Polly Mellen styled the controversial Bathhouse Series & Nastassja Kinski

20 Jul

.

Avedon2002Polly Mellen by Richard Avedon, 2002

.

In a career that spanned more than half a century, Polly Mellen , today 90 years old, helped create some of the most indelible imagery in the history of fashion. Her work as a stylist and editor, first under the legendary Diana Vreeland at Harper’s Bazaar, and later under both Vreeland and Grace Mirabella at Vogue, helped define a new, more modern ethos about clothes and how women wore them.

linda-evangelista-naomi-campbell-polly-mellon-and-christy-turlington1989

 Polly Mellen with the 90s supermodels, Linda, Naomi & Christy

.

Short Biography

polly mellen

Polly Allen Mellen was born in Connecticut, in 1924. She attended Miss Porter’s School for girls,in the early ‘40s, and later work as a nurse’s aid at an Army hospital in Virginia during WWII. 

In 1949 she moved to New York and became salesgirl at Lord & Taylor and a fashion editor at Mademoiselle. Soon after she was introduced to Diana Vreeland, then a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar and joins her at the magazine, where she will meet her future longtime creative collaborator, Richard Avedon. At first he is not keen on working with Polly, he finds her “to noisy”. She also worked with Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Arthur Elgort, and, more recently, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, and Steven Klein.

Later Avedon stated: “From Vreeland’s rib came Polly Mellen,”  of the longtime Vogue fashion stylist, “from that day on, Eden never looked better” and “She was the most creative sittings editor I ever worked with.”

.

Bathhouse by Deborah Turbeville

The Bathhouse (styled by Polly) was one of Vogue’s most controversial shoots that scandalised Vogue reader to pull out of their subscribsion, relating the images to Dachau and drug addicts (Heroin Chiq avant la lettre). It took five days with each spread taking a day to shoot. The amazing location was the Asser Levy Bath House, New York
 

Bathhouse by Deborah Turbeville

Bathhouse

Bathhouse by Deborah Turbeville

Bathhouse by Deborah Turbeville

Bathhouse by Deborah Turbeville

Bathhouse by Deborah Turbeville

 

Bathhouse try out

 

pre study picture 2

 

.

Polly marries her first husband Louis Bell in 1952, moves to Philadelphia and has two children. After she and Louis divorced (1962), she meets Henry Wigglesworth Mellen, who becomes het second husband in 1965.

A year later she returns to New York to work for Diana Vreeland as a fashion editor at Vogue, and rekindles creative partnership with Avedon. There first collaboration for Vogue is a five week trip to Japan where they produce ‘The Great Fur Caravan’ ( read & see the post of last week!). When in 1971, Diane Vreeland leaves Vogue, Polly carries on under editor in chief Grace Mirabella and in 1979, she becomes fashion director of Vogue,  . .

.

Nastassja Kinski 

During an Avedon shoot with Nastassja Kinski, Polly learned that the actress  liked animals, in particular snakes, because they are “exciting when they move”. She rushed to Avedon and insisted that the team “must send out for a snake!”
 
The result is a famous photograph of a nude, outstretched Kinski wearing only an ivory Patricia von Musulin  bracelet and a live python. This statement illustrated quite literally that fashion was about more than just beautiful clothes.

 Nastassja Kinski  .   .

.In 1991 Polly joins the staff of new Condé Nast beauty magazine Allure as creative director. Two years later she receives a lifetime achievement award at age 68 from the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc.) and makes a memorable, nostalgic cameo appearance in Douglas Keeve’s fashion-industry documentary, “Unzipped.” More than ever, fans appreciated her on-air grandiosity and declarations of fashion truisms.

After a brief freelance period of two years, Polly retires from styling in 2001, 

 

GAP advertisement

At 78, Polly appears in an advertising campaign for the Gap wearing a men’s vintage T-shirt layered over a long-sleeved tee and Long & Lean jeans.
.

