15 Jun 2011
avatar Author: Nicky Haslam

 

I read recently that Franca Sozzani, the avant-garde doyenne of Italian Vogue, has daringly put fat….well not exactly fat, but fattish….models on the cover of the magazine’s current cover. Also, gushes the fashion press, Franca edited, wow, a black model issue in 2008.

But she might have glanced back a few decades, to the April 1965 issue of American Harpers Bazaar. I worked on this with photographer legend Richard Avedon. Not only did we use a truly black model, Donyale Luna, to wear American designer couture, almost the first time a black girl appeared in a mainstream ‘white’ magazine—and it raised many hackles across the country, but we also photographed my fabulously beautiful, but frankly fat, friend, Bibi Winkelhorn, who had worked with me on American Vogue, on several pages. We didn’t need to dress up or dress Bibi down for that matter, her beauty outshone anything she wore, the New Botticelli Girl.

Bibi, the great-grandaughter of the heroic Czarist general Koutuzov, who turned Napoleon’s army from the gates of Moscow, is now a fat-cat communications exec in Las Vegas. Donyale died in Rome in the 1970s. Signorina Sozzani should put flowers on her grave….

4 Responses to “Bibi there, Donyale that.”

  1. avatar rose says:

    love this post nicky thank you xxx

  2. avatar Gaye Tapp says:

    Love that title! You were on the fashion front then, I wish it had “taken” a bit more- but we are forever inundated with the stick thin,totally unattractive women-with withered hands and necks thrust into the eye because they were a dress well. Bibi was a beauty as was Donyale-it’s the face that carries a real beauty through the ages. More posts like this-stellar!

  3. avatar Brillante says:

    I commend every effort to present real women, I had it with anorexic, angry and vicious faces.
    Great fashion report in 1965, great fashion report in 2011.

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