Friday, April 23, 2010


She was Richard Avedon's favorite fashion subject; graced the cover of over 50 magazines within a six year span; and after her modeling career ended, ran her own modeling agency and gourmet restaurants in Paris. She was Dorian Leigh, the first supermodel (Janice Dickinson be damned), and for nearly a decade, she was one of the most photographed women in the world, appearing on the cover of Vogue no less than seven times in one year (1946).

A John Rawling portrait of Dorian Leigh for the cover of Vogue, 1946

By the mid-1950's, Leigh's fame had been surpassed by that of her younger sister, Suzy Parker; she starred in a few French films, then relocated to Paris to launch the city's very first modeling agency. Leigh was enormously successful, and there are tantalizing and scandalous tales of the former cover girl joining transatlantic forces with her mentor, Eileen Ford, to drive competitor John Casablancas out of business -- and out of his mind. Eventually, Leigh herself was "run out" of the industry, thanks to the illegal schemes of one of her five husbands, which is when she entered the restaurant business. Relocating to New York in the 1980's, Leigh penned several cookbooks, including one devoted to crepes. Her son, Kim, died at 21 by his own hand; after that, the reputed inspiration for the glamorous and hedonistic Holly Golightly became a Born Again Christian. She died of complications from Alzheimer's Disease in 2008, at age 91; but through the lens of Avedon and other genius photographers, the breathtaking elegance and mystique of Dorian Leigh will never age.

April 23, 1917 - July 7, 2008


  1. I'm mortified to admit that I've never heard of her. Such a beauty....and Suzy Parker's big sis! The room must have stopped when those two made an entrance.

    The face looks so modern in that second shot.

  2. said beautifully t.....

    long after i should have done it, i did use dorian as my muse for an october 31th soiree. this photo will not be posted, but if i can find it, i may send it to you so that you can blackmail me with it.

  3. She was exquisite! Today's models have the same slim bodies, but so often not the unbelievable FACES.

  4. She was the definition of beauty and style. Unbelievably chic. And Suzy was just as perfect. Lotta good genes in that family.



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