11 January 2010

DEVASTATING BEAUTY

louise dahl wolfe
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"Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. 
God and the Devil are fighting there, 
and the battlefield is the heart of Man."
Dostoevsky

When posing a question to the wonderfully creative mind best be clear & succinct.
OR
Do what I did & pose it in a  relaxed & limitless way and you get a wildly different free flowing of ideas. This is the only way to go with  my astute PANEL of Aesthetes. It is fascinating to a the question to people and get such varied responses.

"Without Emotion there is No Beauty"
Diana Vreeland

“I think if I weren't so beautiful, maybe, 
I'd have more character.”
 Jerry Hall


Name the 10 Most Devastating Beauties of the 
20th century (1900-2000). 
Of course-right there- a crossover of dates occurs. Many of those BEAUTIES named who peaked (as it were) were born prior to the change in the 20th century. It is perhaps for that very reason they have such appeal-taking in both centuries, the links to past beauty ideals and the great changes that gave way to a new one.

But wait, then to make matters more free flowing , I added-
"If 10 don't come to mind-
Just a few strong picks!" 
Getting a real consensus just flew out the window, But Did I Ever Get Great Names, in abundance & in the singular - some submitting more than 10, some 10, some just 1.
I hope the WOMEN & MEN that appear on this list will find a place on these blogs so more can be known about them.

Each One of the assembled PANEL appears on my List of Blogs To Read.


THE PANEL of AESTHETES


 A BLOOMSBURY LIFE
AN AESTHETE'S LAMENT
ARCHITECT DESIGN
ELIZABETH AVEDON
EMILY EVANS EERDMANS
(IN)DECOROUS TASTE
MODEL'S OWN
PARIS ORIGINALS
LE STYLE ET LE MATIERE
LUCINDAVILLE
ROSE C'EST LA VIE
THE BLUSHING HOSTESS ENTERTAINS
THE HOUSE OF BEAUTY & CULTURE
 ME-LITTLE AUGURY
(I did make my list prior to asking so as not to be unduly influenced by better answers, it was hard)

It's interesting to ponder that many of the most Stylish are not necessarily the most Beautiful in terms of pure physical appeal. I always error on the Style side if truth be told-but DEVASTATING as a defining characteristic made me hesitate on some of my initial jottings. It can be difficult to sort through the Classic, the Devastating, the Jolie laide.

Here &  in several upcoming episodes are the results-I hope you enjoy.


horst

Some Excerpts from the PANEL about their approach & A DEVASTATING BEAUTY from each of them- Just revealing ONE mind you- No being swayed by your favourite Aesthete, though I admit- 
 YES, it was damn hard NOT TO BE-
Even after the list topped 100- I still found myself saying- How did I NOT KNOW about her, or I should have thought of Him.
"I thought of "devastating beauty" as a femme fatale at first, but then I said to myself that I was also swept off my feet by graceful,gentle beauty -so I've included two of that sort as well ! I think these women who impress us through their image need no words to explain their beauty; they are riveting to us according to our own aesthetic sense - or despite it. No matter the personality of the woman behind the face and silhouette, her special energy speaks physically."
                  le style et le matiere
one of le style's picks- Nusch Eluard- acrobat, actress, model, Muse to Man Ray, Dora Maar, and all.



"I am attracted to the kind of beauty that misses the mark of popular perfection—there's much to be said for the allure of a nose whose character has been left unmolested by the surgeon's knife, for instance. But when I think real beauty, I think carriage. 'She walks in beauty like the night' surely referenced posture as well as pulchritude. You can't be beautiful and walk like a slob."~AN AESTHETE'S LAMENT
Princess Fawzia-born Princess Fawzia of Egypt and Sudan,
Queen of Iran 1941 to 1948, Cecil Beaton described her as VENUS.
 


  "I loved the "jolie -laide post as many of my great beauties fall into that category."
 LUCINDAVILLE
One of her picks- Tallulah Bankhead- born down South  in the states, wicked actress
& notoriously wicked woman



"One would assume this an easy task, in fact it is actually quite difficult.On closer inspection some of my initial choices (France Nuyen, Gloria Guinness, and Dina Merrill among them) did not hold up to scrutiny."
the House Of Beauty and Culture
Capucine- a HOBAC selection, "just always looked so damned well bred!"



