Kay Thompson, as fashion magazine editor Maggie Prescott, was the star of the solo number. Watch for popular models blonde Sunny Harnett and brunette Dovima as other specialty dancers:
The character of fashion photographer Dick Avery, played by Fred Astaire, was loosely based on the career of Richard Avedon. The visual consultant on the film, Richard Avedon also created the famous photo of Audrey Hepburn’s intentionally overexposed face. The photo was seen in the film and became the cover of the original soundtrack album. The image quickly became iconic. When Funny Face was re-released in 1964, it was the focal point of the new publicity poster.
Suzy Parker was the inspiration for the reluctant model played by Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film Funny Face (Paramount Pictures). She also appeared as a specialty dancer in the Think Pink! musical number.
Suzy Parker (October 28, 1932 – May 3, 2003) was an American model and actress active from 1947 into the early 1960s. Her modeling career reached its zenith during the 1950s when she appeared on the cover of dozens of magazines, advertisements, and in movie and television roles.
She appeared in several Revlon advertisements, but she also appeared in advertisements for many other cosmetic companies as well, as no model had an exclusive make-up contract until Lauren Hutton (for Revlon and Revlon’s Ultima) and Karen Graham (Estée Lauder) signed them in the early 1970s. She was the first model to earn $100,000 per year and the only fashion model to have a Beatles song named after her, even if an unreleased one.
Three of the Parker sisters were very tall, standing between 5’10” and 6’1″. Dorian was the sole exception, standing 5’5″. In 1944, Dorian was writing advertising copy when a co-worker encouraged Dorian to go to the Conover Modeling Agency to try modeling.
One of Dorian’s first advertisements was for Revlon. Charles Revson (who later wanted to marry her) hired her for “Fatal Apple,” one of Revlon’s first all-color, nationwide ads. Dorian was one of the top models in the world, arguably referred to as the “world’s first supermodel” (along with Lisa Fonssagrives). When Parker was about age 15, Dorian telephoned The Ford Modeling Agency and told Eileen and Jerry Ford that she would sign on with them if they also took her younger sister, sight unseen. Anxious to represent Dorian, they agreed. Expecting to meet a similarly petite, extremely thin, flawless, pale-faced, electric blue-eyed, raven-haired younger version of Dorian, they were shocked to meet Suzy for the first time at a restaurant. At the meeting, the Fords said, “Oh, my God!” Parker was already 5’10”, big-boned, and had carrot red hair, pale-green eyes, and freckles. She later became more famous than Dorian.
Parker’s photo appeared in Life magazine at age 15. That same year, one of her first magazine advertisements was for DeRosa Jewelry. Although she still lived with her parents in Florida, she stayed in New York City with Dorian when she had modeling assignments there. Dorian introduced Suzy to her fashion-photographer friends, Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst, John Rawlings, and a young Richard Avedon. Suzy became Avedon’s muse. At age 61, she said, “The only joy I ever got out of modeling was working with Dick Avedon
Parker became the so-called signature face of the Coco Chanel brand. Chanel herself became a close confidante, giving Parker advice on men and money as well as creating numerous Chanel outfits for her. She was the first model to earn $200 per hour and $100,000 per year. Vogue declared her one of the faces of the confident, post-war American woman. She worked also non-stop for Vogue, Revlon, Hertz, Westinghouse, Max Factor, Bliss, DuPont, Simplicity, Smirnoff, and Ronson shavers, to name a few. She also was on the covers of about 70 magazines around the world, including Vogue, Elle, Life, Look, Redbook, Paris Match and McCall’s.
Avedon suggested Parker for the movie Funny Face (1957). Fred Astaire’s role was based on Avedon, whose photos appeared in the movie. Suzy appeared in the movie for only two minutes and she looked breathtakingly beautiful on the big screen.
After marrying her third husband, Bradford Dillman, in 1963, she mostly retired from modeling and acting to live a quiet life in Montecito, California, with her family.
