Saturday 10th October
St Angela’s Assembly Hall
The hall was packed with guests, talking quietly amongst themselves as they waited for the start of the evening’s entertainment.
“I’m so glad this has proved to be a success,” Juliette said as she sat with Klaus and Sigi, “even if the girls could not get down this weekend.”
“Well, they have classes and assignments,” Klaus said, “but the school are recording this with Eve’s permission, so they will get to see it as well.”
“And the money all goes to a good cause,” Sandy said as she sat down with Heather.
“Ladies and Gentlemen.”
The attention of the audience was drawn to the stage, a leather seated stool set on there with a side table, a pitcher of water and a glass sitting next to it.
Grace Brand came out onto the stage, and said “I’d like to welcome you all, girls, parents and guests, to this very special evening in aid of both the Jamie Kirkham fund and the National MS Society. It gives me very great pleasure to welcome to the stage the host for this evening – ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Eve Stone.”
The applause was loud and wild as Eve walked out, wearing a tight gold bustier dress which flowed to the stage floor, even with her heels on.
“Thank you, thank you,” she said as she looked round the room, “all right, you’re making me think I’m Bono up here…”
Eventually, the applause stopped as Eve sat down.
“Well now – first of all, may I thank Grace for her welcome. I knew Grace back when she was a full time model, and now she’s helping bring bright new minds to their potential. Grace, thank you for the welcome, and the invitation.”
There was a round of applause as Grace took her seat with Kate and Wilhelmina.
“I also want to say a word of thanks to the two patrons of the Jamie Kirkham fund, who persuaded me…”
“They didn’t need to do much, did they,” Cassandra called out from the audience.
“As I was saying before my daughter, who should remember I have the baby stories, so rudely interrupted,” Eve said with a laugh, “thank you, Abigail and Jeannie, for allowing me to get people to hear me ramble for a couple of hours.”
The two girls blushed at the applause as they sat with their mothers.
“I would also like to welcome His Grace the Duke of Lardarn, aka my annoying baby brother Tom, and his poor, and oh so long suffering wife, my sister-in-law Paula. Tom is here to ensure that I do not tell certain embarrassing stories relating to our childhood, and I would remind him that he has until the interval to make a substantial donation to the two charities, or else I will do so.”
“I’ve got my cheque book out,” a voice boomed out from the audience followed by howls of laughter.
“GOOD!... Now who else here can I blackmail?” Eve covered her eyes and looked out beyond the lights.
“You can’t get me Eve, I wrote a book.” Kate Moss called out.
“That you did Kate my darling, but I bet between us we can come up with a few things you left out.”
“Cheque book please.” Kate held out a hand and laughed.
“That’s the way ladies and gentlemen, keep those contributions flowing, and my lips will be zippered.” Eve pretended to fasten her mouth.
“I trust my contributions make me exempt?” Stephen shouted out. “And remember I’m your husband…the father of your daughter.”
“Oh you poor deluded man.” Eve shook her head as the audience laughed again. “That just makes you the best person to talk about my love.”
“Oh God save us all,” Stephen said as he took his head in his hands, and Jack put his hand on his old friend’s shoulder.
“People ask me what it’s like being married to the world’s most famous photographer of nudes?” Eve smiled and blew a kiss to Stephen before she continued “The answer is simple, it means I cannot possibly be a prude, thanks to my darlings pictures most people know my body in better detail then I do…most disconcerting.” Eve paused, “Especially when complete strangers come up to me at parties and tell me how cute the tattoo on my right buttock is…”
There was some laughter before she said “…And for those of you who haven’t seen it, go buy one of Stephen’s books, because I can assure you with the difficulty they had zipping me into this gown there is no way I’m taking it off to show you.”
“Oh, you tease…”
“I heard that Jack Linklater - Alright who else is here?” Eve looked round. “Ah I can see Ru Paul out there.”
“Hi”, the famous drag artiste waved.
“Oh and of course where Ru is, the wonderful Michelle Visage is never far away…Why don’t you both stand up and take a bow please.”
The two artistes stood and bowed as they accepted the applause.
“Now where was it you and I met Ru? The National Cat Show?”
“No, it was the Westchester Kennel Club show,” Ru shouted back.
“Oh silly me,” Eve giggled, “I should have remembered Ru has never been interested in pussies.”
As enormous applause broke out, Eve added, “and how could I possibly have forgotten that Michelle was named Best Bitch in Show?”
Eve walked to the other side of the stage as the audience roared with laughter.
“Now what victims…I mean friends, are sitting over here?” Looking out, she smiled and said “Oh I didn’t see you Lesley, you turn sideways and you still disappear you know?”
“That joke is OLD Eve.” Twiggy shouted back.
“Yes but so are both of us unfortunately.” Eve shook her head. “You know Les and I used to room together on shoots sometimes, she was so small and light that you know some days it looked like she’d never even slept in her bed…so strange…” Eve walked away as the crowd laughed again.
“Of course, we also have the younger generation – young talent like Jeannie and Abigail, and quite a few young ladies who have passed through these doors.”
Eve then stopped and smiled. “Ladies and gentlemen, here in the front we have one of the nicest, loveliest, and most talented people in the fashion industry, the Creative Director of Vogue…Grace Coddington.”