In addition to producing unforgettable fashion stories, Polly was also inspiring young fashion talent, mentoring at-the-time-newcomers including Vera wang, Nicolas Ghesquière (whom she spotted already when he was an intern for Jean Paul Gaultier), Isaac Mizrahi, and Phoebe Philo, as well as future hair and makeup stars François Nars and Garren. Considered eccentric by some people, she was committed to never being “over it” when it came to fashion. She became known at runway shows as the editor who, when excited  by a collection, would raise her hands high above her head and clap long and loud.

.

.

Various work by Polly Mellen

polly mellen

polly mellen

polly mellen

polly mellen

polly mellen

US Vogue 1983 Polly Mellen  Helmut Newton & Hans Feurer

polly mellen

polly mellen

polly mellen

polly mellen

polly mellen

.

.

 

Unzipped (1995)

DVD cover

Isaac Mizrahi, one of the most successful designers in high fashion, plans his fall 1994 collection. He combines inspirations such as the Hollywood Eskimo look, the Mary Tyler Moore show, and Ouija-derived advise like “dominatrix mixed with Hitchcock” into a well-received collection. A behind-the-scenes look at the creative side of fashion.

 

The best thing about UNZIPPED is it introduced me to Polly Mellen who is hilarious and brilliant.

Isaac Mizrahi.

 

 

.
.
.

Polly Mellen

 

.

.

.

.

Veruschka in perhaps the Most Epic Fashion Story

13 Jul
The Great Fur Caravan
Veruschka, Richard Avedon & Polly Mellen
.

In 1966 Vogue did something extraordinary: a team was to Japan in the middle of winter to shoot perhaps the most epic fashion story of all time. The editorial was pre- PETA and it was dedicated to the beauty of furs. 

This editorial is often credited to Diana Vreeland, who was the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief at the time, but actually the editor on this story was Polly Mellen. It was one of her first assignments for Vogue and she set about on the five-week trip to Japan with supermodel Veruschka and legendary photographer Richard Avedon.

Fifteen trunks of clothes are hauled into the snow-covered mountains. Hairstylist Ara Gallant creates a wig eight feet long for Veruschka; Vreeland’s response when she sees the wig is, “I want 20 feet!”

The Great Fur Caravan, 1966

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan. A Fashion Adventure Starring the Girl in the Fabulous Furs Photographed for Vogue in the Strange Secret Snow Country of Japan…” took up a whopping 26 pages in the October 1966 issue. The Girl character was first introduced in the January 1963 issue as an idealized version of Diane Vreeland, sort of a dreamer, an adventurer. In Japan, the Girl takes a first class train to the middle of nowhere, where she explores the glorious snow mountains in her “fabulous” furs, and eventually falls in love with a gentle Japanese giant. It’s not like the story needed to make a lot of sense. It was dreamy and fantastical, and the type of travel story that Vreeland liked to entertain Vogue readers with. “The eye has to travel,” she famously said. Years later, Avedon remarked, “it’s without content. It’s without any meaning in it. It’s just this exquisite creature. Diana imagined her walking through the snows of Japan.”

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

The Great Fur Caravan

 

The story is rumoured to have cost $1 million dollars back in the day — that would be equal to $7 million today. But that’s how legends are made.

 .

.

 

Pat McGrath, “The most influential make-up artist in the world”

6 Jul
pat-mcgrath-steven-meiselPat McGrath, ph Steven Meisel



Short Biography

Pat McGrath is born in 1970. She was raised by her mother, Jean McGrath, a Jamaican immigrant, in Northampton. Pat didn’t have a formal training as a make-up artist, but she did become one of the most influential ones in the fashion industry.

Pat says her mother, who was a keen follower of fashion, is the one who stimulated her creativity.The two made a habit of studying classic Hollywood films, which Pat cites as a key to her ultimate success . Jean would quiz her daughter on different shades of eye shadow.  “She trained me, basically, to do the shows, right there… look at the pattern, check the fabrics, look for the make-up – and begin.”   “She was always mixing up colours because there wasn’t anything out there for black skin.”

She has described her upbringing as “very religious, very conservative” and has spoken of her teenage fascination with the Blitz Kids – Boy George, Marilyn, Spandau Ballet – all of whom were famed for their outré make-up and whom she used to follow around the King’s Road. “We thought we were New Romantics, we’d get changed on the train and try to get into all those clubs,” she told the Guardian in 2008.

