By the 1970s, Bourdin was principle photographer at French Vogue and given complete artistic control.

Bourdin had a reputation to subject his models to elaborate, and at times, dangerous situations. Today we’re looking at a behind the scenes look at an editorial for Vogue Paris.

It was 1969. Involved was a 20-year-old French model named Louise Despointes and Suzanne (surname unknown). Despointes had worked with Bourdin before, however this shoot was to be her most memorable. For this Christmas edition, Bourdin wanted to cover the two models in tiny black pearls. He had his make-up artist, Serge Lutens, cover the models with a thin layer of glue and attach numerous pearls. According to Despointes, “Then Guy decided that he wanted to do the whole body with those pearls. But he did not know if the whole body is glued it can’t breath. And we blacked out.” The layer of glue had interfered with the skin’s ability to regulate temperature and exchange oxygen. While the assistants hurriedly removed the pearls and the glue, Bourdin is reported to have said “Oh, it would be beautiful – to have them dead in bed!”

Below are extracts, translated from the magazine:

It took the makeup -creator Serge Lutens successively ten hours the first time, eight hours and a whole night on the following days (for the cover). 120 tubes of glue, 50 kg of beads, and proverbial patience, to Louise and Suzanne, entire fingers become precious ice, stars, and crystal on night background.

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Cover of the January edition of Vogue Paris, 1970

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Guy Bourdin: Vogue, Paris - January 1970

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“I am black, but I am beautiful… A sparkle in each ear; clips Cartier black tortoiseshell helmeted a leopard Gold set with precious stones and diamonds.”

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“As natural as dew… Droplets of “Le De Givenchy” perfume the plants. The fragrance has a cool and delicate scent of rose and jasmine sandalwood.”