Bettina Graziani, born Simone Micheline Bodin in France on the eighth Might 1925 was a supermodel of the 1940s and 50s. A poet, composer and knitwear designer who not directly impressed the form of a fragrance bottle, she glided by the mononym of Bettina.
Bettina outlined post-war glamour, and epitomised the concept of a French mannequin. She was in style “not solely with the editors and photographers however with each man who ever dreamed of assembly a French model,” as editor Bettina Ballard remembered in her memoirs.
Exquisitely petit and stylish
All people on the time had heard of Bettina and he or she’s nonetheless well-known right this moment. She was photographed by Irving Penn, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gordon Parks, and Henry Clarke and appeared in Vogue journal, Elle, Image Put up, L’Officiel, and Mode du Jour.
Bettina was described as a freckle-faced rail employee’s daughter from Normandy. This may need been true, however she was additionally an exquisitely petit and stylish girl with a hand-span waist and hourglass form, auburn hair and an unusually playful expression for the time, which often demanded froideur from its fashions.
Her father having abandoned the household, she was introduced up by her mom. She spent her childhood in Normandy and the struggle years on the security of her grandmother’s home in Angers. However as a teen, she turned transfixed by her sister Catherine’s type. Catherine would drop in carrying broad padded shoulders and impossibly glamorous hair. Simone went to Paris to develop into a part of that pretty style world that Catherine represented.
A Trend Character
Her profession started on the age of 18. She wearing her Sunday finest and took her portfolio of style sketches to the younger designer Jacques Costet. He solely glanced on the portfolio however took a more durable take a look at the lady carrying it, and placing her in a protracted, inexperienced gown, requested her to stroll.
She had by no means worn a night robe earlier than and had no thought how a mannequin may stroll. Maybe that was what made her so distinctive. Her stroll was very quick and peppy; she transfixed the room when she walked for designers. And she or he by no means did get into carrying excessive style: her off-duty look was males’s shirts, lengthy skirts and flat sneakers.
“I feel, on reflection, I had a unique type,” says Bettina. “As a result of I can’t say I used to be probably the most stunning. It’s not a query of magnificence. You must have a persona. And it’s all concerning the expression of the physique.”
Costet was impressed by Bettina (who was nonetheless named Simone on the time). He created a set primarily based on her spirit, which included a pink satin negligee worn over broad black velvet trousers.
In 1946 on the age of 21, she married Gilbert “Benno” Graziani, a French photographer and reporter. They went on honeymoon however once they returned, Costet’s home had closed.
Changing into Bettina Graziani
Bettina then went to work for Lucian Lelong. “A colourless time in my reminiscence”. Assembly her at Lelong’s, Christian Dior tried to poach her as a home mannequin, however she refused. She went to work at Jaques Fath as an alternative. “We have already got a Simone; you look to me like a Bettina,” he introduced, launching her into stratospheric fame alongside together with her new title. He made 30 seems for her within the first season she got here to work for him. “The clothes had persona. Every one.” She turned his muse, mannequin and the director of the salon.
“Jacques Fath was a star,” she remembers. “He was vigorous, and he cherished life. He cherished all the pieces that was ‘glamour.’”
She additionally remembered his brilliance. He got here again from the US with a person’s military shirt, and taking it into the workshop, re-made it in fluid satin. Bettina was photographed by Henry Clark carrying it in 1949. It was the luxurious sportswear look, 20 years earlier than Yves Saint Laurent would wow the world together with his safari jackets.
Fath additionally determined that Bettina ought to have a boy’s crew minimize, and he or she additionally made the covers of the magazines with that and her personal informal garments.
Bettina Graziani in America
In 1950 she divorced Graziani and moved to New York. By this time, she was a wanted photographic in addition to home mannequin. She turned a face on the Ford mannequin company, which gave her more cash, however much less freedom. and her subsequent associate was an American screenwriter referred to as Peter Viertel. She loved operating with the movie crowd greater than the style one, and shortly returned to France, however not earlier than she had licenced her personal “Bettina” knitwear vary.
When Hubert de Givenchy arrange his atelier, he named his first assortment after her in 1952 and he or she turned not solely a mannequin for him but in addition his press agent. Givenchy was an assistant of Fath’s and so he knew she might assist him launch his model. In his early collections, he was impressed by Bettina’s private type. She walked barefoot in cotton separates nothing like the luxurious couture that Paris anticipated. The “Bettina shirt”, turned a finest promoting and much-copied design, and was the inspiration for the bottle form for the profitable Givenchy fragrance “Amarige”.
In 1955 on assembly Prince Aly Khan, the United Nations ambassador from Pakistan she retired from modelling. He requested she achieve this and promised a lifetime of luxurious domesticity as an alternative. In 1960, the couple, by now engaged, had been in a automobile accident. Bettina was pregnant and later miscarried. Prince Kahn died within the crash.
In 1964 Bettina Graziani wrote an autobiography, Bettina par Bettina.
She returned to the catwalk one final time, on the age of 42 in 1967 for Chanel. It was enjoyable to do it as soon as. I’ll by no means do it once more.” Chanel had informed her she wanted to shed extra pounds and steered her personal regime, that of not consuming on the weekend.
Within the 70s, Bettina turned the director of high fashion at each Emanuel Ungaro, and Valentino. She wrote poetry, composed music, and acted, showing in Bete Balanco in 1984, and La Folie Douce, in 1994.
In 2010 she was appointed France’s Order of Arts and Letters.
Bettina Graziani died in 2015 on the age of 89, stunning and fascinating to the top.