 

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

After leaving school, Pat completed an art foundation course at Northampton College. She had planned to undertake a fashion degree but abandoned this when she met the stylist Kim Bowen, who invited her along to watch her work on shoots for The Face and i-D. Her big break came when she received a phone call asking her to go on tour in Japan with Caron Wheeler from Soul II Soul, whose make-up she had done one afternoon three years previously as a favour for a friend. “I left my job and went to Japan for three months, scared to death. I cried all the way there because I’d never been on a plane before and I was terrified.”  This opportunity led to McGrath working with i-D magazine’s fashion director Edward Enninful and subsequently, being named beauty director for the title – a position which she holds to this day.

The drama of Pat’s work is a reflection of her larger-than-life personality. She can create fantasy at the drop of a hat and is known for arriving backstage armed with at least 20 cases of ammunition, from standard-issue mascara to sequins, doilies, and art books.

Additionally, she designed Armani’s cosmetics line in 1999 and in 2004, and in 2009 for Dolce & Gabbana, was named global creative-design director for Procter and Gamble, where she is in charge of Max Factor and Cover Girl cosmetics, among other brands.

In the 2013 Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year Honors List,Pat McGrath was “named an MBE, or Member of the Order of the British Empire, for services to the fashion and beauty industry.”

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

 

“Everything goes into fashion, it isn’t just makeup. . . . It’s film, TV, history of art, books, clubs. The culture.”

 

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

..

.

.

.

Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth Salander

Pat McGrath also designed the makeup for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”,Lisbeth Salander, one of my favorite movie characters and transition: to make the porcelain-faced Rooney Mara into a stone-cold punk computer hacker, her eyebrows were bleached and her hair dyed black. It made her become this dark, androgynous, and mysterious loner.

rooney-maraRooney Mara

Keeping the look minimal, as a real tomboy would, Pat focused mainly on shaping the eyes with smoky shadow and bare skin (“There was no foundation. I wanted her skin to be translucent and for it to change color in the cold. In fact, the most beautiful scene is when she was actually very cold.”) The trick was to take black and brown eye colors and add a tiny drop of red—that created a look that was vulnerable but hard and strong.

rooney-mara-the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-06

rooney-mara-transformation-for-her-role-lisbeth-salander-in-the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-b5245

Rooney-Mara-in-The-Girl-With-the-Dragon-Tattoo-4

.

.

.

 

Pat McGrath & Anna PiaggiPat McGrath & Anna Piaggi 

 

 

info: Vogue UK & Voguepedia

Paloma Picasso, the seventies IT girl inspired YSL “Scandal Collection”

29 Jun

 

Paloma Picasso

 

Paloma Picasso (born Anne Paloma Ruiz-Picasso y Gilot in Paris on 19 April 1949)  is the youngest daughter of Pablo Picasso and painter and writer Françoise Gilot. Paloma’s older brother is Claude Picasso (born 1947). .

‘My parents always taught me that I have to be my own person. At the same time when you have such parents and such a name you don’t want people to associate the two. When I got to be 14 or 15 it started making me feel very nervous. For a number of years I wouldn’t touch a pencil for anything other than writing, I was so afraid I might become an artist.’

.

Childhood photographs Paloma Picasso & Family


Françoise Gilot with picasso & nephew javier vilato on the beach at golfe-juan, france 1948Françoise Gilot & Pablo Picasso

Picasso i Francoise Gilot, ph Robert DoisneauFrançoise Gilot & Pablo Picasso, ph.Robert Doisneau

image-7-picasso-with-paloma-b-1949-in-arms-claude-b-1947-photo-1951Paloma, Pablo & Claude Picasso

PicassoPhoto1953Claude, Pablo, Fran;coise & Paloma, 1953

1956Paloma, Claude & Pablo, 1956

Pablo & Paloma PicassoPablo & Paloma Picasso
PalomaPicassoPaloma Picasso

paloma and claude (2)Paloma Picasso

Claude, Pablo & Paloma PicassoClaude, Pablo & Paloma Picasso
Pablo Picasso with his daughter Paloma, 1960sPablo Picasso with his daughter Paloma, 1960s