The redheaded veteran stood up and turned round, waving to the room.
“In her book Grace wrote about how they used to compile ‘TopTen Model’ lists back in the sixties, and how she would always seem to appear at either number nine or ten. Well what she doesn’t reveal was that if she was nine, then I was ten, or I was nine, she was ten…We called each other the afterthoughts.”
“That’s true!” Grace called out as the audience shared the joke.
“Another thing Grace and I had in common was that the late Eileen Ford was never exactly over-impressed with either of us.” Eve stood hands on hips at mid stage. “She thought Grace’s eyebrows were a problem and actually attacked them with a pair of tweezers, and was then less than complimentary about Grace’s waist.
“In my case the problem was that she thought I didn’t look naturally classy enough to do high fashion. No one had slipped her the information that I was a Dukes daughter it seemed.”
The room laughed again as she said “I got my revenge a couple of years later when I was acting as an informal lady in waiting to an old school friend from Benenden, on a visit to New York, her Royal Highness the Princess Royal. The look on Eileen’s face when she recognized me?”
Eve sipped a glass of water and sat on the stool as the audience laughed.
“Now, turning to another matter ladies and gentlemen, the idea for this evening came basically from the insatiable appetite of young Jeannie Brewster for stories of how modeling was as a profession way back when. Jeannie laughed so much at my stories that she thought other people might appreciate them, which is why you find yourself corralled in here tonight…with the exits blocked to prevent escape. Don’t blame me, just blame Young Jeans.”
“That’s right, blame the girl in the wheelchair,” Jeannie shouted out.
“One of the things we did as young models that amazed Jeannie was that we had to carry huge holdalls to any shoot because we were expected not only to do our own makeup, but also supply our own shoes and other accessories. You never knew what you might need when you turned up for a job, so those things weighed POUNDS!”
As the room whispered, she continued “There’s a Sherlock Holmes quote about how he could tell someone was a teacher, from the way one shoulder was higher than the other. Well, you know it’s a sure fire way of spotting older models, we all usually have one arm longer than the other from hauling round those damn bags or boxes…See,” Eve smiled as some famous old time models stood up in the crowd and illustrated the point.
“You know,” Eve said after she took another sip, “another story Jeannie finds fascinating, though I only heard it second-hand, relates to the position most French Models, or Mannequins as they were called back then, found themselves in…As amazing as it might seem today French modeling back then was basically regulated by the long standing prostitution laws.”
Eve stared out as the crowd gasped.
“Up till around 1960 it was illegal for agencies to set up to manage models and in return take a percentage of their earnings. Under the law agents were treated as pimps…”
“And they still should be,” a couple of voices shouted out, drawing laughter from the audience.
“Be that as it may,” Grace giggled, “And I might name a few names later…What that meant was that all the top French models were salaried employees of an individual fashion house, drawing a wage, just the same as a seamstress, or a vendeuse.
“Each house had its own stable of models, or Cabine as they were called, and girls except by a stroke of luck modeled the collection each day, and were photographed in their employers clothes for advertising and for the magazines.
“The BIG money for models was all going to outsiders, usually American and British girls who were hired by the big glossy magazines to come in and wear the highlights of the shows and be photographed for all the top International publications. This situation was of course both unfair and eventually had to change.
“The irony is that when it did, the agents profession started to fill up with men who did think of models as little more then sex for hire. Agencies went from being a cottage industry run by women and gay men, to a nightmare of sex and drugs…Oh and that is when I arrived.”
There was a screen at the side of the stage, on which a picture of a young Eve Stone appeared. “That’s me – little Eve Gaunt. Fresh out of the poshest of English girls boarding Schools, innocent as the new day’s dew, and wanting to make my mark in the world.
“So naturally, I made my way to the centre of the known universe – London. Now, this was back in the late 60s, and London was really, really swinging in every way imaginable.
“But there I was, in London, and eventually I ran into another pair of Celts – two young women who had entered the fashion publishing world. And they’re here tonight – Mary Thomas and Fiona McKenzie. Stand up and take a bow, ladies.”
Mary helped Fiona to stand as they both turned and waved to the audience.
“Anyway let’s see who else in the audience I know dirt on that they might not want revealed and who might make big contributions. I see one face and I’ll not identify him by name, but back in the seventies he said he was going to make big money and take me away from Stephen…He didn’t tempt me away from my husband, but he certainly made big money, it was…one eighth of an inch too big on each side…”
Eve milked the laughter, “So in return for my silence I’m expecting a nice big contribution, and not in stuff you made yourself.”
“Stand up please Jerry Hall,” Eve led the applause as the tall Texan stood up. “Most people know in her early days as a struggling young model, Jerry shared an apartment in Paris with Grace Jones…and we used to call them beauty and the beast.”
“My favourite story though relates to this poor little poodle they owned, it was totally cute, but congenitally stupid, they called it Ford. Anyway Jerry was trying to teach Ford to come and stay, to fetch, and give her his paw, you know the usual puppy tricks, or basic boyfriend training depending on your point of view…”
“Well this dumb dog cannot get the hang of any of it, till suddenly Grace burst into the apartment, in the sort of temper that only Grace can achieve, and shouted out at the top of her lungs CRAP! before running into her bedroom.”
