Tuesday, February 10, 2009

why don't you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see, and baby, baby, baby, do you like it?

"Jane Holzer is the most contemporary girl I know" - Diana Vreeland
Arguably Andy Warhol’s first and most famous of Factory it-girls during the sixties (for a time, at least), Baby Jane Holzer certainly cemented her place in sixties fashion and pop culture history. She came before Edie, before Nico, before Viva, becoming Warhol’s first ‘superstar.’ Calling her the true it-girl of the ‘60s, fashion designer Halston described her as “the latest, the greatest, the most avant-garde.” Using terms like ‘super marvelous’ and ‘switched-on,’ Jane was one of those rare girls during the sixties whose personality was just as whimsical and electric as her innate sense of style.
The daughter of a real estate tycoon, she was born Jane Brookenfeld on October 23, 1940 in Palm Beach, Florida, where she spent most her early life. She attended the Cherry Lawn School in Connecticut before graduating to study at the Finch Junior College in New York City. By her senior year, Jane was spending more time out dancing at night clubs than studying in the library, so she was asked to leave Finch, much to her pleasure.
After college, Jane began modeling and in 1963 her career really took off when David Bailey took her (and several others, including Jean Shrimpton) under his wing. She began partying with the Rolling Stones, and, at twenty-two, she married Park Avenue real estate heir Leonard Holzer and settled down in a comfortable career as a famous model and Upper East Side wife. She kept her career as “I just didn’t want to be a housewife. I wanted to be a star. I mean, it sure beat going to Bloomingdale’s every day.”
She was nicknamed ‘Baby Jane’ Holzer by WWD columnist Carol Bjorkman after the Bette Davis-Joan Crawford vehicle “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” which had recently been released. Neither Holzer nor Bjorkman had seen the film, but when Holzer was informed what kind of movie it was, she said she “wanted to die” over her nickname. Holzer laments, “I became famous for nothing. Just because I had the bucks and could buy clothes, the press picked up on anything I said. It was ridiculous.”
Holzer was introduced to Warhol in 1963 outside of Manhattan’s Bloomingdale’s. Captivated by her mix of lion’s mane long blonde hair and short minidresses straight from Carnaby Street, Warhol immediately invited her to participate in his newest film, “Soap Opera.” Holzer also took an instant liking to Warhol, buying several of his flower paintings to hang up around her Park Avenue home. She once commented that Warhol loved that she hung his portraits from a corner, making the piece diamond-shaped.
Baby Jane’s first film at the Factory was “Soap Opera,” which also featured Sam Green and Jerry Benjamin. Her ‘screen test’ with Warhol is infamous – Warhol advised her first “not to blink,” then continued to film her unwrapping a piece a gum and brushing her teeth. After “Soap Opera” came “Batman Dracula,” a film she described as being “hysterically funny,” “Kiss,” “Thirteen Most Beautiful Women in the World,” and a film Jane only remembered by her “eating a banana.” In addition to the films at the Factory, Baby Jane appeared in the Edie Sedgwick-starring film “Ciao Manhattan” as Charla. Holzer often looks on the shooting of that film unfavorably, recalling the late hours due to Sedgwick’s prolonged absences and the number of people on set who were shooting speed behind the scenes. Jane summed up her experiences on “Ciao” as “the fun was over for me.” After that, she had a career on Broadway and briefly enjoyed a career as a pop star before turning to real estate investments, producing films, and becoming owner of ice cream parlor in Florida called Sweet Baby Jane’s.
Weary of the drug-induced craziness of the Factory, Jane kept away from that scene “between Edie’s arrival and when Andy got shot.” She was replaced as Warhol’s main partner-in-crime in 1965 by Edie Sedgwick (who was then, in turn, replaced by the likes of International Velvet and Brigid Berlin), but she remained a close friend of Warhol’s for the next two decades, until Warhol’s death in 1987. Though Edie said she didn’t know she was replacing the “Girl of the Year 1964,” saying “In fact, I’d never even heard of her, I hardly ever read the papers,” Jane was undeniably hurt. “I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t jealous of Edie. She was very beautiful” admitted Holzer.
Baby Jane’s look encapsulates a distinct period in sixties fashion. Described once as “postbeatnik, prehippie” Holzer’s style was that lovely mixture of Brit mod sleekness, Parisian haute couture, and New York frivolity. Fashion savior Diana Vreeland (who often featured Jane in Vogue editorials) once said about her, “she was a blaze of golden glory and she rose like a rocket.” A reporter once described her as: “she is gorgeous in the most outrageous way. Her hair rises up from her head in a huge hairy corona, a huge tan mane around a narrow face and two eyes opened—swock!—like umbrellas, with all that hair flowing down …looking like some kind of queen bee for all flaming little buds everywhere." Baby Jane’s influence in the fashion world lives on. John Galliano named her the inspiration of his fall collection for Christian Dior in 2006, calling upon her signature big, teased hair and stylishly restrained ladylike clothes with an edge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CffVOCYBPCA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzOtZg_Zrow (Jane appears at around 27 seconds)

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