The Young Picasso’s (Paloma & Claude) by Richard Avedon, 1966

january 1966 avedon

avedon 1966

richard avedon


And then she became the IT girl…

Paloma Picasso had never had the luxury of escaping notice. Carrying the name of one of the most celebrated artists of the twentieth century was no small burden for a young girl coming of age. “I was very shy and having the name meant that I could never just go and be myself,” she once said. “I decided to start dressing up in a way to shift the attention from the person I was to what I was wearing. It became like a shield.”

Paloma Sphynx—her mother’s nickname for her—became the coolly confident IT girl who held her own at the center of the French art, theater, and fashion worlds. “Her dresses were copied, choices followed, appearance imitated”. Among her most ardent admirers were Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. (That she managed to straddle the divide between the warring superstars was a coup of considerable grace in and of itself—but, after all, Paloma was named after the dove her father drew for the 1949 World Peace Conference.) On her wedding day, she wore Saint Laurent’s white Spencer jacket, ruffled red silk blouse, and red gauntlet gloves. For the candlelit banquet that followed at Lagerfeld’s eighteenth-century salon, she slipped into his heart-shaped dress of scarlet satin; later, revelers headed to Le Palace to watch female wrestlers tussle to the strains of Carmen in a ring decorated like a giant wedding cake. Filled with glee and goodwill,Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent forgot their feud and danced the flamenco together.

 

Paloma PicassoPaloma in her vintage 40s style
paloma picasso , xavier de castelle at le privilege 1983 Roxanne lowitPaloma Picasso & Xavier de Castelle at Le Privilege, 1983  ph.Roxanne lowit

Paloma & Husband Rafael Lopez-Sanchez 
Paloma Picasso, in YSL, and Rafael Lopez-Sanchez wed in 1978

Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma & husbandKarl Lagerfeld, Paloma & husband Rafael Lopez-Sanchez 

Paloma & RaphaelPaloma & Rafael
Paloma Picasso wearing a dress by Karl Lagerfeld.Paloma wearing Karl Lagerfeld

Paloma

Paloma & YvesPaloma Picasso & Yves Saint Laurent

Jean-Paul-Goude-Andy-Warhol-+-Paloma-Picasso-500x610Paloma Picasso & Andy Warhol, ph. Jean Paul Goude

Helmut Newton.Paloma Picasso, ph. Helmut Newton

r-PALOMA-PICASSO-1980S-large-500x500Paloma wearing YSL & her own jewelry

.

Beyond her status as a seventies fashion fascination, Picasso became an accomplished designer of jewelry and accessories. She began by creating costumes for avant-garde theatrical productions, stringing necklaces with rhinestones plucked from Folies Bergère bikinis. Soon, her sculpted wings and shooting stars—and other bijoux hand-soldered in her Paris loft—were being commissioned by Yves Saint Laurent as house exclusives.

.

.

The Scandal Collection

 

Yves was very inspired by Paloma Picasso, who liked to dress from flea markets. In the 1970s young Parisian’s were reviving the fashions worn by their mothers, wearing turbans and picking up forties clothes in flea markets. Seventies Chic. At the time, people weren’t at all used to seeing vintage. 

Yves always cited “the fashion on the street” as his greatest influence; he was quick to tune in to the trends of the time and give them an aristocratic allure. “From the end of the war through the ’60s, not much changed in the world of high fashion,” said Serge Carrera (an employee of YSL) in France magazine, “then with one collection, Yves Saint Laurent upended everything and made fashion fresh by borrowing elements from the past and mixing turbans with prints. All of a sudden, fashion moved toward the realm of spectacle.”

YSL, Scandal Collection

Yves Saint Laurent, Scandal Collection

YSL
.

But  a couturier was supposed to invent something new and for the French, these silhouettes evoke the Occupation as well as the gay camp aesthetic of Warhol’s drag queens and the gay liberation movement. The press was outraged. Yves openly dismissed the critics as “narrow-minded and reactionary, petty people paralysed by taboos” and denigrated couture as “a museum” that was “bogged down in a boring tradition of so-called good taste and refinement.”

