1960s iconic face Veruschka
German model, actress, and artist with a Russian name Veruschka, Vera, was an iconic face of the 1960s. Veruschka is the diminutive of “Faith” (Vera) in Russian. At the time when at the shooting there weren’t even make-up artists and hairdressers (models did it all themselves), she showed a real talent of an image maker, inventing a name and a story to bring interest to her.
Veruschka – a sort of Russian-emigre spy superhuman from the closed world of the winners. Her brilliant image became so popular that the famous photographers stood in line to work with Veruschka. Irving Penn, one of the most famous photographers, was waiting for 3 weeks for his turn to shoot Veruschka. This image has always been the only instrument for achieving the goals, the only part of Vera von Lendorf herself.
“When I arrived in New York, I was the simple girl Vera. I showed pictures of the portfolio, they said:” Very nice, thank you,” and called the following girl. Even then I realized that this will not work: I can be the girl no one will forget. And it’s not beauty – there are a lot of beautiful girls. I went back to New York, Veruschka, a girl from Eastern Europe. When I was asked for the portfolio, I would say, “Why do you need someone else’s picture? I want to see what you can do . “I decided to behave differently, not like all models with permanent smile and agree on everything. It was not a lie, but a game of a new character. This character was dressed in black, wore flat shoes, moved slowly – none was dressed like me”, said in one interview interview with Veruschka von Lehndorff.
During the study Vera has changed 13 schools, and about this period of her life is known not much: general word “wandering” and “deprivation”, and only in one interview Veruschka recalls that at that time she often hid from everyone in the woods – simply because that was always scared and did not want to talk.
After school Vera studied art in Hamburg and was planning to become an artist – and it was there that lady friend invited her to make a few photos for the magazine Constanze. Veruschka first appeared on the cover – the first, but still a small step of big importance.
She then moved to Florence, where, on the stairs of the palace Uffizi, beautiful 20-year-old Aryan girl Vera was noticed by photographer Ugo Mulas. “Blondes in Italy enjoyed wild success. People quit their jobs just to look at them “- says the owner of mop of golden hair.
The maintenance of the new image in the modeling industry has also promoted Salvador Dali. In 1966, aged surrealist arranged eccentric action involved in it bare Veruschka, bathed in shaving foam from newfangled cans. After this presentation in Veruschka have seen some supernatural being, able to transform into anything. So Dali infected Veruschka with body art and love of bodily transformations. Vera herself became an independent artist, engaged in body art. Over the next ten years, she, with an inexhaustible enthusiasm will paint herself not only into exotic animals, gangsters, homeless, Hollywood stars, plants, clouds of poisonous caterpillars, but also in the rocks or bales of rags.
Here is what her first agent Dorian Leigh told about Vera:
“She was like a deer, seemed awkward and graceful at the same time. Her mother wanted me to make a model of a little sister of Vera. She was less in growth, her hair was lighter and more beautiful face, and yet she was not so great, as Vera. The next day, Charlotte March took a few photos and get something unheard of!”
“I decided to become a completely different person. And got pleasure from it. I started to invent this new person – I decided to become Veruschka. Veruschka I was called as a child. It means “little faith.” (Vera in Russian means “Faith”) And since I was always too high, I thought it would be fun to be called Little Faith. And it was great to have a Russian name, because I was, and was from the East.”
In 1966, Veruschka posed for her first picture, where her body was nothing but … paint. It was in Kenya, and she painted herself with black shoe polish and then laundered it for weeks. But for good pictures, especially if you work in a free creative graphics, it was worth of it. Her whole future life somehow illustrates the most stunning images of different photographers, where the chameleon model demonstrates the wonders of mimicry in space.
In the face of this “atypical model” is a mystery, and it was an amazing rare gift, some alien plastic. You can not take your eyes off the long fingers of her hands, off the outlines of her flexible body. Not by chance the camera often cought her jump – it seems as if young Veruschka was able to fly.
Veruschka was of that breed of artists who turn their lives in an act of art. Because of it she pretty quickly changed clothes from the leading houses to the body art. She painted her naked body, almost indistinguishable merging with stones, trees, grass, walls covered with crumbling plaster. She turned into different wild animals gracefully clung to the branches. Body art on Veruschka – is the most impressive part of her. We see the origins, which today is followed by many imitators.
For the decade career, model Veruschka have accumulated more than eight hundred magazine covers, including at least eleven – Covers of Vogue. In the fashion world, this is equivalent to eleven “Oscars”, but Vera von Lendorff left her mark in the movie, too: her five-minute appearance in Antonioni’s film “Blow” (she is in the film with the words “Here I am”) was recognized as the sexiest scene in cinema history.
Reflection. The desire to realize herself in the world and a world in herself, to go beyond the self, the absolute lack of self-centeredness, peculiar stars – these qualities have allowed Vera von Lendorf lifelong create masterpieces, to be a real woman, even in her 70s, without resorting to plastic Surgery. Looking at her figure – lean and wrinkled face, I see no signs of the time, and the inner light and a plurality of those entities that were woven into a single person, but also very earth and “out of time”.
“In my life, there were times of depression … But if you manage to get out of this hell, that recovery becomes a real revival, a new beginning. Only living darkest moments, you begin to appreciate the light … My characteristic – a melancholy expression. Almost always it had a decadent sadness print. And it is not only in the aesthetics of melancholy. To what extent it was peculiar, and to me the most. Before the camera, I have even exaggerated my confusion and bewilderment. Diana Freeland could not tolerate this and said, Veruschka, do not look into the future, live here and now, be happy. But I still do not know how … ”
Veruschka was one of the people, who could erase the line between fashion and art. After all, before there could be no question that fashion entered the art gallery, fashion was merely an instrument of sale of goods. I think one of the secrets of photos of Veruschka that in them we can see the image, more tenacious than the fashion elements of costume, hair and makeup. Now these demands – “tell the story”, “smiling eyes” – the first thing they teach models. But at the time they were born intuitive, in creative union of the photographer and the model.
“I soon got bored with Fashion. I wanted to do something different. After Salvador Dali drew on me with shaving foam, I thought – and how else I can use the body in art … I do not mind to be called a model. But I never felt like a normal model. In the end, the model – is the one who sells the products of others … But for me it was not the goal. .. I thought only about how to create beautiful paintings. More than anything else … We invented images and patterns, formed the fashion. Its current creators and photographers inspired by our discoveries so far – so much embedded in each image. During shots, I always wondered – what mood is here, where I am here and who I am, why … ”