“Jerry looked at Ford, Ford looked suspiciously at what was beside him on the carpet, and Jerry finally asks…now why do y’all obey her and not me?”
As the room roared with laughter, Eve said “now, if we’re going to talk about Grace Coddington at Vogue, let’s go over to Complete Style, where Mary and Fiona held supreme, and the model turned writer, Juliette Huntingdown. Stand up and take a bow, Ju.”
Juliette whispered “Oh goddess,” as she stood and smiled.
“Now, you all know that Juliette was discovered by Mary Thomas and appeared on the cover of Complete Style. Then she went and spent a couple of years in Paris, where she earned a degree and exploded onto the scene at the Yves St Laurent show that year.
“What you may not know, is that just after that show, a video was released of a song where not just Juliette, but other models here today, played along. Who would like to see that video?”
The audience clapped and cheered as the lights were dimmed, and they saw the video.
“Now,” Eve said as the lights went back up, “you’ll have recognized Ju in the dancers, and you may even have recognized Grace, but there, in the front row, one Alice McKinnon, then a well known model, now the CEO of APCO, and one heck of a designer. She looks so innocent there, doesn’t she?”
“Looks can be deceiving,” Karen Boyd shouted out.
“True, true – which brings us to the Bass guitarist,” Eve said as a close up appeared. “Who would have thought then that this young punk would be best known as the wife of a pig farmer – even if he is a very well titled pig farmer.
“But the one I really want to show you is one of the backing singers,” Eve said as Abby stared at the screen.
“Ah, I see some of you have recognized her,” Eve said as Diana closed her eyes. “Now those of you who know the Countess de Ros may not be aware of how good a singer she is. Or, indeed, of how good a dancer Juliette is.
“So their challenge is to see if we raise enough to stop me telling the story of Juliette, Diana, the boat on the Seine and what really happened one night as they circled Sacre Coeur…”
“Non, non, I will contribute,” Diana said as she raised her hand, while Juliette chuckled.
“Well, since I am being accused of extortion already, maybe this might be the time to talk about some of my Gaunt ancestors, people like John the Slasher, Richard the Disembowler and Henry Blacktooth - to name just some of the quieter and more respectable ones.”
Eve smiled and restarted, “it’s true to this very day many Irish catholic and nationalist mothers warn their children that if they misbehave then the Gaunt's will get them. It’s not easy growing up in a country where the deeds of one’s ancestors have so blackened and stigmatised the family name…I guess the equivalent over here is if you’ve grown up in the Estevez/Sheen or in the Kardashian’s family.”
“Or if you are a Bush!” someone shouted from the crowd.
“Please, no politics,” Eve turned and smiled, “save that for the floor of the House of Representatives Congressman.” Eve paused, “Oh I forget you don’t say or do anything in congress do any of you politicians?…Apologies.”
“Well said,” Tom Morse said with a smile.
“You probably know my daughter is a very successful actress,” Eve stood up while Cassandra took the applause. “What you might not know though is I did a few small acting jobs myself. Indeed for a while I decided to try giving up modeling and try my luck in Hollywood.”
“Unfortunately…” Eve looked at Stephen, “my dear husband’s work proceeded me. What effect did that have you might ask? Well if I tell you some of the names of characters I was asked to audition for…”
“It wasn’t that bad – was it?”
“Let me see - there was a western in which they wanted me to play an outlaw called Belle Starkers… Another was a horror film in which I’d have played a psychopathic serial killer and burlesque dancer called Jack the Stripper.”
Eve looked at the crowd, “and those believe it or not were the more high brow parts…The worst was being asked to play a Russian spy called Nika Sovalot.
“Even in Britain they thought I could only do silly films as I called them, I was I admit tempted though by the chance to play ‘The Phantom Knicker Nicker’ in a riveting tale about a woman with a compulsion to steal other women’s underwear.
“The one thing I did do, which was a lot of fun, was do a couple of television specials with Benny Hill. Benny was a lovely and very talented man, even if his humour was of the time – but there was one famous scene where I had to play the innocent miner’s daughter in a Raymond of the Mounties type skit, where Benny as Fred Scuttlebutt was the Mountie. Can we have a look at that please – and as we do, pay very close attention to the lumberjacks.”
The room watched the comedy sketch before it froze at the end, and Eve said “Ladies and Gentlemen, Jane Leeves – and she is here tonight with Peri Gilpin. Please welcome them both.”
As the applause died down, Eve looked round. "There is someone here in the second row, I'd like to stand up please. You all know Lauren Hutton of course?"
Eve paused while the blonde American took her applause.
"Lauren was probably the most influential model of my generation, not just because with that gap between her teeth, and what she calls her banana beak nose, she made people realise models did not need to look totally perfect. But also because she really was the first major model to realize how stupid and carefree the rest of us had been.
“Lauren taught us all that we needed to manage and care for our incomes, that modeling didn't last for ever, and that you needed to save and find things to do with your life after the glamour. And for that, I and everyone else in the room thanks you, Lauren."
Eve led the applause as Lauren sat down.
