Saturday, March 7, 2009
Saint Anne Marie
Our absolute favorite supermodel of the 1950's is, paradoxically, the one we know the least about. Anne St. Marie fascinates us because she's simultaneously completely of her time, and absolutely outside of it: the quintessential elegant, distant, detatched 1950's mannequin, yet somehow alive and fresh and modern and real.
Unlike many of her contemporaries, St. Marie's beauty seems peculiarly contemporary, whereas the remarkable Dorian Leigh, for instance, seems permanently frozen (if spectacularly so) in 1954, or thereabouts. There was a canniness, an amused half-smile, a knowing raised eyebrow about Anne St. Marie, and in some of her photographs, it's near-impossible to pinpoint a date or decade.
Of all of the famously brittle beauties who graced the fashion magazines of the 1950's and early 1960's, Anne St. Marie seemed the most confident, the most assured, and the most aware. Yet there were demons lurking about, and it's reported that she suffered a mental breakdown. Her taped conversations with photographer turned filmmaker Jerry Schatzberg were the basis for the film Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970), starring Faye Dunaway as an emotionally fragile ex-model on the skids. Apart from this, scant information is available or forthcoming on this most exquisite of women; we hope that eventually Miss St. Marie regained her footing and her happiness. Wherever she may be, we thank her for all she may have sacrificed in the name of beauty for our consumption.