Thursday, January 12, 2012

Defining Fabulous: Model and Educator Roanne Nestbitt

While some models have been lauded as legendary and ground breaking, little is known or is hardly ever written about those who have lapsed into relative obscurity with little or no fanfare. They were the firsts when many didn't recognize them as being firsts in regards to Herstory. I've been interested to learn as much as I can about Roanne Nesbitt after learning about her modeling career in Paris during the `60s and `70s and seeing her photos in vintage American and French fashion publications and archives.

Many have only learned of Roanne because of her iconic photograph (see below) that was photographed for LIFE magazine by the legendary Yale Joel. Roanne began her career in modeling in her home town of Chicago, Illinois where she came from a very prominent family of educators and activists.

I honestly believe that Roanne was one of the models who modeled for Paco Rabannes controversial first showing here in the USA. Roanne modeled both extensively in NYC and in Paris for André Courrèges and other Paris based designers before returning back to the USA and continuing her teaching career to empower youngsters in inner-city Chicago in hopes of a better life.

Sadly, Roanne died tragically at the hands of her estranged husband in 1973 at the age of  26 after being stabbed to death. I'm sure her imagery is on the negatives of several well known photographers from here to France, but we'll never know.
Roanne Nesbit and Carol LaBrie shot by Gianni Penati for VOGUE. 

Roanne in ad from the '70s.

For L'Officiel 1969 shot by Patrick Bertrand.

From VOGUE Paris 

Photos: Ciao Vogue| My Own Archives|L'Officiel


I. M. Lost said...

I have two Kodak slides I took of Roanne when she visited (I think her aunt's summer place - or an aunt of one of her friends) in 1963, when she was 16, in Fox Lake, Wisconsin. I've never forgotten this strikingly beautiful girl/woman. I didn't know of her death until I read this blog in 2014. These two slides are among my most cherished possessions as a photographer. They're profiles of her wearing a blue kerchief and a light shirt, next to a large tree trunk.

hilde c said...

I miss Roanne Nestbitt she was my friend. Please mention her when you talk about fashion first!


Related Posts with Thumbnails