"Now sitting next to Lauren, and we are so lucky she agreed to fly in from Germany just for this, is the woman who during my whole career was my personal idol. The Countess Vera Gottliebe Anna von Lehndorff-Steinort as a name may not mean a lot to you. The fact that she survived a Nazi concentration camp, is probably of more interest, I hope most of you over a certain age have seen her sprawled on a floor as David Hemming's photographed her in the film Blow-Up. She survived some of Vogue’s most famous treks into the unknown as a model, but she was, and always will be best known as the immortal, the goddess herself, Veruschka"
Everyone stood to applaud the veteran German Supermodel, who shyly waved back to the audience.
“While we’re on the subject of films, who here has seen Zoolander?”
There was a general groan around the audience as Eve said “a film that did for modeling what Happy Gilmour did for golf. What we really need is something like Rush – hey O darling daughter, mention that to the powers that be?”
“Got it Mom,” Cassandra called out as the audience clapped.
“Now I heard someone in the audience ask what was the worst modeling job I ever did, and the answer to that is easy.” Eve smiled ruefully. “And believe me, I have had some doosies…
“If Jack Linklater will stand up please since he’s the co-star in this story,” Eve paused while Jack took to his feet. “Do you remember Siberia Jack in 1980?” Eve asked with a smile.
“Oy!” Jack shook his head.
“I think Jack still has the nightmares.” Eve laughed.
“You know I damn well do!”
“Well let’s start at Moscow Airport. I’d done shoots behind what was then the Iron Curtain before and I was aware that the body searches as you went through customs could be a bit…shall we say thorough. As in they checked everywhere - and I mean EVERYWHERE.
“Anyway, it was my luck always to get either a guy who thought he was God’s gift to the female race, or a raging bull dyke. Either way let me say they searched parts of your anatomy that even my husband has never touched.
“Any way I’m getting felt up by this guy, not only did he think he was God’s gift to women, his idea of women was the stereotypical Russian woman – so his hands are rough. As he’s feeling me down, I can tell he’s enjoying it – and naturally, there are no other women in the room with me, him – and Jack with his security guard.
“He was big, broad shouldered, dark haired, and would have given Schwarzenegger a run for his money. The thing was, he was more interested in Jack’s bag - and I can see Jack in the corner of my eye looking a trifle insulted the male heart throb doing his check hadn’t bothered even to pat him down.”
“Bitch!” Jack shouted as the audience laughed.
“Anyway, we eventually got through and enjoyed the finest that Brezhnev’s Russia had to offer. I think that was when I learned to hate black bread and lentils, but love Vodka. Some things they did do well – but Gods above it was a dark place.
“Skipping on a couple of days or so, we arrived by train at this remote destination, east of the Urals, and deep in the mosquito belt. Now I don’t know if any of you have ever encountered mosquitoes quite like they have in summer in that part of the world, I swear they are as big as birds, yet somehow they manage to find their way into the most annoying places on the body to bite you.
“I’ll tell you how bad it was, Jack for maybe the only time in his life was touching a nude woman as he rubbed mosquito repellant on my body…and I know for sure it’s the only time a woman has touched him as I returned the favour.”
“It was a necessary evil, darlings,” Jack said with a sad face.
“We were there to photograph a shoot featuring Russian sable coats. Now I don’t know how many of you are pro-fur, and how many are anti, but if you’d been in close proximities with real life, nasty little bloody ermines as I have, you’d maybe agree the only thing they are good for is making coats. I still have a bite mark in a place that only Jack and my husband know.”
Eve looked pained as the audience laughed.
“The idea was I had my photo taken in the midst of these creatures, to show natural beauty. The brilliant brain that came up with this, however, had forgotten more than the vicious natures of what are effectively overgrown rats. They had forgotten they were living animals, and as such they did what all wild animals do
“So forget the bites, the scratches, things like that. The real issue was walking trough a sea of…”
Eve stopped as everyone burst out laughing, while Eve said “and I still sometimes smell them!”
“Now what were some of the better shoots…the one in the UAE where the local Emir tried to buy me from my husband was interesting. The one in the all male maximum-security prison was nice as well, because whatever the prisoners had done on the outside, while I was there they treated me like a perfect lady, falling over themselves to look after me.”
Sitting down and taking a drink, Eve said “I guess my favourite shoot though of all time was one I did for a retrospective of clothes designed by the great Balenciaga. It was in Barcelona, which is one of my favourite cities anyway, and it was a chance to wear and show off in those fabulous outfits. It was four days of what was probably the closest I’ll ever get to heaven.”
“Now, you’ll notice I am talking mainly about photographic assignments, and it’s not because I hated doing catwalk, it’s just that catwalk is a bit like doing catalogue shoots, everything is done in such a hurry that you rarely if ever got a chance to relax and enjoy it.
“I look at old snippets of film of myself in shows and half the time I don’t even remember being there, yet show me a still photograph and I can usually recall every single detail. I guess it’s just one of those things.
“The one exception though on catwalk was walking an Yves Saint-Laurent show, I remember them closely. Part of that was I guess because I so loved Yves as a person, but also because I guess of all designers working while I was a model he was my favourite creator. I still have a wardrobe full of vintage YSL that I have promised to a museum in Dublin on my death for their clothes section.”
Eve paused while the audience clapped.
