Wednesday, April 8, 2009

13 most beautiful women (right now)

Here is the second installment of my "13 most beautiful..." series. Just to rehash what I'm doing with this, I publish a list of the 13 women that I envy and/or admire at the moment. This idea was stolen from Andy Warhol, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind.
  1. Susan Bottomly - the immediate successor to Edie Sedgwick at the Factory, sixteen-year-old Susan Bottomly was dubbed "International Velvet" by Warhol himself in 1966. She lived a lot like Sedgwick -- holing up at the Chelsea after moving away from her New England family, who gave her a handsome weekly allowance. She also looked a bit like Edie -- wearing long, elaborate earrings and painting herself for hours with makeup. Warhol once said, "watching someone like Susan Bottomly, who had such perfect, full, fine features, doing all this on her face was like watching a beautiful statue painting itself." The semblances to Andy's former friend were not coincidental; Susan said that the desire to go to the Factory and live in New York came after seeing Edie's Youthquaker spread in Vogue. Her main lasting fame came from her appearance in Warhol's cult film "Chelsea Girls," where she played up her decadent reputation. Her fame at the Factory was not long-lasting because just as Sedgwick was replaced, Bottomly would soon be replaced by Viva as Andy's no. 1.
  2. Françoise Hardy - an iconic French singer/actress/astrologer, Hardy has remained as influential today as she was in the sixties during the yé-yé music movement. With her chic rockstar style and cutglass cheekbones, it is quite understandable why Nicolas Ghesquière names her as one of the chief influences in his creations for Balenciaga. Back during her heyday, she hung out with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, the latter of which mentioned her in a poem on the cover of the album "Another Side of Bob Dylan."
  3. Audrey Hepburn - when discussing actresses of the 20th century, Audrey Hepburn approaches almost untouchable Mother Teresa territory for some people. And who could blame them for loving the most un-diva A-list actress who essentially gave up her career to volunteer for UNICEF and help malnourished and sick children of wartorn countries, children that she identified with after going through many of the same experiences in occupied Netherlands. After her debut in "Roman Holiday," Hepburn would become a fashion icon for women who sought after a classic yet modern style. Her innate style, slim ballerina figure, and relationship with Hubert de Givenchy is legendary. Recently she has been named the most influential fashion icon of the entire twentieth century and the infamous black Givenchy gown she wore in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" being named the best costume ever.
  4. Jean Shrimpton - "the Shrimp," as she was known during the 60s, was really the first important waifish gamine model. Coming before Twiggy and the flood of pin-thin girls after her, Shrimpton developed a strong modelling career in high fashion magazines. She had a four-year relationship with David Bailey, one of the most celebrated photographers of the time, and soon became the face of Swinging London. She was the first to publicly wear a 'mini dress' (a shocking 3.9 inches above the knee) to an event that had women wearing modest dress, pantyhose, and elaborate hats.
  5. Kim Novak - probably best known for her portrayal of the beautiful and aloof Madeleine in Hitchcock's "Vertigo," it probably is no coincidence that Novak's first job was modelling as "Miss Deepfreeze." She first gained success in the mid-50s, touted as Columbia Studios's version of Marilyn Monroe, this curvy blonde made a name for herself doing films with Jimmy Stewart and boys from the Rat Pack. She was among the most tortured of Hitchcock's leading women; his demands for her to repeatedly do takes for a scene requiring her to jump into an icy river below her for his own amusement (without even filming) are legendary.
  6. Ali MacGraw - admittedly the only film I have seen her in is "Love Story," but that's okay, right? When she wasn't romancing Ryan O'Neal as Jennifer Cavelleri, the epitome of collegiate cool, Ali had a five-year marriage to Steve McQueen (the epitome of cool in general). Now a yoga-enthusiast, Ali's seventies style was similar to that of her Love Story character -- simple, minimalist clothing, tanned makeup-free skin, long middle-parted hair, and the "Ali cap."
  7. Britt Ekland - Ekland accomplished two of my goals in life at an early age: one, to meet and marry Peter Sellers; two, to become a Bond girl. The first of those goals is quite impossible for me now, but still I am envious. She was a Bond girl in '74's "The Man with the Golden Gun." She was Roman Polanski's first choice to play Rosemary Woodhouse in his 1968 masterpiece "Rosemary's Baby." Now she just sort of is a fabulous jetsetter who kind of stalks rock stars. Which is pretty awesome, too.
  8. Ingrid Bergman - my favorite actress of all time, Bergman will probably go down in history as the lead Ilsa Lund in the most romantic film ever made (not my opinion -- its a legit fact). She is a fascinating woman who, during her life, endured both being the most celebrated -- then the most hated (following her affair with Roberto Rossellini where she was forced into exile)-- star of her day.
  9. Ann Margret - what can one really say about the girl who made red hair hot, was dubbed the female Elvis, and had her own Flintstones character named after her? Ann Margret is simply cool...and hot...all at the same time. Didn't think it was possible, did you? Well Ann-Margret makes it possible.
  10. Anita Pallenberg - if it was possible, I would worship at the altar of Anita Pallenberg. The model-actress who possessed an 'evil glamour' has become a legend in the fashion community for her utterly decadent approach to dressing. Someone a half-degree less cool than Pallenberg would look like an absolute fool in the outfits she wears, but I suppose that is the way she has remained the number one icon for gypsy cool. Someone who can wear a velvet bolero with silk Chinese silk pants and a large turquoise necklace is worthy of that kid of title though.
  11. Tippi Hedren - the last important Hitchcock heroine, Tippi (mama to Melanie Griffiths) made a name for herself starring in two back-to-back films for the Master of Suspense, "The Birds" and "Marnie," with Sean Connery. After these two films, Tippi - who was under an exclusive contract with Hitchcock and had to endure a creepy crush he had on her - wanted out. She was a big star by then, having been stylized by Hitch to be the sixties answer to Grace Kelly. But Hitch wouldn't have that, and made sure that if he couldn't work with her, then no one else would want to either.
  12. Michelle Phillips - Mama Michelle was one of the most gorgeous rock stars in history. She dressed in a very cool laid-back California style which involved colored jeans, knit ponchos, and pigtails. All of those clothing items sounds as though they would be in the third grade reject pile, but somehow Michelle made it all look so damn cool. The last surviving member of the original lineup of the Mamas and the Papas, Michelle has segwayed over into acting (including a stint on the original 90210), but will always be remembered for being the mama of California cool.
  13. Jane Birkin - the unearthly gorgeous singer and actress who has seemed to blur the lines of French sophistication and English cool must have something magical in her genes -- both her daughters (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon) exude the same coolness factor their mother does, much to my jealousy.

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