Thursday, October 28, 2010

!-! !-! Suzy Parker, The World's First Supermodel


SUZY PARKER (1933 - 2003)

In the 1950s, Parker became the first fashion model to earn a then-staggering $100,000 per year; she and her sister Dorian Leigh are considered by many to be the world's first supermodels, along with Lisa Fonssagrives. As one of Parker's obituaries noted, "[she] had the hautiest of cheekbones and nobody angled an elbow better, but when she shook out her red hair she suggested a cool Hollywood glamour - Rita Hayworth on the rocks."

The flame-haired Parker graced the covers of dozens of magazines around the world; an early photo spread of Parker in a bikini (then as new a notion as the idea of a "supermodel") caused a international sensation. She is said to have inspired the beatnik-turned-reluctant-model character played by Audrey Hepburn in legendary fashion film Funny Face (1957).

"We didn't use the term [supermodel] then, but she certainly qualified for being a supermodel, and if the term had been around I'm sure we would have used it: She was absolutely phenomenal," said Edie Locke, former editor-in-chief of Mademoiselle magazine. "A lot of the models are beautiful, but it takes a lot of makeup and this, that and the other trick to make them look fabulous. But all Suzy had to do was shake out that mane and she'd look fabulous."

Designer Christian Dior called Parker "the most beautiful woman in the world"; Eileen Ford, doyenne of modeling agents, once said of her: ''She was everybody's everything.'' Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland reportedly declared that Parker was the face of the 1950s.

The sort of celebrity enjoyed by Parker and her contemporaries was a far cry from the often-bratty variety that emerged during the supermodel era of the 1980s and '90s, embodied by Linda ("We don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day") Evangelista and maid-assaulter Naomi Campbell. The old girls always maintained a sense of regal decorum; one really can't imagine Suzy Parker beaning her housekeeper in the head with a cell phone.

Watch Her Images @

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