“As I look round this room I see so many colleagues who I love, and I know everyone of them is praying I don’t tell a story about when they fell on a catwalk. They can all breath again though, because I’ll only tell a fall story of my own.”
“Phew!” Lauren Hutton called out, as Alice also breathed a sigh of relief.
“Lauren - do you remember me and the Nina Ricci wedding dress?”
“Oh how could I forget?”
“This was back in the days when shows traditionally ended with a wedding dress. Gerard Pipart was the designer for the Ricci brand at the time, and this dress was beautiful. But the silk it was made from was so damn heavy, it weighed pounds, and was so tight in places I could not wear underwear without spoiling it.
“Anyway in rehearsal all had gone well, I’d walked the dress fine. But for the show we were wearing these 6-inch heels, and they were a razor sharp stiletto. Alright most models can cope with huge heels, it’s part of our job, but sometimes we have – well problems with them.
“So I get half way down the runway though and I feel one of the heels break, now I know I’m going to hit the deck, but something inside me said you can do this in a lady like manner…Could I hell!”
The audience burst out laughing as Eve took another drink.
“As I go down, the other shoe cuts through the silk like a hot knife through butter, and the dress falls apart at the front, giving the audience a view that I’m sure they didn’t expect they’d ever they’d see on a runway, and what was worse it happened right in front of the photographers.
“I don’t know how many of you are old enough to remember the newspaper coverage, let it just go though by saying I was never so embarrassed in my life.”
She waited for the laughter and applause to die down before she said “Well, on that bombshell, I think this is a good time for a break. Refreshments are available in the refectory, and my eager assistants are waiting to take your donations. We’ll restart in half an hour with your questions to me.”
Smiling, Eve walked off the stage to a round of applause, before the audience made their way to the refreshment area.
“Eve is in fine form up there.” John Hammond commented as he brought drinks over for Shirley, Juliette, and Klaus.
“I never realised she had such a fund of great stories and jokes.” Juliette laughed.
“Well she’s certainly entertaining me.” Shirley sipped her drink.
“I bet you have as many stories Ju my love?”
“Oh I have stories Klaus, I’m just not sure I’d ever be able to tell mine as well as she tells hers.”
“Did you have the privilege of shooting her, John?”
“Oh yes – I mean, Stephen will always have her as his muse, but she was a dream to work with. Mind you, the time we were working in Lisbon…”
“I’d better get the cheque book out,” Shirley said as she nudged John.
“Changing the subject, how is the fund-raising going Grace?” John asked as the dean and Pippa Ashley joined them.
“Amazingly well, we’ve had some large cheques written, and I haven’t seen a single face without a smile on it.”
“Is Poppy enjoying herself Pippa? Asked Shirley.
“She is, It’s nice to see her and the others enjoying themselves as they work.”
“It was nice of them to volunteer to act as programme sellers, donation collectors, etc.” Juliette added. As she looked round, she saw Pippa with Erica and the others, taking envelopes and selling programs while the older girls served refreshments.
“It’s going well Mom,” Cassandra said as she sat in Miss Tennant’s office, having a drink with her parents.
“That it is,” Stephen Stone said with a smile. “So you still plan to discuss the other book?”
“Sure – don’t worry, I’ll be tasteful,” Eve said with a smile as she put her glass down. “So, on to part two.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome back Eve Stone.”
As Eve came back on stage, she smiled and took a seat, waiting for the applause to die down.
“Ladies and gentlemen, before I start the second half can I introduce another dear and precious friend. A big round of applause for Patti Hansen please.”
She smiled as the applause went round, before saying “Patti as you are no doubt aware is very happily married to Keith Richards of the Stones, and has been for a very long while.” Eve paused as though she was thinking, “Patti can I have your permission to tell some of my Keith jokes please, after all I’ve known him even longer then you have?”
“As long as they are clean.” Patti giggled back.
“You mean like Keith is nowadays?”
“Alright,” Eve turned to the rest of the audience. “You know by the way why Patti is here alone? It’s simply because the sun was still up when she had to leave and Keith couldn’t leave his coffin yet.”
The crowd roared its laughter as Eve took another drink.
“We’ve been trying to tell Keith for years he was dead, but he just won’t believe us.” Eve laughed, “despite the mountain of evidence.”
“It’s also not true that Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent have asked him to tour with The Zombies…though most people think it would be appropriate…And its also not true that Keith inspired ‘The Living Dead’.”
“And I better stop before one of those daggers Patti is looking at me hits. I’m sorry about the jokes Patti, but I know even Keith tells them on himself sometimes, and thank you for being such a great sport.”
The crowd stood to applaud the blonde American model.
“Also before I go on, I’d like to publicise an auction we are going to conduct. Before the show Jack took a group picture of all the models that are here tonight. The school art department is as we speak producing a limited edition of 20 posters, all on fine art paper. After the show we are all going to sign them, and each will in effect be a chronicle of modeling history running from Vera and Grace at one end to Abby and Jeannie at the other. Over 40 of us, and each a star in her own right.”
Eve looked round the room and said “each will then be put on E-Bay for sale, or sold at a follow up event. Can I urge everybody to bid highly for them, because you will never get as many of the stars of the model industry together in one place again.”
