Perhaps the most photographed (and expensive) model of the 1950s, Bettina Graziani — née Simone Micheline Bodin, but rechristened by Jacques Fath — is the subject of a photo exhibition at Azzedine Alaïa’s gallery in Paris, after first opening at Galleria Carla Sozzani in Milan. Launched last night, the show includes well-known and lesser known works lensed by the highest echelons of glamour photography: Irving Penn, Willy Rizzo, Henry Clarke, Gordon Parks, Horst P. Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Doisneau, among many more.
A social butterfly if ever there were, Bettina was friendly with or worked with just about everyone in the industry (Coco Chanel, Emmanuel Ungaro, Valentino), although she’s most closely associated with Hubert de Givenchy. She began as a press agent at the house, but soon became its primary model and the couturier’s muse. Givenchy named his first postwar collection after her. Later she became pals with Azzedine Alaïa, to whom she donated many of the photographs in the collection on view.
Bettina is still a social butterfly. Everyone wanted to meet the Titian-haired woman, now in her 80s, who commanded the room in a burgundy Alaïa gown. She stuck close to Alaïa, whom she was among the first to support when he was just starting out. The mutual affection showed.
November 13, 2014 – January 11, 2015, Galerie Azzedine Alaïa, 18 rue de la Verrerie, Paris
Bettina on Vogue (1956)
Bettina by Jean Philippe Charbonnier (1953)
Bettina by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Bettina by Georges Dambier
Bettina by Arik Nepo (1951)
Bettina in Révillon, by Emile Savitry (1952)