divine idylle # 6 : peggy moffitt

Peggy Moffitt is synonymous with the look of the 60s, many would say she played a significant role in pioneering it. She started her career as an actress, but it was when she met and subsequently married photographer WIlliam Claxton that her life took a change of direction. Claxton had been photographing Rudi Genreich’s fashion designs since the mid 50s, and by the early 60s Peggy began modeling for him. She forged a strong relationship and later became his muse and collaborator.

Peggy was not afraid to be nonconformist, in fact, it was a brazen act of anti-establishmentarianism that catapulted her into the limelight, and gained her notoriety at a time when so many rules and mindsets were gagging to be challenged and reformed; she was one of the few models brave enough to model the topless bathing suit, or ‘monokini’. She was sartorially distinctive and experimental, her love of heavy eye make up and false lashes became her signature and she modified the classic bowl haircut and made it her own, known as ‘the five point’. She also featured in her husband’s video, ‘Basic Black’, the premise of which was to act as a showreel to enable Claxon to get advertising work, however, it is now widely considered to be the first real fashion video.

Both Genreich’s designs and Peggy’s look have had an enduring appeal, in 2003 a collaboration between Comme de Garcon’s Rei Kawakubo and Moffitt led to the revival and reissue of some of Genreich’s designs as part of the CDG collection for that year.

image and text sources: wikipedia, the new york times, flickr, google images


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