As the applause died down, Eve said “Alright some questions please?”
“Who in your opinion was the most beautiful model you ever saw?” a male voice called out.
“That is a question that could make me an awful lot of enemies in this room…very quickly.” Eve smiled, “but I do have an answer and it’s someone who sadly could not be with us tonight. I think at least among we older types most of us agree that for pure beauty Jean Shrimpton stood head and shoulders above us all.”
“What do you most envy among today’s models?” a female voice yelled.
“Other then the amount of money the top girls make nowadays?”
“Yes,” the voice shouted back above the laughter.
“I think that they are getting to work with such an amazing range of talented photographers who create such wonderful images, but equally I’m a little sad for them that they missed out on working with some of the greats I had the pleasure of being photographed by.”
“Did your husband mind you going on trips with other photographers?”
“Sometimes, but I think he trusted me to behave myself. The only real problem was that if I was modeling anything tight my chastity belt showed.” Eve smiled as she stood up and walked across to the other side of the stage.
“Next question please.” Eve held her hand up to quiet the laughter.
“Jeanne – ladies and gentlemen, Jeanne Beckman, host of the Beckman Report. Good to see you Jeanne – what’s your question?”
“I wanted to ask you what your biggest regret was, the thing you wish you had done, but never got the chance to?”
"My biggest regret?” Eve sat down and said “I regret that I never got to be a 'proper' debutante like my mother had been. I remember looking at her photo album when I was a child and dreaming of the day when I too would wear the long white gloves, and long white dress, the three feathers in my hair, and be presented at court...But as you probably know in the latter half of the sixties all that had gone out the window, and it was no longer the done thing.
"The nearest I ever got to it was when Cassie my daughter was presented at the Vienna Opernball, and she got to wear the gloves and dress, living out my lost dream. So when I hear of Angel Fitzstuart and Abigail de Ros not only being presented at court, but also in Paris, Vienna and here in New York, I am both proud for them, and incredibly jealous of them."
"You looked beautiful in white at your wedding though Eve." Twiggy called out.
"Thank you Lesley, though don't I remember you saying on the day that the Virgin Mary must be having fits that I had the cheek to wear white?"
The audience laughed.
"In rebuttal can I say that Stephen and I had never had sex before we were married, and that Cass was a miracle baby being born fully formed at just five and a half months."
As the crowd roared with laughter, Eve added, "and if you believe that can I interest you in buying this bridge I own."
“Now, who shall we have a question from next?”
“What is the worst model joke you know?” Harriet shouted.
“It’s pretty terrible…do you really want to hear it?”
“Yes,” the audience shouted back.
“Okay you asked for it…what do you call a group of blonde Irish models on bicycles?”
Eve paused…”Dope peddlers.”
As the audience groaned, Eve pointed at Harriet, “hey she was the one who asked. Talking of bicycles though brings back some memories…Will Mary Thomas please stand up?”
As Mary stood up to applause from the audience Eve started the story. “Back in the days when Mary was working in Complete Style’s Paris bureau, she came up with this idea of a spread featuring girls wearing the tight lycra cyclist shorts and tight tops the pro cyclists wear, and that we should photograph it at one of the stages of the Tour de France…”
The audience sat at attention.
“…Now things were going reasonably well as long as we were all posing standing up, but then of course Mary gets the bright idea that we should actually ride these expensive racing bikes we were using as props…BAD IDEA!” Eve rolled her eyes.
“We had thirty minutes before the riders were due to arrive…plenty of time Mary said…those are famous last words.”
“For starters Mary assumed that most of us could ride a bike. Stephen of course was not being helpful when he said a couple of the girls who will remain nameless were bikes…ridden by all.”
Eve took a sip of drink before continuing, “well anyway we are perched on these damn bikes, and we try and ride them through the finish line…well if you’ve seen the pushing and shoving and falls that accompany so called bunch sprints in cycle racing, you may think you’ve seen it all, but I’ll tell you you’ve not seen chaos till you’ve seen 6 fashion models trying to cycle over a line.
“We were PATHETIC! And all the while we are trying to do it right, the race is approaching and the organisers, and in particular this one man with this cute little moustache were starting to have kittens.
“What no one had predicted was a tail wind, and a solo breakaway, and if you ever can find a picture, the poor winner was the only stage winner in history to fight out a finish weaving in and out of a group of models who had no right to be on bikes anyway.”
“May I ask a question, Miss Stone?”
“Now who asked that – ah, we have question from one of my little assistants. It’s Anna, isn’t it?”
“That’s right – Miss Stone, many girls I know now combine modeling with studies or another career. Do you think that’s the right way to go, and if so what alternative career should they avoid?”
“Anna,” Eve said with a smile, “I was in that first generation of models for whom modeling wasn’t something you just did before you married a rich, and preferably titled gentleman. Girls from the preceding generation such as Anne Gunning, Bronwen Pugh, Jean Dawnay, and Fiona Campbell-Walter, had all made what my mother called ‘frightfully good matches’.
“Now I’m not naming names, but for a lot of girls this was a calculated move designed to keep themselves in luxury, either courtesy of their husbands…or their divorce settlements.”
Eve let the laughter subside.
