Friday, April 23, 2010

Gratuitous Brunette: Dorian Leigh

Before the likes of Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington ruled both the catwalks of the 1980s, before Janice Dickinson and Lauren Hutton discoed their nights away at Studio 54 in the 1970s, even before Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton defined the Carnaby Street look in the 1960s, models like Lisa Fonssagrives and Dorian Leigh created that monster of glamour we now take for granted as a part of our culture - the supermodel...

PhotobucketBorn on this day in 1917, Dorian Leigh began modelling in 1945 and was active in the industry well into the 1960s, when the aesthetic began to shift away from womanly to boyish models; along the way she's thought to have inspired the character played by Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 movie Funny Face and Truman Capote's anti-heroine Holly Golightly - the star of his novella Breakfast at Tiffany's - as well.

Modelling was something of a family business; her sister Cecilia gained even greater acclaim than Leigh as Suzy Parker, who most famously served as the Muse to a young Richard Avedon.

Yet while it was a long life, it was one awash in sorrow for Dorian Leigh... Married five times and divorced four* - to Marshall Hawkins, Roger W. Mehle Sr, Alfonso de Portago, Serge Bordat, and Iddo Ben-Gurion - she had five children, one due to an adulterous affair and another of whom, Kim de Portago (aka Kim Blas Parker), was a drug addict who committed suicide in 1977 at age 21.

After her son's suicide Leigh became a born-again Christian, finally assented to write her memoirs in an attempt to remove some of the stigma from suicide, and descended into a haze of dementia before her death at the age of 91, from Alzheimer's Disease.

*Her marriage to de Portago was later declared null when it was revealed he was a bigamist; he was already married to American Carroll Portago, later Carroll Petrie, the widow of Milton Petrie the retailer and industrialist.
share on: facebook

No comments: