Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bettina, Model and Muse

Bettina, a fashion memoir by Guy Schoeller. I happened upon this book and was immediately taken by the picture on the dust jacket. It was striking in its stark simplicity and I had to have it.

At age 18 Simone Micheline Bodin (Bettina) left her home in Normandy to arrive in Paris were she lived with a family and looked after their children. She managed to secure an interview with Jacques Costet a young couturier who had recently opened his showrooms. That interview was to change her life. The young Simone was interested in a career in fashion design but Costet surprised her by saying, Come back this afternoon. You will start as a model! That as they say was only the beginning.

Paris was the ideal backdrop for fashion photographs!

Hats "top off" any ensemble!

Portraits by Irving Penn, Paris 1950

In her little rented studio on the Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Life Magazine interviews and photographs Bettina for a feature article. She is shown with her cat Agathe.
The Red Shoes dress by Jacques Fath (1950). After this photo session by Irving Penn, large theatrical stoles were often used. Published in American Vogue.

Photo by Jean Chevalier as seen by Elle readers shows Bettina wearing a shirt from Hubert de Givenchy's first collection in 1952. The blouse was known as the Bettina Blouse and she and it became a phenom. Bettina was shown wearing it in every magazine by all the leading photographers.

Jacques Fath, Spring 1951

Photo taken at a shoot organized by German Vogue 1996

Perhaps it was her fresh freckled face, her round cheeks and red hair, her natural poise, unaffected manner and refreshing inexperience that combined to make Bettina (so nicknamed by Jacques Fath) a household name and the most famous French model of the 1950s.

Thanks again Fifi for a fun Fifi’s Fashionable Friday .

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and of course be sure to make it tres fashionable!


  1. Bonjour Bonnie-
    What a very nice post! I should check out that book. Thanks for the tip. Bon week-end!

  2. What a lovely post and a sort of "Cinderella" story...I always love one of those!
    Happy Spring!

  3. This is a VERY FASHIONABLE post... thanks for playing along again!

  4. Wow Bonnie...I loved this post! It was fascinating! You know I love anything frenchy, but she has quite a story, doesn't she? Have a great weekend...Debbie

  5. Marie, Kathleen, Fifi and "Prof," thanks so much for taking the rtime to visit! Enjoy your weekend! Bonnie :)

  6. Wow! I am so glad to find an article about Bettina! No one seems to know who she is these days. Thank you.