Friday, July 17, 2009

Style Icon: Elsa Peretti

It's possible to say Elsa Peretti is having a fashion moment--an exhibition at the British Museum, new issues of old pieces--but this would demonstrate a crashing disregard for the timelessness that suffuses her designs for Tiffany. While the beans and open scroll hearts and molten silver amphorae serve as shorthands for 70s style, there's not a whiff of retro about them. Like the work of O'Keeffe (who also loved bones), her work hovers above fashion, enigmatic and untouched by the whims of the market.

So it comes as a bit of a shock to discover this image, by Helmut Newton, of Peretti in her modeling days. The bunny suit is by Halston, she's got killer looks, but still.

And I don't know about you, but when I saw this image, all of a sudden a certain middle-age pop star's decision to go with bunny ears at the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Ball suddenly became dreadfully referential. She should have gone with the cuff bracelet instead.

(Helmut Newton, 1975)

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