"All of my beauties were intimately acquainted with devastation, either through their own actions or as an indirect result of them." Lisa of A Bloomsbury Life( Bloomsbury)
Evelyn Nesbit- chorus girl, the girl in Standford White's red velvet swing 




 "Having been a Latin major in college, the first thing I think of when I think about what does "devastating" mean is the word's roots in vasto, vastare translating to "to lay waste to"....so with the idea of a beauty that has laid waste to her time's conventional conception of beauty".    Emily Evans Erdmans ( EEE)
Coco Chanel-designer extraordinaire, "the first modern woman of style."



"I like EEE's thoughts on the word devastating. The first thing that came to my mind was the power and aggression associated with the word devastating. That quality is extremely alluring... so all of the people that came to mind were people who embody strength in some way."

Lauren of (In)Decorous Taste (InDecorous)
NUREYEV one of the MEN that made the list and rightly so




"What about considering MEN?"
Debra of PARIS ORIGINALS( PARIS O)
though Debra did select Men- she ALSO zeroed in on GARBO,
AH, GARBO.

OF COURSE, OF COURSE-MEN! YES, definitely!
How could I refuse them anything?



 Now that is a face- ROSE C'EST LA VIE said of Vivien Leigh "smoulderingly pretty."



 Elizabeth Avedon said "The aristocratic beauty of Donna Marella Agnelli IS devastatingly beautiful."



Stefan of Architect Design said " I have to state the obvious, GRACE KELLY. While her beauty and glamour are so in your face, perhaps conventional even, it is the utter perfection of her cool classicism that is DEVASTATING."




"Perhaps an off choice" says Catherine of The Blushing Hostess Entertains but Vanessa Williams "is not only a remarkable beauty, but also a choice for her ability to transcend the photographs that nearly ruined her."



Florinda Bolkan, international Brazilian actress, is one of gorgeous model Ulla's of Model's Own picks. I knew she would have some new faces to consider. She said "I think I have a few interesting ladies but have a hard time narrowing down the choices." 

Lastly one of my own DEVASTATING BEAUTIES- TINA CHOW



There is something haunting in all the images of Tina Chow I see. As style.com puts it-"She was never a mainstream beauty." Vulnerable, penetrating, winsome, exotic-all in one FACE. Tina Chow - ultimately, tragically died in 1992 at age 41 of AIDS.
In order to make some-well-order of the MANY Names-Well over 100, I've created categories.As you might suspect, there were few, but there were a FEW, crossover names.


 "Beauty can be isolating."
Richard Avedon


Horst image


THE CAST
of

DEVASTATING BEAUTY
THE SOCIALITES
THE MODELS
THE ROYALS

THE MEN
THE ARTISTS

Writers, Dancers,Singers, Painters


THE MUSES
THE DESIGNERS
THE ACTRESSES


Here's a Peak.Familiar? Remember there is a List of Over 100 Names coming-
Any guesses?










MORE FACES & THE LIST COMING NEXT. Do weigh in-
.

.

31 comments:

  1. Thanks LA what an interesting insight, not only into some new and unfamiliar names but also into the paneland their individual choices and why, x

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  2. Thanks LA what an interesting insight, not only into some new and unfamiliar names but also into the paneland their individual choices and why, x

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  3. I would add Jackie O and Lauren Hutton -
    pve

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  4. Gaye. What a remarkable post and concept, thank you for including me. I should mention, while she is remarkable in photography, and gratefully a woman of color in this line up (well done on Tina Chow, as well!), she was a local girl who grew up not far from us in Westchester: She is far more devastating in person and even more extraordinary inside. I thank you for considering to include her and my thoughts on your fine topic.

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  5. DYNAMITE!! this one raises the bar to a whole new level. Great.

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  6. I can't wait to see who everyone chose -already so enlightening!

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  7. I also love Ashley Judd. She has a wonderful,classic, timeless look. Repose of the soul. Christy Turlington is also up there.

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  8. Little Augury, impressive as always and awaiting the list before making my list.

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  9. Thanks for stopping in- I think the list will be illuminating. Jackie, LH would be great additions. I never knew there were so many beauties. One thing I have had REAFFIRMED is- it's all in the Eye of the Beholder!

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  10. Shakespeare in Love's Labours Lost, 1588:
    Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
    Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues.

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  11. I would like to commend you for TINA CHOW...who was THE Icon of last part of the 20thC, not only for her untimely death, but her collection of Couture, her personal experiences with KARL, YVES, ROMEO, and too many artists to mention. She was THE CHOW,for they came for to see HER - not Mr. Chow...what a combo, German-American and Japanese, of course, WE ALL LOVE HER JEWELRY for its spirtual aspects aside from its Crystal beauty.

