SUPERMODELS AND PLAYBOY -THE EVOLUTION OF SEX SYMBOLS-

Newbridge Silverware and the free to enter Museum of Style Icons (MOSI) has just launched a new photographic exhibition that charts the evolution of some of the world’s most iconic sex symbols. Entitled, ‘Supermodels and Playboy- The Evolution of Sex Symbols’ it features original signed photographs and Playboy magazine covers of well-known models.  Famous names include Naomi Campbell, Bo Derek, Christy Turlington, Heidi Klum, Cindy Crawford, Rachel Hunter, Elle Macpherson, Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks, Adrianna Lima and Liz Hurley among others.

 

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From Marilyn Monroe the original pin-up girl of the 1950’s through to the supermodels who dominated the catwalks of the 1990’s, the exhibition provides an interesting insight into the evolution of the supermodel and some of the most famous women in the world.

 

The free exhibition includes original and signed ‘Playboy’ magazine covers of famous models and actresses who posed topless for the famous entertainment magazine.  The iconic actress, Bo Derek appears on several front covers, even posing with an Orangutan in one image when she was promoting her role in the movie, ‘Tarzan’.  Elle Macpherson appears on another cover in a pose that leaves no doubt as to why she is known as “The Body”. Rod Stewart’s wife, Rachel Hunter was also a Playboy model and the exhibition includes a signed cover of the topless blonde bombshell. The exhibition goes on to show that the models were becoming much more than just skinny clothes horses, they could move easily off the catwalks and onto the pages of Playboy with style, class and a sense of female empowerment.

A particularly important item in the exhibition is a signed copy of a limited-edition book called, ‘Sexy’ which features beautiful, tasteful images of supermodel, Naomi Campbell. Encased in a book case in the shape of a female torso the book is signed ‘Love and Respect, Naomi’ and includes some of the most incredible photographs ever taken of Naomi, often fully nude. With multiple artwork by British pop art luminary, Allen Jones and Naomi’s own autobiographical text, this is an intimate and breathtaking encounter with a beauty icon.

Also, on display is a signed photograph of Elizabeth Hurley in the famous Versace safety pin dress often referred to as “that dress”. The actress and model wore the garment when she accompanied Hugh Grant to the movie premier of ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ in 1994.  The dress is regarded as Versace’s best-known creation and is largely considered to be the turning point of Hurley’s career, catapulting her onto the global stage.  Held together by strategically placed gold safety pins, the dress was wide open at the front, from the neck down to at least halfway across the bust.   Hurley said in response to comments about the revealing nature of the dress, "Unlike many other designers, Versace designs clothes to celebrate the female form rather than eliminate it”.

The celebration of the supermodel was at an all-time high in 1989 when photographer Herb Ritts took the now-iconic shot of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Stephanie Seymour huddled together completely naked. The black and white photograph is signed by each of the five models and is on display in the exhibition. It captures a moment in time showing the top five models of the day whose beauty was almost ethereal. The supermodel had become ‘superhuman’ she was no longer just a body to dress - she was an enigma.

The world went wild for the supermodels and they were known by their first name alone. Today Campbell, Crawford, Evangelista, Patitz and Turlington are still regarded as the ‘Original Supermodels’. Many became the faces of cosmetics brands, they had their own television programs and fitness videos and their own lines of lingerie. Indeed, the lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret enlisted Tyra Banks, Gisele Bündchen, Alessandra Ambrosia, Heidi Klum, Karoline Kurkova and Adrianna Lima to be part of their lingerie show. Each model walked the catwalk with giant angel wings attached to their backs, wearing the sexy lingerie which Victoria’s Secret is known for.  There are several signed photographs of these famous Victoria’s Secret models in the exhibition including photographs of the girls both on and off the catwalk.Right throughout the exhibition the viewer is brought on a pictorial journey which starts with the original camera of photographer Andre De Dienes whose 1949 Rolleiflex camera was used by De Dienes in his 1949 Tobey / Jones Beach photo session with Marilyn Monroe.  The images show Marilyn in a bathing suit in playful mood posing with a red polka dot umbrella, the original of which is featured in the exhibition and is on permanent display in the Museum of Style Icons. The photographs showed the world a different side of a girl who was to become known as the greatest sex symbol of all time.  However, even though she was in a swimsuit, the shots of Marilyn taken by De Dienes, were fun and youthful rather than sexy.   De Dienes showed all the youth and vigour that Marilyn possessed.  He showed that she was just a girl, playing with the surf and the sand and she looked happy and natural. The display of images is accompanied by De Dienes’ original brown leather camera case with its original serial number still clearly visible.


There is also a photograph of Marilyn Monroe dressed as a ballerina and taken by photographer, Milton Greene.  The photograph was shot in October 1954 at Milton Greene’s New York studio. Designer Anne Klein sent various outfits to Milton’s studio for Marilyn to wear, however, they were two sizes too small. The pose in this sitting shows Marilyn trying to hold up the ill-fitting tulle and satin dress. This image captures Marilyn appearing angelic yet seductive, a look that became legendary and defined her appeal. With her toes pointed inward, a smile on her face, and a finger on her chin, Marilyn evokes the demure child playing dress up. This image was chosen as one of Time Life’s three most popular images of the 20th century.  The original photograph in the exhibition is signed by the photographer on the back and is inscribed to Sammy Davis Jnr in Greene’s handwriting, “To Sammy / Love.”

