Though perhaps lesser known than some of her disco-era colleagues, Donna Jordan ranks among the most influential models of all time. Before Lara Stone was even born, Donna was the bleach browed, gap-toothed beauty who set the trend. Whether she was being shot by photographers like Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Oliviero Toscani, or appearing in Andy Warhol films Donna demanded the attention of the fashion crowd.
Donna Jordan, Antonio Lopez & Pat Cleveland Donna with photographer Oliviero Toscani Donna Jordan, Andy Warhol & Jane Forth promoting the 1971 film, L'Amour
Once dubbed ‘Disco Marilyn’, Donna Jordan wasn’t very interested in becoming a model. But illustrator Antonio Lopez saw something special in her. Together with his life partner Juan Ramos, Antonio bleached Donna’s hair and eyebrows and a new model was ‘born’. “Antonio was magical,” says model Donna Jordan. “When I first met him in 1967, he was coming down the steps to Bethesda Fountain, in Central Park, dressed in a red suit. He was quite a vision.”
Donna was part of YSL’s clique in Paris and a muse to Karl Lagerfeld. She was a firm believer in 40’s inspired shoulder pads, red lipstick and glamour! Like any Andy Warhol Superstar…she was also an “actress”! She starred in Andy Warhol’s L’Amour as an American gold digger in Paris (a role in which she had a steamy kissing scene with Karl Lagerfeld!!!).
Donna Jordan tells:
In New York, late 1960’s, there used to be Be-Ins at Bethesda Fountain in central Park. Everybody would just go and hang out… real hippie stuff. I was there one day with Jane Forth, when out of nowhere appeared Antonio Lopez in head-to-toe red: red suit, red top hat, red cane. All of that coming down the Bethesda stairs was such an amazing vision and for some reason there was a real connection. Antonio looked at Jane and me and we became immediately his muses. It was an instantaneous karmic kind of thing. We were just little kids, 17 years old – we’re talking 1967 – and suddenly are lives were transformed.
Every other night it was Carnegie Hall or Max’s Kansas City. Max’s was my living room and we would dance all night. I was the only of my friends who had a job at – Paraphernalia, one of the first boutiques in New York City – so I’d work all day and go out all night.
In 1969, after I’d had enough of New York and the whole Warhol scene, I went to London and kind of floated. Antonio found me again, I went to Paris and the rest is history.
Those were wild, crazy, fun, ridiculous times. I was living in the moment so much, I never thought about tomorrow and it all happened so fast, like a huge rush.
Aesthetically I think the Europeans were attracted to me, because I have such an open, American face. I booked the cover of French Vogue-their “pop” issue- which led me into an exiting time because Antonio’s influence was growing in Paris and we were like family. It was the midpoint of a transformation that changed my life.
Info: CR Fashion Book, September 2013