22 Jul 19
The Shutterstock Blog
Discover haute couture history with images of the groundbreaking models and innovative designers who modernized the fashion world.
In 1965, Diana Vreeland, the editor-in-chief at Vogue, coined the term “Youthquake” to describe a cultural phenomenon. Young people came together, collectively reshaping politics, music, and not least of all, fashion. The Beatles took the world by storm, and so did the miniskirt. “There is a marvelous moment that starts at thirteen and wastes no time,” Vreeland wrote. “More dreamers. More doers. Here. Now. Youthquake 1965.”
The 1960s and 1970s witnessed the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the women’s liberation movement, and the Stonewall Riots. As the world changed, so did the outfits. Models and designers eschewed the status quo and embraced the unconventional.
During these decades, fashion was about far more than celebrity—it was about creating a better world. Let’s take a look at just a few of the models and designers who helped redefine the meaning of the word “glamor” forever.
1. Donyale Luna
Donyale Luna, Skidoo, 1968. Photo by Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock.
The year was 1963. The British photographer David McCabe was on assignment in Detroit when, all of a sudden, he glimpsed a young woman. Wearing her typical Catholic school uniform, she stood at about six feet tall. If she had any interest in modeling, he told her to come to New York and contact him for help. Her name? Donyale Luna.
Donyale Luna, Fellini’s Satyricon, 1969. Photo by P E A/Artistes Associes/Kobal/Shutterstock.
Three years later, TIME magazine declared 1966 “The Luna Year” in reference to the starlet, whom the writer described as “a new heavenly body.” That same year, she became the first African American supermodel to grace the cover of British Vogue and was named Vogue’s model of the year. In addition to her modeling, Luna appeared on the silver screen in films by Federico Fellini and Andy Warhol (she was a fixture of his Factory). She was also a muse to Salvador Dali.
Donyale Luna, Federico Fellini, 1969. Photo by P E A/Artistes Associes/Kobal/Shutterstock.
Still, it wasn’t an easy road. Prejudice and racism plagued those early years of Luna’s career, and some Southern companies withdrew their advertisements from magazines where she appeared. “On 17 May, it will be 40 years since my mother left us,” Luna’s daughter Dream Cazzaniga wrote earlier this year on the anniversary of her mother’s passing. “On that day, […] I will be hoping that the world is finally ready to celebrate a young African-American girl from Detroit who didn’t let others define her.”
2. Mary Quant
British fashion designer Mary Quant wearing a plaid skirt. Photo by Jim Bland/Penske Media/Shutterstock.
This English fashion designer helped define the “Swinging Sixties” with her signature miniskirts, hotpants, and ‘skinny rib’ sweaters. Her boutique, Bazaar, drew a younger crowd with long hours, loud music, and drinks. “The clothes reflected the sense of freedom that we felt at the time,” Quant told The Guardian earlier this year. “Shorter skirts allowed mobility, to run, jump and to have fun in.”
British fashion designer Mary Quant wearing a plaid skirt and polka dot shirt. Photo by Nick Machalaba/Penske Media/Shutterstock.
The V&A has organized a Quant retrospective, on view now through February 16, 2020. When they started research on the exhibition, the museum received more than a thousand emails from women all over the world, each willing to lend their own personal pieces–a true testament to the designer’s influence.
Veruschka, Blowup – 1966. Photo by Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock.
“It’s not so bad to be different, ne?” Veruschka asked Life magazine in 1967. As a child, she’d stood out for her tall frame, but by this point, she had embraced all the features that made her unique. And so had the rest of the world. The title of that Life cover story? “The Girl Everybody Stares At.”
Veruschka, David Hemmings, Blowup – 1966. Photo by Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock.
A year earlier, she’d famously appeared in Blowup, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. She went on to grace the cover of Vogue thirteen times, becoming one of the most sought-after supermodels of her time. Richard Avedon named her the most beautiful woman in the world. Susan Sontag called hers an “indomitable career of beauty.”
David Hemmings, Veruschka, Blowup – 1966. Photo by Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock.
In 1971, Veruschka was one of twenty-four West German women to appear in Stern news magazine as part of a women’s campaign. Each publicly admitted to having had an abortion, which, at the time, was against the law. The campaign helped influence the formation of feminist groups at home and abroad.
At 71, Veruschka returned to the catwalk as part of London Fashion Week, as radiant as ever.
4. Jane Forth
This supermodel was one of Andy Warhol’s “superstars,” part of an elite group of muses and socialites within the artist’s inner circle. She initially got her start as the receptionist at Warhol’s famous Factory, and at seventeen, she starred in the 1970 underground film Trash.
Joe Dallesandro, Jane Forth, Trash – 1970. Photo by Factory/Kobal/Shutterstock.
“She was very, very pale with an unusual face that looked like a mixture of Greta Garbo and a moonchild,” the designer Diane Von Furstenberg would write decades later. “She’d plucked off the ends of each of her eyebrows, which gave her a startled, almost comic expression.”
Jane Forth, Joe Dallesandro, Trash – 1970. Photo by Factory/Kobal/Shutterstock.
Life magazine described her as “new ‘now’ face.” Here she is at a 1972 party thrown by the photographer Francesco Scavullo in honor of another Warhol Superstar, Candy Darling:
Jane Forth attending a party thrown by nightlife photographer Francesco Scavullo in honor of Andy Warhol superstar Candy Darling on February 16, 1972 in New York. Photo by Pierre Schermann/Penske Media/Shutterstock.
