Richard Avedon once said of her, "Penelope is never only of today. To each gesture she brings a sense of all the things that have ever interested her, out of this she invents every moment a new little role for herself which she plays with devastating humor ... she is a delight." Her best talent may have been for being original, according to famed photographer David Bailey: "Penelope Tree is the most original model there's ever been. She's the most original-looking girl I've ever seen."
DIANE ARBUS, PENELOPE TREE IN HER LIVING ROOM, 1962
"Tree was 13 when the legendary photographer Diane Arbus came across her - she cannot recall how - and photographed her for a feature for Town & Country magazine. She groans. 'It was torture, the whole thing. Now I know why everyone in her pictures looks like they do - because they have had to spend three hours with Diane Arbus staring at them.' It was a broiling August day, she was dressed top-to-toe in riding gear and told to lie down in a field. 'Now I know what she was trying to get: spoilt rich kid looking absolutely desperate in her own native habitat,' she says. When her father saw the images he was hopping mad and forbade them to be used."
HER SWINGIN' '60s CREDENTIALS: Another of the great British models of the '60s, Penelope rivaled Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy as London's favorite fashion face 'n' figure.
BIRTH: She was born in '50, so like any of the other underage Swingin' Chicks of the '60s, including Angela Cartwright and Anissa Jones, she was under twenty all decade long.
IMPACT ON THE '60s: While the name isn't as instantly recognizable as Twiggy's, Penelope Tree was still a powerful presence on the fashion scene in the '60s. Playboy mentioned her in the magazine's year-end roundup of '68 events, presented in a Judith Wax poem entitled "That Was the Year That Was" in January '69. Here's Penelope's stanza, with a reference to Twiggy and her manager/lover, Justin de Villeneuve:
"Penelope hath frightened stare
And nests of robins in her hair
'Twas Villeneuve caused Twig to be,
But only Vogue could make a Tree."
CAREER IN THE '60s: She came from a rich and traditional English family who didn't appreciate her rebellious decision as a young teen to become a model. Her father was a multimillionaire, and her mother Marietta was the first woman delegate to the United Nations, and she had many powerful and famous friends in politics. The legendary photographer Diane Arbus discovered Penelope when she was only thirteen, and her outraged parents promised a lawsuit if pictures of her were published. She didn't make it into a magazine (Mademoiselle) until '65, when she was fifteen. At seventeen she met with Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Penelope herself said that she first encountered both Vreeland and photographer Richard Avedon at the Black and White Ball thrown in late '66 by Truman Capote. Supposedly some of the Vogue editors thought she was too gawky and plain, but Avedon saw the strange beauty within her. According to Michael Gross's Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, Avedon knew Penelope was a rare find: "She's perfect," he declared, "don't touch her." Avedon then shot her for Vogue, and her rep spread around the world. By this time her family relented in their opposition. Penelope was on three Vogue covers during the decade.
CAREER OUTSIDE THE '60s: She quit modeling in the early '70s, with stories of a strange skin disease possibly explaining her sudden disappearance. She is listed in the credits of the '78 spoof on the Beatles called The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash. In that movie, her husband, Ricky Fataar, played Stig, "the quiet one," and Penelope played his wife. She had no lines but got some screen time in fab fashions walking next to her husband. Penelope made some kind of contribution to the 1996 Mantra Mix CD, which was created in Australia to benefit Tibet, she's listed as an "assistant."
TALENT: Richard Avedon once said of her, "Penelope is never only of today. To each gesture she brings a sense of all the things that have ever interested her, out of this she invents every moment a new little role for herself which she plays with devastating humor ... she is a delight." Her best talent may have been for being original, according to famed photographer David Bailey: "Penelope Tree is the most original model there's ever been. She's the most original-looking girl I've ever seen." Still, there's no evidence of any acting, musical, or otherwise creative talent, unlike Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy, both of whom at least attempted movie careers and wrote books.
HER '60s LOOK: "The face of the decade" she was called by Women's Wear Daily. Photographers loved her, so she must've been doing something right. She had a face like a doll, at once young and innocent but with a scary force behind the eyes, amplified by her sometimes extreme makeup and her reluctance to ever smile in any photo we've ever seen of her. In the book The Sixties: A Decade in Vogue, she explained her exaggerated makeup: "I started it all at thirteen, I think to annoy my friends' parents." Starting with that kind of anti-establishment attitude, she was a perfect reflection of what was going on in the late '60s, and her unconventional looks symbolized and reflected the strangeness and nonconformity of the times. So different was her makeup, Jean Shrimpton said, "Her style is almost science." Weird science, that is: Penelope once shaved off her eyebrows because she wanted "to look more like a Martian than I already did." Tall and gangly, she was another of the bone-thin models who were all the rage in the swingin' '60s. David Bailey described her as being an "Egyptian Jiminy Cricket." Penelope stood 5' 10" and at that height was on par with Jean Shrimpton, plus she was some four inches taller than Twiggy. Penelope was often shown in bizarre settings, sometimes as a mythic figure or a wood nymph. In Radical Rags, Fashions of the Sixties, she explained her unique poses and why the public can't emulate her look: "You can't look like Vogue. It doesn't want you to. It just wants to show you what individuality is." Later Penelope admitted that she was anorexic throughout her modeling career in order to maintain that waif-like body.
