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Liz Benn, 1953

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Liz benn models a strapless swimsuit by givenchy

    For some, modelling was an end in itself. But for Liz Benn, it was a springboard — one that catapulted her from a humble Canadian upbringing to life at the helm of the Caribbean’s most glamorous resort.

    It’s hard to imagine Liz Benn ever having an awkward age. From the very start, her pictures radiated a commanding presence; skin glowing, stance confident, profile always perfectly tilted…

Sophie Malgat, 1952

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Sophie litvak photo by milton greene paris 1952

For much of the Forties and Fifties, American models dominated the world of fashion photography. The countercharge, when it finally came, started in Paris, where women like Sophie Malgat led the way from couture salons to magazine covers.

Whenever France’s midcentury models are discussed, the name that inevitably leads the pack is Bettina; the redheaded, freckle-faced girl from Brittany…

Joan Pedersen, 1951

Monday, 23 October 2017

Joan pedersen c2a9 richard rutledge

    Joan Pedersen grew up dreaming about dancing. But fate led her to modelling instead, and to a successful career that flew largely under history’s radar. 

    World’s Oldest Living Cover Girl. It’s title that rests lightly on the shoulders with Joan Pedersen Coleman, an elegant, chatty 93-year-old, who first graced the cover of Vogue seventy years ago — and did so in some style, appearing…

Katherine Cassidy, 1950

Sunday, 8 October 2017

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    Howard Hawks promised he’d make her a star. But Katherine Cassidy decided to go her own way, and chose modelling — and money — over the movies.

    “It’s fine while it lasts,” Marie Icide yawned. “Like many models, I hope to be either a dress designer or an actress.”

    It was the summer of 1945. And on a Paramount Studios soundstage, Icide — a precocious half-Irish, half-Romanian teenager…

Ronnie Compton, 1949

Saturday, 23 September 2017


Ronnie Compton was one of the most glamorous models in America. Vera Lee was a merchant seaman’s daughter from Southampton. And Veronica Minette was the doomed widow of a Belgian count. But it would be decades before anyone realised that all three were the same woman.

Ronnie Compton died twice — once in the London Blitz, and once in a Northern boarding house. The first time (as with so…

Jeanne Klein, 1948

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Model janine klein mrs william klein wearing evening gown by balenciaga photo clifford coffin in balenciagas private house paris august 1948

    Barbara Mullen chose a modelling career; Jeanne Florin tried to avoid it. But despite that, she became one of the most sought-after models in Paris — and, with her husband William Klein, would form one of photography’s most enduring partnerships.

    It’s one of fashion’s great love stories. It even comes with a beginning straight out of an MGM musical; a handsome young American soldier…

Tedi Thurman, 1946

Saturday, 26 August 2017

5. tedi thurman

    After a decade of modelling success, Tedi Thurman remained an unknown. But once she made the leap to broadcasting, she became a household name — and one of the industry’s first mainstream stars.

    Even today, there’s not much going on in the City of Midville, Georgia (pop. 269) — just a few flat streets of spread-out timber-sided houses, scattered round the intersection of Highway 17…

Marilyn Ambrose, 1944

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Marilyn ambrose three views lend a slight surrealist quality to image cubist design vogue january 1944 c2a9 john rawlings copia

    Many of the top models of the Forties and Fifties enjoyed exceptionally long careers. But even by those standards, Marilyn Ambrose was exceptional, enjoying two decades of top-flight success — forging a now-faded reputation as one of the most elegant women in fashion.

    In 1947, Irving Penn’s now-iconic portrait of the most photographed models in America was first published. Shot against…

Bijou Barrington, 1942

Sunday, 30 July 2017

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    You can’t have a good Cinderella story without having an ugly sister somewhere in the frame. In Barbara Mullen’s particular fairytale, that role falls to Bijou Barrington — a glamour girl whose career contrasts with that of Mullen in almost every significant way.

    Of course, in reality Bijou Barrington wasn’t remotely ugly. Like most models of the early Forties, she was uncomplicatedly…

Muriel Maxwell, 1941

Saturday, 15 July 2017


To borrow an expression that wouldn't become common currency till decades later, Muriel Maxwell had it all; beauty, brains, connections, and a glamorous life both in front of and behind the camera. She achieved remarkable success across much of her career — but if she’s remembered at all, it’s as one of the first of modelling’s cautionary tales.


    Rabbi Benjamin Tintner…

Liz Gibbons, 1938

Sunday, 2 July 2017


    If any of Manhattan’s first generation of models could have successfully told (and sold) their story, it would have been Liz Gibbons. She did, in fact, over thirty years ago — a fascinating historical document of a fashion industry just beginning to take shape. But the manuscript was rejected by her publishing house, and has lain untouched ever since.

        Like many models, Liz Gibbons…

Marion Morehouse, 1927

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The photographers favorite model marion moorehouse in a cheruit gown new york 1927 edward steichen

    Barbara Mullen’s story is unique. But it’s just one of hundreds of stories that could have been written about the modelling industry’s early pioneers. While Unbound’s campaign to publish Mullen’s biography continues, we wanted to tell the story of some of these other forgotten figures.

    When Mullen was born in June 1927, the cover of Vogue featured a slim figure on board a rowing…

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