Beauty Icons of the Century: A Painfully Beauteous Photoblog (pt. deux)’s Beauty Icons feature is “a monthly look at the faces who have made history.” No doubt about it, these stunnahs will likely remain in our collective subconscious for years to come.
Here are some highlights.

Debbie Harry
debie harry hammock
debbie harry stephen sprouse

Steven Sprouse knew it takes a certain type of woman to rock Day-Glo and Velcro, his cutting-edge additions to eighties fashion. Luckily for him, that woman—Harry—lived next door. The pair met in 1975 when Sprouse moved into her apartment building on the Bowery. Blondie’s self-titled debut album dropped the following year, and Sprouse decked the group’s frontwoman in slashed T-shirts, mini jumpers, and neon headbands. The asymmetrical one-strap dress she worked in the video for “Heart of Glass” was a Sprouse original, designed from a photo he took of static lines on his TV. In Harry, Sprouse found a figure whose downtown vibe was the real deal (this was before the Bowery came with a Whole Foods), and his experiments with the peroxide blonde vaulted her to icon status. Of course, that voice—and those cheekbones—didn’t hurt either.

Depression-Era Beauties

josephine baker nude
Josephine Baker, a.k.a. La Baker, poses in her usual choice of attire for a Vanity Fair photo shoot in 1929.

claudette colbert
Claudette Colbert leaves little to the imagination as Empress Poppaea in The Sign of the Cross, directed by Cecil B. DeMille in 1932. Her equally unclad companion rocks some old-school gladiators.

jean harlow
Jean Harlow, Hollywood’s original Blonde Bombshell, vamps it up for the camera and shows off her namesake flaxen curls in 1933. Rarrh.

Myrna Loy
“Queen of the Movies” Myrna Loy in the film that made her famous, 1934’s The Thin Man. Loyal fans later formed “Men Must Marry Myrna” clubs after Loy’s performance as “the perfect wife” in The Best Years of Our Lives. “Some perfect wife I am,” Loy said about similarities with her character. “I’ve been married four times, divorced four times, have no children, and can’t boil an egg.”

Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck, in 1937, gets ready to rumble in Breakfast for Two. Swing ’em, sister.

Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers glams up a soda fountain, in 1937. Bet you wish you were that straw, huh, gentlemen?

Carole Lombard
A timeless Carole Lombard, photographed in 1938, shows off her skeet-shooting style in frames to envy. Dick Cheney, watch your back.


Here I am. That was the only line uttered by Veruschka—famous enough in 1966 to play herself—in her classic scene from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup. But here was a case where action—those three minutes of leggy writhing on the studio floor for David Hemmings’ Bailey-esque fashion photographer—truly spoke louder than words. Forty-odd years later, the enigmatic German supermodel still looms large over the zeitgeist. Outsize both in persona and physical person (vital stats: 6’1″, size 13 feet), she is now the subject of a limited-edition, cloth-bound monograph from Assouline that fully illuminates her career and impact on the fashion world.

Anita Pallenberg
Anita Pallenberg
mick jagger and Anita Pallenberg

When Harmony Korine was looking for an actress to play a Queen of England impersonator in his quirky new flick Mister Lonely, he settled on an unexpected but inspired choice: Anita Pallenberg. If ever there was a First Lady of Rock, it would be the hard-partying, Italian-born beauty who held court over the Rolling Stones’ entourage—where pretty girls were as disposable as guitar picks—for nearly two decades. “Anita is a Rolling Stone,” said Jo Bergman, the band’s one-time assistant. “Her influence has been profound. She keeps things crazy.”

Carolina Herrera
caroline herrera
carolina herrera

With her deep-set eyes and alabaster skin, Carolina Herrera—who will receive the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America this June—could have stepped straight out of a Goya painting. Back in the sixties and seventies, as she jet-setted around the world with her second husband, Reinaldo, and a pack of high-profile pals like Mick Jagger and Jackie Onassis, she favored dramatic ensembles by then emerging Italian designers like Giorgio Armani and Valentino and French couturiers Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro. Dubbed “la bombe” by Diana Vreeland, Herrera’s patented blend of classic formality and Latin theatricality—heavy on the Latin theatricality—landed her in the International Best-Dressed List’s Hall of Fame.