LIFESTYLE: In '67 Penelope met David Bailey in the Vogue offices and soon moved in with him. Bailey, of course, had already enjoyed a passionate early-'60s romance with Jean Shrimpton and was married at the time to Catherine Deneuve, whom he wouldn't divorce until '70. Supposedly Catherine could see what was coming: One story has it that when she saw a photo of Penelope, she told her husband Bailey that he was going to fall in love with her. He did, and he and Penelope got a house and painted one of the rooms black and another one purple. Supposedly Penelope installed a UFO detector, and the place was often filled with various hippies and radicals. She and Bailey broke up in '74, and she left for Australia. Penelope later married rock musician Ricky Fataar, who briefly joined the Beach Boys and contributed several songs to their Holland LP in '72. She married again and has two children, Paloma and Michael.
EXTRAS: Penelope's mother was considered a legendary beauty, and she had passionate affairs with director John Huston -- who called her "the most beautiful and desirable woman I have ever known" -- and Adlai Stevenson ... Penelope's mom hobnobbed with the social elite of Europe and America and had homes in Europe, New York, and Barbados ... Penelope's father, Ronald Tree, was a member of British Parliament, Penelope's sister, Frances Fitzgerald, was a writer who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam ... the U.K. band Felt had a song in '83 called "Penelope Tree," but the composer said it wasn't about her, he just liked the name ... here are those lyrics, just in case:
"I didn't want the world to know, that sunlight bathed the golden glow, loneliness is like a disease, triggers off my sense of unease, I was lonely until I found the reason, the reason was me
Oh, Penelope Tree...
Why don't you just enter the night, why don't you just do what you like, loneliness and all that heartache, that's something I just can't take, you've got your head on back to front, that's easy, so easy for me, oh that's easy for me, you know that's easy for me...
Oh, Penelope Tree
Hey tell me why are you so scared, it's like the beginning go there, gold mine trash seeks brave dark warrior, what are we doing, why are we here, why must we die? Oh no no no, that's easy, so easy for me"
... some of the information on this page comes from San Francisco's own Tara Pollard."
"Penelope was probably the most widely known and successful model of the sixties - due, in part, to her liaison with David Bailey. She comes from one of those grand, rich, old Anglo/American families and has many eminent forebears. I met her first in Barbados when I was commissioned to photograph her father's palatial house, Heron Bay. She was about fifteen at that time and already gave promise of being a great beauty. Subsequently, I spent many happy weeks staying with her parents in their splendid town house on 79th Street, New York, and came to know the family well. On one occasion I can remember Penelope appearing for dinner in a mini-skirt made entirely of foxes' brushes (tails) and she seemed perplexed by her father's expostulations - he was a former Master of Foxhounds. Penelope was perhaps the first to combine successfully the role of society beauty and working model. Shown here with her grandmother, mother and sister, it is apparent from where Penelope inherited her outstanding looks." - Photographer Patrick Lichfield
By Richard Avedon
Photographed by Cecil Beaton, 1967
Penelope with her family
It Girl, Penelope Tree, photographed by David Bailey for Vogue, February 1969
T for Tibet
Clockwise from top left: Veruschka, Penelope Tree, Kate Moss, and Twiggy, all photographed in London by David Bailey. Styled by Michael Roberts; Moss styled by Mouchette Bell.
Four Faces of London
by Nicholas Coleridge
Photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for US Harper's Bazaar Sept. 2001.
Model: Angela Lindvall as Penelope Tree
Natalia Vodianova as Penelope Tree
Gisele Bundhen as Penelope Tree
A David Bailey interview where he talks about Penelope:
BAILEY: I can tell you this: size doesn't count. It got better, too. There were a few in between, by the way. I remember Catherine saw some pictures of Penelope Tree by Avedon in American Vogue, and she said, "You're gonna run off with this woman." Which was odd because I didn't even know who Penelope Tree was.
What was it about her look that made her right for that time? Why did she hit the way she did?
How happy were her parents to see you coming?
David Bailey's Interview - продолжение, на 10 страницах
A rare interview with Penelope Tree, 2008
Биографическая статья в Википедии
No Regrets: The Life of Marietta Tree. - book reviews
Fashion: After the Twig, the Tree? - TIME, 1967