FASHION PROFILE: EDIE SEDGWICK
Many of you probably know the great artist Andy Warhol, but his muse, Edie Sedgwick is often overlooked and forgotten.
Born: 20th April 1943, California.
Famous for: Being a style icon and Andy Warhol’s ‘Superstar’.
Style Characteristics:Large fake eyelashes and typical 60s makeup with eccentric clothes.
Edie’s career started in 1965 after she moved from Art College in California to New York with her friend Chuck Wein. To make her way, Edie started a small modelling career but wasn’t happy with just that and so in 1965 she met the avant-garde filmmaker, Andy Warhol in a friend’s apartment. Coming from a rich background, Edie was a typical example of ‘old money’ which instantly attracted Andy to her, however, after a while; Andy became intrigued by Edie’s free thinking and iconic style. And so, ‘the Factory Years’ began...
Andy’s iconic studio became known as ‘the Factory’ and Edie was drawn to the groups of eccentrics. Edie was instantly accepted into the group and became very popular. ‘The Factory’ was the place in which all of these artisans would create their own projects or star in Andy’s short films. Andy’s objective while making these films was to film them badly, but to do it well.
Edie’s First Film
Andy found Edie fascinating and so decided to include her in one of his films, Vinyl, starring an otherwise all male cast. Vinyl was Andy’s interpretation of A Clockwork Orange and so was supposed to be about thugs and hooligans, this made Edie look out of place and distant, however, this was the look he was going for.
Whilst at the Factory, Edie modelled for Vogue and other famous magazines, she also met famous designer Betsey Johnson, who, like everyone else, was intrigued by Edie’s ambiguous style and heart warming charisma. Friends and family said she brightened the room with her smile, and made you feel like the most important person in the world when you spoke to her. Thus charisma was one of the reasons why people grew to like Edie; she wanted to please people rather than herself.
Edie felt like she wanted to change her style completely. Turning almost overnight from a preppy young girl to a stylish woman. She cut her hair very short, started wearing skimpy outfits and developed her makeup. This was the equation for a proper icon.
Edie’s makeup became extremely popular and was to become an iconic element of the 60s image. She wore three pairs of eyelashes, eye shadow around the fold of the eyelid and white eyeliner on the inside of her bottom eyelid. This created a wide-eyed effect and made Edie look even more innocent and feminine.
The whole look, with an added pair of extremely large, delicate earrings made Edie an icon amidst the threadbare public. Fans became extremely fixated on Edie, and she was one of the first celebrities famous for nothing in particular. Edie was known as ‘Andy’s Superstar’ as she wow-ed everyone around her.
Because of Edie’s new found popularity, Andy wanted to make more films about her. In April ’65, Edie starred in ‘Poor Little Rich Girl’ which showed Edie getting ready to go out. It was shot out of focus for the first half hour and was silent apart from the background music (an Everly Brothers album). She played up to the image of a spoilt rich girl who had too many clothes she didn’t know what to wear, boasting about how she spent her entire inheritance in six months. The audience was intrigued as it was such a glamorous short film.
Andy Warhol was often blamed for Edie Sedgwick’s descent into drug addiction and mental illness. He famously said that he had never given Edie a single pill, “not even diet pills”.
Drug abuse soon took over Edie’s life as she could no longer pay for her addiction or her apartment. She never fully recovered and left Warhol after a year of close friendship. Later, she was admitted to a mental institution where she battled her illness. She married an inmate, but later died of a drug overdose in 1971. Surprisingly, Andy did not attend the funeral in California. She was only twenty-eight. This means that our memory of her will always be of the young iconic woman, rather than an ageing woman living in the shadows of her once exciting life.