“But to answer your question I do think it’s important to think beyond merely modeling. Very few models really make a fortune to retire on. Fewer still make the transition to work in television or movies.
“So as I’ve always at least told other girls - get an education, and at least get some alternative career established in your mind. I look round this room and I am so proud of some of my friends. Karen Boyd is a doctor. Juliette Huntingdown is a great writer. Alice is a very successful businesswoman. Young Caroline, her mother must be so proud up in heaven that she built a successful business before she even started modeling.
“So yes Anna always have a backup plan as a model and if you can mix modeling and a real career, then for God’s sake do so.”
Eve smiled as Anna nodded, and then said “right, who’s next?”
“What do you think would surprise most people about working as a model?”
“Well, the thing that I think would really surprise everyone is that modeling is now a dog eat dog world. No, it worse – it’s that modeling is a cat eat cat world. A girl who doesn’t have claws, and isn’t prepared to use them, just isn’t going to make it. Every model quickly learns that if she does not produce the goods, then there are ten girls waiting behind her who will.
“Does that mean you can’t be a nice girl and make it big?...Not at all, but even someone as sweet and nice as Abby de Ros, sometimes has to bare her teeth to protect herself, and her career.
“To be a top girl you above all need to have the desire to make it, preferably backed up by the looks and body required. Now as Abby herself will admit she got her big chance by being photographed by Antonio Bell when some other girl didn’t show up. She seized her opportunity. How did I become my darling Stephen’s muse, then his wife? By making sure he noticed me at an open casting call, and to my shame using my claws almost literally to fight off another girl I thought might beat me out.”
“I heard about that – she still has the scars?”
“Not really – she did fine for herself in the end. But models have a singular vision, and you need that focus to make it. After all, any other job that has you standing round for hours doing nothing, you’d quit immediately.”
“Amen,” a number of voices called out as Eve took another sip.
“Now, can I talk for a minute about model agents and bookers? What is a good agent? What is a bad one?”
Eve paused and looked round.
“Someone once told me that a bad agent is someone who stabs a rival in the back…whilst a good agent is someone who stabs someone in the chest and smiles at them while he or she does it…which of course leads me to the one and only Missy Auerbach, who for many years more then either of us probably care to acknowledge was my North American booker.”
Missy stood up and waved while the crowd applauded and laughed.
“Now Missy is probably THE best agent in this business, she not only stabs and smiles, but invites you out to dinner later while she’s doing so. Having said which, she only picks the best places to dine and die.”
The laughter continued for a moment as Missy put her hand to her chest and adopted a shocked expression.
“Having said that, the stories of the lengths Missy will go to are legendary. You know of the appearance she made on the Graham Norton show to sign Jeannie Brewster, and many of you have heard of what led to what’s now known as the Jameson contract. On which note – Caroline, can I just say sealed bids is an idea whose time has come!”
Caroline smiled and shook her head as Eve continued “but there is a side to Missy not a lot of people see. Couple of years back, and again naming no names, there was a model who found she was in trouble – a business deal had gone south in a bad way. Missy personally took charge of the situation, did the best that she could, got as much money back as she could, and set up a lawyer to handle the rest.
“In many ways, Missy is the best friend a model can have outside other models – and I’m not the only one who says that. Other agents too – so we wish her well in her new role as head of Norstar.”
There was a great round of applause as Eve sat on the stool.
“Maggie – for those who don’t know her, Maggie Fife, one of the next generation. What’s your question?”
“What was the biggest difference between the girls of the fifties and early sixties compared to my generation?”
“Well I guess it was the change in class of the model, before my time, most models were like me, nice upper class, or upper middle class girls like Grace Coddington. The whole profession changed when they started letting in common little oiks like Lesley.”
“Ere ‘oo are you callin’ common?” Twiggy yelled out before laughing.
“There are still of course an awful lot of very posh girls in the profession, as I can tell as I look round the room, Duchesses, Princesses, Countesses, Baronesses, plus those whose parents simply had a title. But modeling as a profession is a lot more wide open now then it once was, back in the days when agencies before they took on a girl checked her entry in Debrett’s Peerage, Burke’s Landed Gentry, or the Almanach de Gotha.”
“There’s Jeannie for example – I don’t think, with all the will in the world, anyone would call you someone from a privileged background. There’s Joanne Smith – lovely girl, down to earth, but the face of Fitzstuart Woolens and Big Box. Maggie and Marnie, who did the infamous calendar from last year – and Anna, come to think of it.
“I for one am glad of that – and that the barriers are coming down. It should be about talents and looks, not how rich you are.”
Looking over the room, Eve pointed to the back and said “Caroline – your question?”
“Who was the best photographer you ever posed for?”
“Oh God, another trap question,” Eve smiled. “Logic of course says I should say my husband.”
The audience clapped as Stephen took a bow.
“But both Stephen and I have a photographer who we admire above all others and that is the late great Richard Avedon.”
Again Eve paused as the audience applauded.
“I had the pleasure of working with Dick on numerous occasions and each shoot produced at least one image that truly took my breath away for its sheer beauty, or for its amazing content. I do think though his greatest work was probably with Vera, and with Polly Mellen styling the shoots, and I’d like them both to stand and for you to applaud.”