1971 YSL

1971 YSL

1971 YSL

YSL

YSL

yves-saint-laurent-petit-palais-exhibition-paris

YSL

.

/

Paloma Picasso ph Mario Sorrenti  Vogue Paris Mars 2009

 

Paloma Picasso, ph.Mario Sorrenti Vogue Paris Mars 2009

 

Roxanne Lowit, the first Backstage Photographer & her new Book about Yves Saint Laurent

22 Jun

Roxanne Lowit

Introduction

Roxanne Lowit did not go to school to be a photographer. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a degree in art history and textile design. It was during her successful career as a textile designer that she realized something. “I paint and there were people who I wanted to sit for me but had no time, so I started taking pictures of them. I liked the gratification of getting the instant image so I traded in my paintbrushes for a camera.” 

Roxanne started making pictures in the late 70s with her 110 Instamatic, photographing her own designs at the New York fashion shows. Before long she was covering all the designers in Paris where her friends – models like Jerry Hall – would sneak her backstage. It was there that she found her place (and career) in fashion. “For me, that’s where it was happening,” she says. “No one thought there was anything going on backstage, so for years I was alone and loved it. I guess I made it look too good because now it’s so crowded with photographers. But there’s enough room for everybody.”

One of her earliest ‘memorable moments’ was that first time she went to Paris to cover the shows. Roxanne magically ended up on the top of the Eifel Tower with Yves Saint Laurent, Pat Cleveland and Andy Warhol. She felt star struck and blissed out. That could have been the moment she said to herself  ‘I want to do this all the time!’  And decided to make it her career, her metier.

In december 2009, Roxanne Lowit published the amazing ‘Backstage Dior’, a collection of photographs taken over ten years backstage the Dior runway and haute couture shows, all during the reign of John Galliano 

 

Backstage Dior

book cover

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

Backstage-Dior-Roxanne-Lowit3

Backstage Dior

Backstage-Dior-Roxanne-Lowit

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

Backstage Dior

http://www.amazon.com/Backstage-Dior-Roxanne-Lowit/dp/3832793461

.

 

.

.

Yves Saint Laurent

YSL

Roxanne_Lowit_parlor_club_new_york_yves_saint_laurent_young_karl_lagerfeld

Yves Saint Laurent & Karl Lagerfeld

 

“I have been inspired by many designers in my day, but Yves Saint Laurent was the first designer who really wowed me. Not only as a designer, but as a man. He was a bit of an enigma, mysterious, a bit aloof, but always polite courteous and friendly. He had a very unique vision, his lines were unlike any other.”  

Roxanne Lowit

book cover

Book description

Yves Saint Laurent is a name synonymous with style, elegance and high fashion. When he came on the scene at Dior and then started his own line, he quickly changed the way people regarded haute couture and the world of fashion itself. He revolutionized womens eveningwear when he introduced le smoking, a womans tuxedo. He had a huge impact not only on fashion, but also on many people’s lives, including that of photographer Roxanne Lowit. Yves Saint Laurent is Lowits personal photographic history of Saint Laurent, the man and the fashion, from 1978, the year she first met him, to the last show he gave in 2002. With contributions from YSLs muses and admirers, including Catherine Deneuve, Lucie de la Falaise, Betty Catroux, Jacqueline de Ribes, Andre Leon Talley and Valerie Steele, this book represents the backstage experience at YSLs shows as Lowit experienced them. Whether surrounded by beautiful models or peeking at the catwalk from the wings, every moment was a magnificent photo opportunity. Lowit shares with the world magical moments of YSL intimate, social, absorbed in fashion and creates a unique portrait of this towering figure of postwar couture. This book will be coveted by Yves Saint Laurents many fans worldwide and by anyone interested in the very best of high fashion.

YSL & Karl Lagerfeld

YSL

The book will be out in Fall of 2014.

Pre order:   http://www.amazon.com/Yves-Saint-Laurent-Roxanne-Lowit/dp/0500517606/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403256233&sr=1-1

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 180 other followers