Nov 17, 2006

First Super Model














Janice Dickinson likes to claim she is the world's first supermodel. To me this statement has always seemed a bit laughable. While La Dickinson WAS striking in her time and quite exotic looking, there were other models during her era who made equal or larger impressions on the world stage.


Cheryl Tiegs. Lauren Hutton. Veruschka. Penelope Tree.

Twiggy, who preceded Janice and is regarded the first waif model, arrived on the scene decades before Kate Moss made waifs fashionable again. Twiggy's image still crops up everywhere in 60's culture coffee table books and, as we all know, she replaced Janice as a judge on America's Next Top Model.



But the first super model, in my opinion, has been largely forgotten. Her name was Suzi Parker and she died in 2003.


She was famed photographer Richard Avedon's muse, and apppeared on numerous Vogue covers during the 1950's. According to legend the movie Funny Face was inspired by her professional relationship with Avedon, though the link I've provided relates a different story. Suzi played a small role as a model in that movie and went on to make several more films, which have faded to oblivion.


So every time Janice mentions she's the world's first supermodel, I snigger a little and think of Suzi Parker. She was by all accounts strikingly beautiful and could care less about fame and glory in her later years.


5 comments:

jinxy said...

Bravo! Once again you are spot-on with your sentiments. In my opinion, Janice Dickinson is slowly turning into a bad parody of what she once was, and now acts more like Anna Nicole Smith:the drunk years, than a role model for models.

Suzi Parker, on the other hand, always held herself with grace and dignity. If only ageing celebs could do the world a favor and do the same.

Aren't all these OTT antics supposed to be for young little stars that are still wet behind the ears and supposedly learning from their mistakes??

Gorgeous Things said...

Absolutely. Janice is full of sound and fury (and illicit substances), but signifies nothing. Suzi was the first, the proto-supermodel. And she was beautiful!

Gigi said...

Ugh, Janice Dickinson needs to get over herself already. And lay off the bad plastic surgery!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say that you forgot Lisa Fonssagrives who supposedly has appeared on over 200 Vogue covers! She was very popular during the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Janice didn't even make up the word supermodel and she may have been a supermodel in her time but there were definitely supermodels before her (who also more well known than she was in her time).

Ms. Place said...

Janice didn't even make up the word supermodel and she may have been a supermodel in her time but there were definitely supermodels before her (who also more well known than she was in her time).

How true. She took advantage of the fact that the younger audience had forgotten the history of fashion.

I don't know why I forgot about Lisa Fonssagrives--perhpas because I am always reminded of Suzy when I watch Funny Face.

I'll comment on her later, as she is a unique beauty who was married to Irving Penn, another fabulous photographer.