5. Marisa Berenson
Named “the girl of the Seventies” by Yves St. Laurent, this supermodel worked with industry giants like Diana Vreeland, Halston, Azzedine Alaïa, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, and Steven Meisel.
Vreeland is rumored to have discovered Berenson at the age of sixteen, but perhaps her entrance into the world of fashion began long before then. As the granddaughter of the designer Elsa Schiaparelli, she’d had her christening photo published in Vogue. Gene Kelly had taught her and her sister Barry, who grew up to be a photographer, how to dance. Salvador Dali had asked to paint her as a child.
Marisa Berenson being interviewed. Photo by Peter Simins/Penske Media/Shutterstock.
Of course, in addition to modeling, Berenson also built a career in acting, earning critical acclaim for her 1972 performance in Cabaret and working with the director Stanley Kubrick in 1975’s Barry Lyndon. Here she is wearing Valentino at her 1976 wedding to James Randall. The event, hosted at Randall’s house, drew 800 guests, inspiring the columnist Rona Barrett to proclaim, “Romance is back!”
The scene during the wedding of Marisa Berenson and Jim Randall at Randall’s Beverly Hills house, made to look like the set of Lost Horizon. The affair cost $200,000 on November 21, 1976 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Frank Diernhammer/Penske Media/Shutterstock.
This photo of Berenstein with Warhol is from the same party Forth attended in 1972 (above):
Marisa Berenson and Andy Warhol attending a party thrown by photographer Francesco Scavullo in honor of Warhol’s superstar Candy Darling. Photo by Pierre Scherman/Penske Media/Shutterstock.
6. Rei Kawakubo
This legendary Japanese designer founded Comme des Garçons in 1973 in the heyday of punk. Throughout the next few decades, her brand would change fashion forever, and she’s continued to reference the punk movement from time to time.
Kawakubo rarely gives interviews, allowing her avant-garde work to speak for itself. “I never intended to start a revolution,” she once admitted in conversation with The New Yorker. “I only came to Paris [in 1981] with the intention of showing what I thought was strong and beautiful. It just so happened that my notion was different from everybody else’s.”
She was honored by a major exhibition at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017. “From the very beginning, her search was always to look for something new,” Adrian Joffe, Kawakubo’s husband and the CEO of Comme des Garçons, told Vogue that year.
7. Grace Jones
Grace Jones. Opening Night at Studio 54, New York. Photo by Nick Machalaba/Penske Media/Shutterstock.
“Supermodel” is just one word to describe this genre-bending icon. Here are some more: singer, songwriter, actress, disco queen, Studio 54 regular, Bond girl, or, as the writer Jeff Gordinier once put it, “high priestess of the outré.” In truth, modeling was just the beginning of a long and storied career, but it was an important chapter nevertheless.
Model Grace Jones wearing a black gown with side-slit aboard The Peking for Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium Party. Photo by Tony Palmieri/Shutterstock.
In 1970, Jones moved from New York to Paris, where she made a name for herself by modeling for the likes of Yves St. Laurent, Kenzo, and Azzedine Alaïa, and partying with Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani.
Grace Jones attends the re-opening celebration of the remodeled disco palace Studio 54. Photo by Dustin Pittman/Penske Media/Shutterstock.
She’s since gone through many evolutions, but she remains as enigmatic as ever. In 2017, as Jones worked on her 11th studio album, The Guardian asked her to define “old age.” She responded, “Oh God, I never use those words. Time is like a space capsule…We are in space, not time.”
8. Halston and the Halstonettes
Halston Spring 1978 Ready to Wear Advance, New York. Photo by Fairchild Archive/Shutterstock.
In many ways, the 1970s belonged to this American fashion designer and his crew of glamorous models, often called the Halstonettes: Karen Bjornson, Pat Cleveland, Anjelica Huston, and their contemporaries.
Model Karen Bjornson. 96-piece collection; Includes a group of rainwear from his Halston III division; introduction of Ultrasuede. Model Pat Cleveland, 7 Jun 1973. Photo by Fairchild Archive/Shutterstock.
“When Halston went to a party or a restaurant, he liked to travel with an entourage,” Bjornson told The New York Times decades later. “It wasn’t that he was shy, though he certainly had his dark glasses and cigarettes to shield him. Anyway, I never saw him as shy. I saw him as powerful, bigger than life.”
Model Pat Cleveland. Halston Resort 1979 Ready to Wear Runway. Photo by Fairchild Archive/Shutterstock.
Halston was catapulted onto the national stage back in 1961, when he designed the pillbox hat worn by Jackie Kennedy during the Presidential inauguration. Later, he too became a fixture of Studio 54, where he continued to take his signature minimalist aesthetic to new heights.
Model Anjelica Huston. Halston Originals Fall 1972 Ready to Wear Collection Runway. Photo by Fairchild Archive/Shutterstock.
Want more modern history in images? Check out these photo tours:
A Look at Ralph Lauren’s 50 Years of Unforgettable Fashion
10 Facts About Legendary Fashion Designer Yves Saint Laurent
Documenting LGBTQ Rights with Kay Tobin Lahusen and Barbara Gittings
7 Women of Color Who Revolutionized Fashion in the 1960s-70s
10 Pop Music Icons Photographed by Dezo Hoffmann