Video: Billion Dollar Baby: The First Supermodel in Fashion History Changed by Chance
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 13:10
When talking about supermodels, the names of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and other catwalk stars of the 1990s are usually mentioned, but Lisa Fonsagreaves conquered the world of fashion long before their appearance. In the 1940-1950s. her photographs adorned the covers of all glossy magazines, in the press she was called the first supermodel, "baby for a billion" and "incredible Lisa", and she considered herself just "a good coat hanger." Her story is an example of how life can change dramatically thanks to one happy accident …
Lisa Bernstone was born in 1911 in Sweden, the son of a dentist and dressmaker. Parents dreamed that their daughter mastered a profession that would help her become an exemplary housewife and a good wife, and sent her to a culinary school. However, Lisa imagined her future in a completely different way: she was engaged in dancing and wanted to connect life with them in the future.
She left Sweden for France, as she believed that only there are schools where they teach the real art of dance. Lisa soon married her dance partner, Fernand Fonsagrivs. For several years, Lisa took private choreography lessons, danced in Paris in small ballet companies, and then, together with her husband, opened a dance school.
Her life was turned upside down by a chance meeting. One day she was returning from a dance lesson and in the elevator ran into photographer Willie Maywold. He drew attention to the gracefulness and grace of the girl and invited her to take part in a fashion show of hats. Thanks to this incident, her husband also changed his field of activity - he became a photographer. The photographs taken by him during this event, he took to the editor of "Vogue". There they became interested in them. Since the photographs were amateur, Lisa was offered to come to a professional photo session. This could hardly be called a complete triumph - facing the lens on her first shoot, the girl was shaking with fear and was very constrained and constricted. Nevertheless, the result was generally quite successful. From this, in 1936, Lisa Fonsagrivs' modeling career began.
Three years later, Lisa became the main model of "Vogue", appearing on the cover of this magazine about 200 times! No other model had such a number of photo sessions then. Later they said that it was to her that this publication owed its incredible popularity. Her photographs adorned the pages of almost all fashion publications of that time. Lisa Fonsagreaves was one of the first to receive significant royalties for shows; the most famous and fashionable photographers worked with her: Georg Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, Maine Ray, Richard Avedon and others.
Lisa's choreographic training was not in vain - she danced in front of the lens, which resulted in vivid, memorable shots. In each photo, the model looked as if she would smile or take a step right now. Liza did not stand still for a second, and the photographers only had to manage to take shots at the right moment. In one of the interviews, the model admitted: "".
In one of the most famous photographs taken in 1937, the model is balancing on a beam of the Eiffel Tower high above the ground. In addition, graceful by nature, Lisa, on the advice of one of the photographers, often visited the Louvre, where she memorized the graceful poses of the characters in paintings and sculptures, learned how to hold her head and hands correctly, and how to smile at ease. As a result, Lisa Fonsagreaves got rid of the squeeze in front of the camera and became the most popular model of the 1940s.
When World War II broke out, the Fonsagreaves moved to America. At that time, they gradually began to move away from each other, the relationship began to cool down, and Lisa and Fernand decided to part ways. In 1947, the model met Irwin Penn, who was called one of the most influential photographers in the fashion world of the twentieth century. She began to cooperate with him, and soon became for him not only a muse, but also a wife. Together they lived for 42 years, until the last days of the model.
While most models left the profession by the age of 30, Lisa Fonsagreaves just started working in this field at 25. Her modeling career lasted over 20 years, which was almost an unprecedented event. Until the end of the 1950s. she participated in photo shoots. In American magazines she was called "billionaire baby" and "incredible Lisa" - she was so good at what she was doing. Her career has become one of the longest in the history of the profession.
After the birth of her second child, Lisa decided to leave the profession and devote herself entirely to the family, although she still received offers from magazines. Her husband continued to photograph her - at home, on a walk, with children. Although these shots were not intended for fashion magazines, the model was still gorgeous and amazed with grace and unchanging sense of style. Until the end of her life, she remained a muse for her husband. She passed away in 1992 at the age of 80; Irwin survived her by 17 years.
In one of the last interviews, Lisa Fonsagrivs admitted that she feels absolutely happy and does not regret a single day: "".
Later, it was replaced by other models, which were considered the standard of beauty of the 1990s: What Cindy Crawford regrets at 51.