Donyale Luna
Donyale Luna
Donyale Luna

“Back in Detroit I wasn’t considered beautiful or anything, but here I’m different,” Luna explained of her success. “They were looking for a new kind of model, a girl who is beautiful like you’ve never seen before.” With her spellbinding features, ultramarine contact lenses, and seemingly endless limbs (she was 6′ 2″), she certainly fit the bill. And at the height of her career, she charged a hefty day rate of $60 because, as she succinctly put it, “Being what I am, I can get what I ask.”
As much a child of the sixties as the face of it, Luna spent her off-hours partying at Andy Warhol’s Factory and canoodling with the likes of Rolling Stones rocker Brian Jones and sometime paramour Klaus Kinski.

More Beauty Icons including Clémence Poésy and Vivian Westwood after the jump.
Keep reading:

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep

Today, at 59, her skin is still as dewy as it was then, and no thanks to regular Restylane injections. “You have to embrace getting older,” Streep has admonished. Easy for she of the sky-high cheekbones to say. And don’t forget that hair. We can’t, not after seeing a brawny Robert Redford work it into a luxurious lather in Out of Africa. And lest Streep’s recent turn as a nun make you forget the star’s inimitable siren factor, recall her proclivity for playing the other woman (opposite Clint Eastwood in The Bridges of Madison County, for example, or Jeremy Irons in The French Lieutenant’s Woman).

Olga Kurylenko
Olga Kurylenko

…this raven-haired Ukrainian beauty—who stars as Camille opposite a perpetually snarling Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace (speaking of impenetrable names)—has been getting plenty of advance buzz as the Bond girl du jour. Even Russian Communists (yes, there are still some) have taken note of Kurylenko’s role, denouncing her as a traitor for conspiring with an anti-Soviet spy. Must be one convincing performance.

Vivian Westwood
Vivian Westwood

“The only reason I’m in fashion is to destroy the word
‘conformity,’ ” the designer once said. “Nothing’s interesting to me unless it’s got that element.”

Brooke Shields
brooke sheilds young
brook shields

She uttered some of the most memorable screen lines of all time—they just happened to be in a denim commercial. “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins?” a 15-year-old Brooke Shields famously asked America in that 1980 Calvin Klein jeans ad. The answer, of course: “Nothing.” By then, the teenage actress was no stranger to risqué roles, having bared all as a nubile lover in the cult classic The Blue Lagoon and, before that, as the daughter of a brothel-dwelling Susan Sarandon in Pretty Baby.

Clémence Poésy
clemence poesy

Charlotte Gainsbourg had better watch her back. Paris has a new It girl, Clémence Poésy. The 24-year-old favors a street-smart mix peppered with designer names like Balenciaga, Chloé, and Isabel Marant. Her perfectly unstudied style, coupled with a seriously enviable bone structure, have landed her in the front row at Chanel shows, on the cover of magazines (including the April 2007 i-D, cast by an admiring Nicolas Ghesquière), and now, in a coveted advertising campaign. Next spring, she’ll appear alongside Chloë Sevigny and Anja Rubik as the faces of Chloé’s newest fragrance.

Gloria Guiness
gloria guiness

Eleanor Lambert, the late style arbiter and founder of the Best-Dressed List, called Gloria Guinness “the most elegant woman in the world.” Truman Capote simply called her one of his swans. He wasn’t far off: The socialite and fashion plate had black velvet hair, strong brows, and a slender neck that won her comparisons to Nefertiti. Born in Mexico in 1912, she was married twice—first to a von Furstenberg and next to a grandson of the king of Egypt—before she landed Loel Guinness, an heir to the beer fortune. It’s said that she didn’t have a valid passport when they met, and, even more fabulously, that she was a spy.

all photos and captions courtesy of

Like this post? Find the rest of the iconic ladies here, including Amelia Earhardt, Björk, Charlotte Casiraghi, Vanessa Redgrave, Maria Felix, Iekeliene Stange, Louise Brooks, Sophia Coppola, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Seberg, Chloë Sevigny, Anna Piaggi, Marella Agnelli, Grace Jones, Lee Miller, Greta Garbo, Doris Duke, Renee Perle, Peggy Lipton, Francine Du Plessix Gray, Anjelica Huston, Elsa Peretti, Charlotte Rampling, Betty Catroux, Gemma Ward, Clara Bow, Françoise Hardy, Jane Fonda, Mary Quant, Brigitte Bardot, and Frida Kahlo.

Although, I do appreciate their less obvious choices, there are some glaring omissions still leaving black holes in this list (Audrey Who? A little someone with the last name of Moss?).

Can you guys enlighten me on who else is obviously M.I.A on this list? Possibly M.I.A herself?