Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some Savoir Faire We Cannot do Without!

Bronwen Pugh, top model of the late 1950’s, the daughter of a Knight of the Realm, the muse of Pierre Balmain here was a girl who just reeked savoir faire!

Born Bronwen Pugh the daughter of Sir John Alun Pugh, she was the forerunner of today's supermodels in the 1950’s. Possessing such an unusual beauty people were really not sure what to make of her. The world of haute couture was decidedly shocked when Pierre Balmain, (the epitome of glamour and style in the 50’s) chose her as his muse. Balmain described her as one of the five most beautiful women he had ever met.

Her critics described her "as that Welsh girl who slinks along the runway with a fur over her shoulder looking as though she's just killed it and is taking it home to her mate".

Of such an unusual beauty her long tall body and somewhat angular features were the perfect frame for the fashions of the day.

In 1960 with the sort of paparazzi feeding frenzy that greets a Hollywood wedding she gave up her modeling career to marry the 3rd Viscount Astor, son of Nancy Astor, Upon her marriage Bronwen became the chatelaine of Cliveden, One of Britain’s great stately homes which her mother-in-law had made famous with her political salons.

Within three years of her marriage Bronwen's world was turned upside down and she was at the centre of one of the biggest political scandals of the century .The infamous Profumo Affair, which was said to have started at her swimming pool (unbeknownst to her) which brought down Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's government. Strangely enough another model Christine Keelor was at the centre of the scandal, and who can forget the famous photograph of Keelor posing nude that surfaced around the same period?

In 1966 Bronwen Astor's husband Viscount William Astor died prematurely, leaving her with two young daughters.

For years she has shunned the limelight, rarely requesting to be interviewed. "I felt labeled," Astor recalls, "that people were talking about me behind my back when I came into a room, that they all believed I was somehow to blame for the scandal." In her day, she explains, there had been a clear distinction between model-girls - well-brought-up young women who took to the catwalks - and models, often a polite phrase for those who were selling more than clothes. In the hysteria that accompanied Profumo, her past was equated with Keeler's present and she was ostracized. "Enough time has passed now," she says. "Profumo is history and I feel as if I have got over it."

*Pugh far right today.
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