If you’re a fan of unashamedly cool and ground-breakingly alluring fashion fiends, then Edie Sedgwick’s your girl. Decades before Kate Moss was even a twinkle in her parents’ eyes, Edie was working the kohl-eyed waif look to achingly hip perfection. Clad in Breton stripes and earrings big enough to cause Pat Butcher to recoil, Edie burst onto the sixties New York party scene as Andy Warhol’s darling muse and the embodiment of artistic glamour. Part actress, part model, her look is synonymous with beatnik cool, utilising opaque black tights and simple silhouettes against costume jewels and bleach blonde hair. Coming from a dancing background, Edie often lounged around in nothing more than leotards with slouchy jumpers thrown over as a casual afterthought. She finished the look with flat ballet pumps and killer legs, drowning her tiny frame in mountains of jewelled accessories. Think leopard print and mohair, with boatneck sweaters, pea coats and mod hats all thrown on with a devil-may-care attitude and you’re on the right track.
Edie’s exaggerated eye makeup and heavily pencilled brows are her infamous and signature war paint. Rumour had it that she never removed it and instead the layers of thick black liner and the several sets of false eyelashes were only further added to. Her hair, cropped and bleached white blonde, was an important frame for her style caricature; even spraying it silver to match Andy Warhols’ at the height of their friendship. Celebrity milliner Stephen Jones identified Sedgwick's demeanour as a sort of rebellion against her delicacy, claiming "Her look was a mixture of sweet and sour; an angelic face distorted with bleached hair and disfiguring make-up. You could call her the first punk".
Regardless of her short fifteen minutes of fame as New York’s first “it” girl, Edie’s fashion sense left a legacy of influence still being felt today. Indeed her recent incarnation in the 2006 film Factory Girl - starring Sienna Miller - perfectly captured the exuberance of her style and presence, catapulting her right back to the centre of public interest. Kate Moss’ early 2000’s pixie cut hair style was also undoubtedly inspired by Edie’s own, as was John Galliano's 2005 show for Christian Dior with its striped mini dresses and flat crocodile boots.
Despite her tragically troubled private life which saw her overdose at the tender age of 28, she will live on forever in our hearts as one of the true architects of the beatnik style.
John Galliano's 2005 show for Christian Dior