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Edited by on October 3 2011 at 1:02 PM

Marisa Berenson has led the kind of charmed, impossibly chic and devastatingly fashionable life that is all but impossible to replicate today.  If only because charm, chicness and style are all but impossible to find today. Having lived her entire life in front of the camera — Marisa’s christening portrait appeared in Vogue and she covered Elle magazine with sister Berinthia “Berry” Berenson when she was five – guest editor and longtime friend Steven Meisel collected some of Berenson’s most iconic photographs, as well as personal pics of friends and families, in Rizzoli‘s goregous new tome, Marisa Berenson: A Life in Pictures (2011). 

The granddaughter of one of the pillars of Italian couture, Elsa Schiaparelli, Marisa was “invented” by legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland at the age of sixteen, and became one of the most prolific models of the 60s and 70s. She graced every cover from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to Newsweek and Time and worked with the greatest photographers of the 20th century including Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton. Then in the 70s, she embarked on a successful film career, along the way becoming, as Yves Saint Laurent dubbed her, “the girl of the seventies.” Featuring an introduction by aspiring popstar Hamish Bowles and a conversation with BFF for the last four decades or so, Diane von Furstenberg, Marisa Berenson: A Life in Pictures, gives insight into one of the most fabulous women to step in front of a camera lens.

What owning this book says about you: “I like my ‘It’ girls the way I like my drugs: pure, uncut and from the 70s.” Marisa Berenson’s rise to “It” status was pre-destined — glamour is literally in her blood — and she did it so effortlessly and so well that any girls aspiring to “It” today are but pale imitations. I’m looking at you, every socialite/DJ with a fashion fixation.

What will people say?!: “Someone loves them some artistic nudes and/or just loves a good boob shot.” True, Marisa Berenson had no problem flaunting what her mother, The Countess Maria Luisa Yvonne Radha de Wendt de Kerlor — a.k.a. Gogo — gave her, though her grandmother certainly did. After seeing a nipple-bearing photo by Arnaud de Rosnay, Schiap, according to Berenson, “was so furious that she practically threw me out of the house and disowned me.” But as DVF so astutely pointed out, “to show your tits was not a big deal at the time. To be young in the seventies was quite different.” Different i.e. awesome.

How this book will make your fashion brain grow: Berenson’s dynamic and daring photos offer a master class in brilliant fashion photography and moreover, in brilliant fashion photographers.

If you like this, you’ll love: Death in Venice (1971), Cabaret (1972), Barry Lyndon (1975) and I Am Love (2009) – Marisa’s work as an actress is almost as impressive as her modeling, particularly her first few films from the 70s. And 2009′s I Am Love proved that, even well into her 60s, she’s still an electrifying and stunning presence.

Marisa Berenson with many shell headdress is worn to complement the warm Mediterranean make-up up colors, like the different shades of blue circling the eyes. She is also wearing a light blue sheer dress


Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester at fashionindie.com