Tuesday 4 June 2013


Just finished a post for my Harper's Bazaar Vintage Spy blog. It explores the influence of the legendary model, Dorian Leigh, on fashion designer Amanda Wakeley's current collection. A great example of the synergy often found between vintage and contemporary styling. 

According to Amanda, it all started with a feeling for hourglass waists, feminine tailoring, Couture draping and the silhouettes of the Golden Age of Fashion in the 40's and 50's. Images of the elegant Dorian Leigh, often credited as the original super model, are the backbone of Amanda's wonderful mood board (below) for S/S 2013. The shots of Dorian Leigh include editorial and advertising images for Harper's Bazaar US, Time and American Vogue, shot by several of the leading photographers of the era, such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. These sit happily alongside a montage of tear sheets of modern day muses, including Kate Moss, plus striking close-ups of pleating and other expert atelier techniques. Who wouldn't be inspired?

The Amanda Wakeley Spring/Summer 2013 mood board 

For this season, Amanda Wakeley has used these vintage references to create sumptuous draped silk gowns and separates, alongside fitted soft tailoring with a modern twist.The designs are a far cry from retro styling; it is the femininity and elegance of her current muse that appeals to the designer. 'Dorian Leigh's effortless elegance brought sophistication to something that the Amanda Wakeley woman can relate to,' she comments, 'Her grooming was always immaculate and her make-up was minimalist, which is the perfect balance for the aesthetics of our customer.'

Elegant draping juxtaposed with tailored trousers from the
Amanda Wakeley Spring/Summer 2013 collection

Leigh's younger sister, Suzy Parker, was an equally sought after model in the 50's and 60's
and eventually overtook her sister in becoming the highest paid model in the world, as well as the face of Chanel. Her graceful poise and natural elegance also strikes the right note for additional inclusion on Amanda Wakeley's mood board

Suzy Parker wearing Hubert de Givenchy, 1952
Picture credit

Dorian, along with several others, is said to have been the inspiration for her friend Truman Capote's Holly Golightly in his novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958). Apparently he used to refer to Dorian as Happy Go Lucky. There is also some confusion over which of the sisters was the muse for Audrey Hepburn's Jo Stockton in Funny Face (1957), although Suzy did have a cameo role in the film - if only for two minutes.

Iconic images of both models can be seen in the excellent Blumenfeld Studio: New York: 1940 - 1960 show at Somerset House until September 1. I'll post a piece on the exhibition shortly - it's well worth a visit if you love photography, magazines and the Golden Age of couture. 

For more information and images of the Amanda Wakeley S/S 2013 Mainline Collection take a look at my Vintage Spy blog: http://www.harpersbazaar.co.uk/blogs/vintage-spy-amanda-wakeley

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