She passed away in 2003 at age 70 surrounded by her loving family. One of her children, a friend of mine has just published a book dedicated to Suzy Parker called REFLECTIONS THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobel
Cometh the mode, cometh the woman, and between 1947 and 1954, the British queen of hauteur was Barbara Goalen, who became known as “the most photographed woman in Britain” in the Fifties, thanks to her extraordinary poise and beauty and an astonishingly tiny waist. She began to study art, but after a year signed up to drive a wartime ambulance, so by the time she faced the lens whether in Dior and diamonds or printed cotton satin, adult experience showed in her black-pencil-lined eyes.
Besides the figure, cheekbones and swallowtail eyebrows, Goalen already had the considerable self-possession of a classy English childhood. Her father was the owner of a Malaysian rubber plantation, and, she, at the age of eight, had been shipped back home to board at preparatory school, before going on to St Mary’s girls’ school, in Calne, Wiltshire.
In the unambitious manner of her times, she became a model only after she was widowed at the age of 24, when her husband Ian Goalen died in a crash. Her first, teenage,fiancé, an RAF bomber pilot, had been killed in action during the second world war. Barbara and Ian had a small son and daughter, neither of whose arrival had permanently expanded their mother’s 33-18-31 inch measurements or under-eight-stone weight, the perfect shape for what was then called a “mannequin” – with implications of grandeur descending a staircase – rather than a model.
She stopped short of Saudi Arabia, famously refusing to model lingerie in a harem for the 300 wives of a Saudi King in 1954. “It simply isn’t done you know,” she explained, adding with a sigh, “but the underwear is really divine.”
Educated at St Mary’s Calne, Goalen’s standards were legendary and though her career only spanned six years, it was a time she described as “the vintage years”. Her work took her all over the world, including New York and Australia, where she once paraded the new “short” evening dresses (seven inches off the ground) for Australian débutantes.
Barbara appeared in Harper’s Bazaar and British Vogue just as the New Look, with its promises of future luxury, arrived to dominate fashion: she had the waspy waist and elegance needed to wear it – the look, based on Dior’s memories of the courtesans of France’s belle epoque around 1900, was designed for women, not girls.
She was among the first British beauties to be recruited to parade in the Paris shows, and was on demand photographically in New York and London for a well-above average rate of five guineas an hour.
The work was hard, especially, she said, on the feet – no one in her line of business wore flat shoes – but the women who modeled in the Fifties and Early Sixties, were treated as ‘society-by-association’, with couture gowns loaned for the evening and an entrée anywhere. Their personal upkeep, Goalen recalled, took just as much maintenance in manicures and hair salon time as later supermodels had to put in at the gym.
The between-job transport was slower, too, if stately: chauffeured Rolls-Royces, liners to America, or the airliners Goalen once took in stages to Australia to model frocks for Sydney débutantes.
Débutante – a girl presented at court in her first social season – was a word that recurred in her career: Goalen had doubts about the modern validity of the season, but still organized the Berkeley dress show during the 1960s. By then, she was only visible as a private citizen at charity events, faithful to her own era of extreme style.
In 1954, on her marriage to Nigel Campbell, a Lloyd’s underwriter, Barbara had retired from modeling, without regrets, still at the top.She continued to be active in the fashion world by giving interviews and writing for British newspapers.
By the mid 1950’s, African-American models were making cautiously optimistic inroads into mainstream print ads and television commercials. Dorothea Towles is generally credited with being the first successful Black high fashion mannequin, having appeared on the runways of Paris.
One of the most glamorous models of the Fifties, American born Dorothea Towles, was renowned for her chic style and impressive wardrobe, which she designed herself. She went to Paris to study design but her beauty and grace led to a modeling career with some of the greatest couturiers of the time.
Dorothea Towles was muse to Christian Dior who asked her to dye her hair a stunning platinum blonde, She appeared on many magazine covers and modeled also modeled for Schiaparelli, Jacques Fath and Robert Piguet. She toured the United States doing sophisticated fashion shows to packed houses.. Her experience working with the great designers gave Dorothea a profound insight into the design and construction of couture gowns.