    Love Vanessa Williams, even today, she is the epitome of Beauty in the entertainment biz...what would her life have been at Monticello with Thomas Jefferson? She is smashing!

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  12. Regina Joi - so interesting that you mention Monticello as I am running a post on that subject tomorrow and Gaye's timing was - very typically - perfect. Indeed.

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  13. Gaye,

    I'll just hop in and second Regina Joi's thoughts on one of my top picks : Tina Chow.

    She was my personal hero in the 80's.
    There was even a time when I'd run every wardrobe choice through the
    TinaTest: Would WWTD?

    One day in Bergdorf's I spotted her browsing near her jewelry display and introduced myself to let her know how much I loved the rutilated quartz Temple Ring I'd recently purchased. When I expressed a desire to be able to wear the ring as an amulet on a cord, she loved the idea and said she knew just the perfect cord for it ... . it would be handwoven by a man in Tokyo and she would send it to me.

    Two months later there arrived a beautiful envelope in my mail. Wrapped inside was a fine silk cord and a dear note from Tina.

    I treasure them to this day.

    Judith

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  14. OMG - How did I ever forget Tina Chow and Joan Chen - she is truly one of the most beautiful.... I need to add about 10 more...

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  15. Regina Joi- Tina Chow seemed to have it - just as I described her. She was out there it would seem drinking it all in but with reserve-dont know if this is tre. She draws one in to any photograph I have seen of her.G

    Judith- a great story, I think it confirms some ideas I have about her. I hope her daughter will put together a beautiful book about her- she needs to be known to the ever growing mess of tasteless fashion stylist.
    G

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  16. Lucindaville- See I just like I said-right? Wait til you see that LIST. I have much to learn about wonderful women I never knew existed. Someone needs to write an Encyclopedia of the sort. The Tapert books, that I do love-I have found over the years, explore, but not nearly enough. Beaton's Glass of Fashion- still the best around,but goodness updates are desperately needed! GT

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  17. Gee...a Temple Ring carved of Rutilated Quartz and then hung on a Silken Cord braided by a Japanese man, all done by request personally by Tina Chow. What a wonderful story, and what a NECKLACE. Maybe one day, you would show US this Magical Ring...hmmm?

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  18. Judith- I would love it-if as an off shoot of this you do post about Tina Chow, There are some beautiful images from Vogue87 online to use along with your special story and ring. pgt

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  19. Tina Chow. I'm speechless...She was pure magic. You are brilliant for remembering.

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  20. Gorgeous faces in this post and some quite unfamiliar. I agree about beauty being in the eye of the beholder and that is always what makes it a fascinating topic. It does seem the lives talents come into play and color our thoughts. I can not wait to see the run down and would especially love to see the individual lists. Any chance? AW

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  21. EA- would love to know of your encounters with Tina Chow if any? She was exquisite.

    AW- I will open my list up, and perhaps another of the groups at some point. It is hard to separate the story from the face-for better or worse. GT

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  22. RJ & la -
    A Tina follow up .. .
    love it. Know that I'm going through my little treasure chests to locate the letter and cord.
    I just hope my addled memory can
    put together enough brain cells to find it!
    Jjj

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  23. Fawzia wasn't the last Queen of Iran; Soraya and Farah (who was eventually named Empress) followed her.

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  24. thanks Anon 3:38, I will amend that. GT

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  25. I think the collective beauty of the Mitford sisters is devastating, particularly when taking in William Acton's portraits of them.

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  26. Yes Amy- I do agree,of the sisters Diana made the list of 100-that I have posted Jan 13-weds. The portrait of Diana is quite something-I included that in the Jan 12th post Devastating Beauty as Goddess.pgt

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  27. I agree with whoever said Ashley Judd - she's stunning and, of course, Angelina Jolie - not just for her beauty but her whirlwind personality and her drive to do some good in the world.

    Pretty much any woman though who refuses to go under the knife and makes themselves beautiful by using what they already have. Too many women today think wearing slutty clothing is 'beautiful' yet when you look at all these women you showcase, not one of them does and they far outshine most of today's 'beautiful women'.

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  28. AIC- very true on all counts. it seems the earlier women start having little nips, tucks-the more ODD they start looking as they age. pgt

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  29. Your blog has rendered my typing fingers speechless !
    Just stunning

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  30. ..ref.Bolkan:Uma beleza diferente;selvagem...

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  31. ..Não há beleza extraordinária..sem que haja riqueza na harmonia dos traços.!.
    É.!. Bacon sintetizou bem . . .

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