After the interest in Marilyn Monroe’s measurements (and the debate about whether she was really a size 16) I thought it would be interesting to look at the measurements of some of the supermodels of the 1950s and see how they compared.
I assumed models of the fifties would all be very much the same size and shape, but not at all! Just the difference in height is really surprising, Dorian Leigh was only 5 feet 5 inches, whereas Wilhelmina Cooper was 5 feet 11!
Dovima was one of the most popular models of the 1950s and (along with Lisa Fonsagrives and Dorian Leigh) has been called the first supermodel.
Height: 5 feet 8 1/2 inches
Jean Patchett’s measurements
Famous for the beauty spot near her right eye, Jean Patchett had more fashion covers than any other model in history.
Height 5 feet 9 inches
Wilhelmina Cooper’s measurements
Cooper was a Dutch model who was popular in the 1950s and 60s and who later opened her own modelling agency. She holds the record for the most covers on American Vogue appearing 28 times.
Height: 5 feet 11 inches
Dorian Leigh’s measurements
Another model who lays claim to the title of first supermodel, Dorian Leigh was the older sister of Suzy Parker. She was also supposedly the inspiration behind Audrey Hepburn’s character of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffanys.
Above: Dorian Leigh photographed wearing a Balenciaga gown by Irving Penn 1950.
Height: 5 feet 5 inches
Sadly I can’t find the measurements for Dorian Leigh, so if anybody has them could they let me know?
Photo source and copyright: Some rights reserved by and used with kind permission from dovima_is_devine_II
Suzy Parker’s measurements
Suzy Parker was the little sister of the already famous model Dorian Leigh. She was signed to the books of The Ford Modeling Agency when Dorian said she would sign for them if they also took her little sister unseen. They were astonished that petite, dark haired Dorian’s sister was much taller, big boned and red headed with freckles. Suzy Parker went on to be one of the top models of the 1950s eclipsing her sister.
Height: 5 feet 10 inches
Carmen Dell’Orefice’s measurements
Carmen Dell’Orefice had her very first Vogue cover aged 15 and is still modelling now, earning her the title of World’s Oldest Working Model. You can see what she looks like now on her website, she looks fabulous! I’m not sure whether the measurements below are her measurements now, or in the 1950s, or in fact whether she still has the same measurements…?
Height: 5 ft 10 inches
Lisa Fonssagrives’s measurements
Another 1950s model who is claimed to be the world’s first supermodel, Lisa Fonssagrives married photographer Irving Penn and described herself as a “good clothes hanger”. She retired from modelling in the 1960s and became a sculptor.
Height: 5 feet 7 inches
Photo source and copyright: Some rights reserved by and used with kind permission from dovima_is_devine_II. Top photo source and copyright: Some rights reserved by and used with kind permission from dovima_is_devine_II
There were obviously lots of other models who were popular in the 1950s including Dorothea Church, Evelyn Tripp and Mary Jane Russell, but I haven’t been able to find the measurements of those models. If you can fill in the missing information please let me know!