Both the model, and the venerable editor took to their feet as the whole audience gave them a prolonged ovation.
“Now, the special tribute edition of Complete Style has Stephen trying to emulate Richard with Jeannie in the place of Vera – it should prove interesting. Next question.”
“Who was the photographer you’d have most liked to have been photographed by, but never were?”
“Oh that one is EASY!” Eve laughed, “I grew up looking at the marvelous pictures from John French. John’s work with that Hasselblad of his was what really got me interested in both fashion and modeling.”
Eve paused to sip her water. “The funny thing of course is that John never actually snapped a photograph, he directed shoots, posed the model, composed the scenes, but it was actually always his assistants who pressed the button as and when John told them.
“Now some say how can he be a photographer when he didn’t actually take the shot, but John’s genius was in working with his models and creating fabulous photographs that to this day still amaze me.
“Of course he was also arguably the greatest developer of other photographers, when you consider Lord Snowden, David Bailey, and Terry Donovan all worked for him as assistants, and I was snapped by all three of them, so in a way maybe I did have a link to John.”
“Now, one final question?”
“What is the thing you are most proud of that nobody thinks about when they think of you?”
“Oh – deep philosophical question. Actually, there is one thing, but I need to precede this with a parental advisory. If any parents do not wish their daughters – or sons – to hear this, or are of a sensitive disposition, you should go and get an early drink. Cassandra will lead the way…”
“Very funny mum,” Cassandra said as nobody removed themselves.
“Right – 1992. Who remembers a little coffee table book Madonna brought out at the time called Sex?”
There were a few murmurs around the room as Eve said, “so what I’m going to tell tonight is the true story behind a little book Stephen and I put out at the same time – Fetish.
“It was actually based on a very simple premise – Steve at the time had been looking at the work coming out of Japan, and at the same time there was a renewed interest in the work of photographers like Irving Klaw and John Willie. When Madonna’s box hit the headlines, my darling Steve wanted to do a series of shots showing the artistic side of all this - and guess who he wanted to shoot for it?”
Pointing to herself, Eve waited for the laughter to die down before she said “so began possibly the strangest research period Steve and I ever entered into – looking at some of the things the Japanese were doing, and looking at some of the things that have been written and said about Willie and Klaw. Le’s just say my eyes were really opened – and all the time we were doing this, we had to keep it secret from a certain very inquisitive teenager.”
The room looked at Cassandra, who remained silent as Eve said “now, both Klaw and Willie had died many years before, but as part of our research Steve and I spent a day talking to the artist Eric Stanton. A very unusual but talented man – so here’s a secret. In one of his Blunder Broad stories, I have a small supporting part – but if anyone finds it, you are a very naughty boy.
The room laughed again as Eve said “We also visited a few interesting places, both in New York and in Dublin. First rule of thumb when it comes to things of a fetish nature – the more religiously restricted the country, the more likely you are to find what you want somewhere.
“So after that education, we selected the poses and started to plan the shoot – which brought the next problem. Nowadays, leather clothes are relatively easy to find, and it wasn’t too difficult then – but we also had to learn how to bind someone, or hire someone to do so. Like I said, I trust Steve, but nobody else, so we visited a few bondage clubs in the city and took some lessons. Nothing serious, but enough to look realistic.”
Looking round the room, Eve said “there then followed the most – interesting two weeks of my life. We started by recreating some Willie photos, me clothed, and tied as best Steve could. I have to see, his comment was it was the easiest time he had ever had in keeping me still – for which he was suitably chastised…”
“Still got the scars,” Stephen said out loud.
“Then we moved up a notch. I went for the classic look – white blouse, tight black pencil skirt, high heels, and played the dominatrix with a good friend, who shall remain nameless, and wore the leather pants and hood.
“I have to admit, I like the idea of dominating someone like that, for the purposes of the book – but then came the really strange stuff. Because then, came me, in a leather catsuit, trussed like a Thanksgiving Turkey, and lying on my stomach on a mat as Steve fastened this large red ball in my mouth with straps round my head.
“The front of the catsuit was held together by a zip, but what they don’t tell you is that when you tie someone like I was tied, the way your chest gets forced out, the zip is going to give – and Steve had me wriggling round and moaning like a kitten. So as I’m doing this, the zip slowly works its way down, and my chest spills out.
“Which of course is the moment Cass walks in after a school trip…”
The entire room burst into laughter as Eve looked round, and both her husband and daughter blushed.
“The book was a success, which is a great way for me to point out that Steven’s latest book of portraits, with words by one Juliette Huntingdown, is coming out in November. I encourage you all to pre-order it. And Fetish? I’m told it’s a collector’s item now – but we don’t have a copy. If you do – keep it to yourself, all right?”
As the room laughed again, Eve smiled and said, “Well, I am afraid time and my energy has run out. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to me rambling on.”
The room stood and applauded her as she blushed and picked her glass of water up.
“Thank You all so much,” Eve said, bowing as the applause continued before she sat down. Raising her glass in salute to the audience, she said “can I end as my great friend the late Dave Allen always ended his shows - with the words. ‘Thank you, goodnight, and may your God go with you’.”
Standing as Stephen and Cassandra joined her on stage, Eve hugged both of them before they waved and headed off to the office.