IT’S NOT often that women are so famous for just their beauty, even models claim that their campaigns, runway walks, behaviour and general demeanour have just as much of a part as their face does.
But one woman above all others has managed to create one of the most famous names in fashion, music and art history by just a face, and what it inspired. A woman that has been linked to men as famous as Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol and inspired songs, movies and artwork. We’re talking, of course, about Edie Sedgwick.
The famous muse had a troubled childhood and from this grew a tormented, innocent beauty that couldn’t be rivalled. She brought effortless glamour and style to the 60s with chandelier earrings and black kohl eyeliner, and this sense of fashion and the fact that she embodied style itself, brought her fame a lot more than her modelling and acting.
Many women have portrayed her and tried to act out her story, including Sienna Miller, but have never been able to capsulate Sedgwick’s life and beauty. Not only was she a stylish person but she was a trendsetter too. Living in Manhattan, her outfits were quite risqué even for them, and she wore a lot of leotards, minidresses and newsboy caps.
Sedgwick had a very rebellious aura about her, even in her style. She created a look that snubbed her old money roots and was very bohemian, something that wouldn’t have been appreciated in her family. Likewise, she modelled for Vogue as a profile on her as a ‘youthquaker’, but unlike most of the other models that they use, she was never considered part of the Vogue family, due to her excessive drug use and erratic behaviour.
Andy Warhol credited Sedgwick for inventing the mini-skirt in ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again’, creating a character called Taxi, based on Sedgwick, stating that she wanted to prove to her family back in Charleston that she could live on nothing. This feeble masking of the person her was really writing about was seen as a huge middle finger to her family who had, in her eyes, destroyed her childhood. She liked to wear long dresses with bare feet and leotards and ballet tights as proper outfits, and this type of bohemian living was seen as a major rebellion towards her former uptown lifestyle.
In 1971, she appeared to have turned her life around, she was married to Michael Post and had stopped drinking and reduced the drugs. On November 15, she attended a Santa Barbara fashion show which was to be her last even public appearance. The next morning, November 16, she was found dead, at the tender age of 28.
Her legacy was not her unhappy private life though, but her idiosyncrasy and her love for beauty. John Gallliano, who had a 2005 show influenced by her, said, “Edie danced to her own tune and I imagine, this is what inspired Warhol and Dylan as much as it did me…she created her own identity”.