The overall exhibition is interesting in that it shows how some models became part of popular culture. Some of them even made history – Naomi Campbell became the first black model to appear on the front cover of Time, British Vogue, French Vogue and the September issue of American Vogue, traditionally the year’s biggest and most important issue. Others, such as Elizabeth Hurley successfully moved from the catwalk to the big screen with the help of an iconic, sexy dress and a memorable photograph.  Meanwhile Marilyn Monroe’s legacy and mystique continues to live on through the many iconic images taken of her during her short life. She was probably the original supermodel, the girl who paved the way for the catwalk queens of today. ‘Supermodels and Playboy- The Evolution of Sex Symbols’ runs until 31st May, 2019.

The Museum of Style Icons at Newbridge Silverware is located in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. It is open 7 days a week and is free to enter. The museum also features garments and interesting artefacts from several Hollywood stars, musicians, and celebrities. For more see www.visitnewbridgesilverware.com or call (045) 431301.

Only One Charade for Grant and Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

When Charade was released in December 1963, Pauline Kael, one of the most influential American film critics of her day in her review for the New Yorker magazine, commented; "I couldn't persuade friends to go to see Charade, which...was, I think, probably the best American film of last year."  The reason for the lack of public interest was that the world was a different place to what it had been just weeks before.  The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963 had sent Americans into despair. It was Charade starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant with a Henry Mancini score, Givenchy dresses, suspense, glamour and set in Paris, that offered the American public something they could lose themselves in even if only briefly during those dark days.

Behind the scenes, Hollywood was floundering, with the recent passing of cinematic greats such as Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable, and the retirement of Grace Kelly, the movie industry was, in some ways, losing its identity.  Sales of the recently invented television were on the rise which meant the public could be entertained in their own living rooms without having to go to the cinema. Screenwriter Peter Stone approached seven studios with the screenplay for Charade and was rejected by each in turn.  As a result, Stone decided to turn his screenplay into a novel which went on to be serialised in Redbook Magazine.  Seeing the screenplay in print increased interest and led each studio to express an interest in making the movie. 

With a small cast boasting four Academy Award winners and twice nominated Cary Grant, the movie, with Hepburn taking the lead role, was sure to be a hit.  The complexity of Stone’s script – a thrilling mix of comedy, multiple identities and romance – meant it became known as “the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never made.”  Prior to this Grant had turned down the chance to star opposite Hepburn in the movie Love In The Afternoon as he felt himself too old to be a credible love interest for her.  He had also been touted to play the lead role in Sabrina before the part went to Humphrey Bogart.  With a twenty-five-year age difference between himself and Hepburn, he persuaded Peter Stone to write it into the script that her character would do all the romantic running.

In fact, it seems Stone would take real life experiences between the two stars and include them in the movie, albeit with a little twist; in one scene Regina (Hepburn) spills ice cream on Peter’s (Grant) suit as they travel down the Seine on a boat, which was based on a real-life event where Hepburn spilled red wine on Grant at a party. 

When the movie finished filming, Grant was quoted as saying “All I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn” and over the following years his wish was almost granted. The following year Grant was offered the part of Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady with Hepburn as co-star and he also requested Hepburn star alongside him in Father Goose. However, it was not to be, and he would retire from acting in 1966.  Hepburn went on to make several more movies, and while the likes of Steal a Million, Two for the Road and Wait After Dark were well received, there is a magic in Charade that seems to be lacking in her later movies.

Newbridge Silverware have a black two piece cocktail outfit made up of a fitted sleeveless top and a matching skirt of black wool moss crepe, trimmed in imitation jet pailets and lined in black silk; a stunning cream wool dress, with a bateau neckline and a black waistband, and a beautiful mustard knee-length coat with large fabric covered buttons in contrasting black that Hepburn wears in the penultimate scene of the movie – all by Givenchy – on permanent display in the Museum of Style Icons.Entry is free.

Growing Up – Kurt Cobain

Growing Up – Kurt Cobain

Introverted, sensitive, shy and polite… not generally words you would associate with a rock star, yet this is just how people described Kurt Cobain after meeting him. Growing up in Aberdeen, a suburb of Seattle in the US, the son of Wendy and Donald Cobain, Kurt was a happy-go-lucky and loving child with an artistic streak. His creative talents extended from drawing his favourite Disney cartoon characters to playing musical instruments.  From the age of just two he was playing the piano and singing songs to entertain his family.

The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night

When the Beatles began filming A Hard Day’s Night on March 2nd, 1964 they had just returned from their first tour of America and ‘Beatlemania’ had well and truly gripped the world. An audience of over 70 million had tuned in to their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and they topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.  Although filmed in just six weeks, the movie captured Beatlemania at its most frenzied but also at its happiest.

A Day in the life of a Jewellery Designer

A Day in the life of a Jewellery Designer

This week we’ve decided to catch up with our Jewellery designer Nora to get an insight into her job here at Newbridge Silverware.

When and how did you join the team here at Newbridge Silverware?

Newbridge first appeared on my radar in 2013. At the time, I was a student at NCAD completing my degree in jewellery design. I had just participated in the jewellery design competition that was organised for the students. The competition gave us the opportunity to have our creations transformed into bespoke collections by Newbridge Silverware. My work impressed the team here so much that just a short time later I found myself my dream internship here. I loved every minute of it! So much so, that five years later and here I am as a permanent jewellery designer.