Muse: a source of inspiration; especially : a guiding genius
My lover’s eye: Jacques Fath’s main muse was his wife, a former Chanel secretary, Genevieve Boucher (*) According to Fath, “ Genevieve captured the best of Greta Garbo, Carole Lombard and Marlene Dietrich”
Cat Walk: According to Vogue, Cristobal Balenciaga’s first muse was his cat! I don’t have a photo of Mr. Balenciaga’s feline, but this one seems to fit the bill!
The designer as muse: Jewelry designer Fulco di Verdura’s found his inspiration in Coco Chanel. Verunda was introduced to Chanel through Linda and Cole Porter, and began working for her as a textile designer in 1927. Recognizing his incredible talent, she asked him to update the personal jewelry she had been given by her ex-lovers. After seeing his impressive work, they began an 8 year collaboration and he was made head designer of Chanel jewelry. The couturier herself was his most influential muse.
The controversial icon: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their wedding day in 1937. Mainbocher drew inspiration from society’s most beautiful debutantes. C.Z. Guest and Babe Paley were among his New York muses, but perhaps his most famous muse was Wallis Simpson, the woman who won the heart of King Edward VIII . Mainbocher designed the dress she wore on her wedding day.
The shape of fashion: Although it was Elsa Schiaparelli who invented the padded shoulders, it was Gilbert Adrian who made them famous. His muse, Joan Crawford, made the “Adrian silhouette” her signature look.
Jungle Fever: According to the Dior website, Christian Dior admired his beloved muse, Mitzah Bricard, as much for her refined and distinguished taste as for her mysterious personality that inspired him throughout his career. Legend has it that Mitzah used to wear a panther print chiffon scarf at her wrist to hide a scar. Fascinated by her elegance, Mr Dior decided to include this magnificent Jungle motif in his collections from 1947 onwards. “Madame Bricard is one of the rare people for whom elegance is their sole reason for living,” Christian Dior. (source)
The Beauty of color: Pierre Cardin was inspired by Anjali Mendes before models of color graced the pages of fashion magzines. She would continue to inspire him for 12 years.
Mixing business with pleasure: When Andres Courrèges left Balenciaga’s fashion house to start his own, he took with him another employee, Coqueline Barriere, a lively, dark-haired woman who became his partner, muse and, in 1966, his wife. (*)
A style ransom: China Machado was the first non-Caucasian woman ever to appear in a major fashion magazine – a muse of Richard Avedon, he notoriously blackmailed Harper’s Bazaar into using his photos of her in their magazine! (*)
Style Revolutionary: When John Lennon was asked to describe her in three words he is said to have replied: ‘Hot, hot, hot, smart, smart, smart!’ One of Photographer David Bailey’s Muses,Vogue model Penelope Tree (*) has been compared to The Beatles for inspiring the swinging 60′s movement and for galvanizing a generation of young American females. Scars from late-onset acne ended her career in the early 1970s (*)
Factory made: Edie Sedgwick – the beautiful, iconic 1960s, tormented muse of Andy Warhol
The Dynamic Trio: Peggy Moffitt a premier 1960s actress, was a muse for the late fashion designer Rudi Gernreich. Moffitt’s husband, renowned photographer William Claxton, brought Gernreich’s designs to life in fashion editorials.
Costume for the day: The victim of a most dramatic reversal of fortune, and subject of the Mayles brother’s 1970s documentary, Grey Gardens, Edith Bouvier Beale, or “little Edie”, was a fashion muse to many designers, with her signature head wraps accented with fabulous brooches.
Not Amused : Yves Saint Laurent with muse Betty Calroux (right) and Loulou de la Falaise (*) Christened Louise Vava Lucia Henriette Le Bailly de La Falaise, “Loulou” was much more than a muse to Saint Laurent, designing jewelry and clothing for his line as well as her own after his death. Responding to a description of her as a Saint Laurent muse in 2010, La Falaise responded, “For me, a muse is someone who looks glamorous but is quite passive, whereas I was very hard-working. I worked from 9am to sometimes 9pm, or even 2am. I certainly wasn’t passive.”
High Society: Bronwen Pugh Astor (*) Viscountess Astor the muse to the couturier Pierre Balmain, who called her one of the most beautiful women he had ever met.