A conversation between friends Anjelica Huston and the iconic supermodel about beauty, fashion and skipping sunscreen.
- Photography By
- PAMELA HANSON
- Written By
- EVELYN CROWLEY
- Hair By
- ANTHONY CAMPBELL
- Makeup By
- PATI DUBROFF
- Styled By
- LAWREN HOWELL
- Nails By
- RIEKO OKUS
“Friendship,” observed novelist C.S. Lewis, “is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” Certainly this was the case for Anjelica Huston and Lauren Hutton. Working together as models in the late 1960s, they quickly came to recognize in one another not just a friend but a kindred spirit. Both were fiercely intelligent and vocal about their independence in an era when women weren’t expected to be either. Both also exuded the kind of worldly glamour one can only cultivate from jetting around the globe with the likes of Jack Nicholson, enfant terrible fashion photographer David Bailey and then-Vogue-editor Diana Vreeland. Even their beauty, while markedly different, shared an alluringly off-kilter quality (Huston’s Roman nose and arched brows, Hutton’s famous gap-toothed grin) that set them apart from their more conventional-looking peers.
Eventually, as we know, Huston left the fashion world for a successful career in Hollywood. Last year, she added best-selling author to her list of accolades with a memoir, A Story Lately Told. Its much-anticipated sequel, Watch Me, is due out later this month. Hutton, meanwhile, remains a force of nature in front of the camera. (One would expect nothing less from a woman who has graced the cover of Vogue 28 times.) For her VIOLET GREY shoot at New York’s bastion of old money society, The Lotos Club, she effortlessly slipped into the role of a Park Avenue doyenne, complete with gum-ball-size cocktail rings and an appetite for lobster at lunch.
In the accompanying interview, the legendary Hutton — who is known for her no-holds-barred, no regrets, all-American appeal— is still very much Hutton. Her refreshing candor is due, in part, to the fact that her good chum Anjelica is asking the questions.
Below, VIOLET GREY listens in on the two women as they laugh, reminisce and indulge in a healthy exchange of compliments. “I remember when I first saw you,” Hutton tells Huston. “You came in with your black hair and white skin and … wow.” “When I first saw you, you were like the sun shining,” replies Huston.
If only everyone could be blessed with such eloquent friends.
VIOLET GREY listens in on a conversation between friends Anjelica Huston and Lauren Hutton.
ANJELICA HUSTON: CAN WE TALK ABOUT YOUR VIOLET GREY SHOOT: HOW YOU FELT, WHAT YOU WORE, WHAT THE PREMISE WAS?
LAUREN HUTTON: The premise was New York’s old-school elite, which is why we shot at the Lotos Club. Are you going to ask me about the woman that I was channeling?
AH: DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT KIND OF THING?
LH: No, I don’t.
AH: DO YOU THINK ABOUT BEING THE MOST SPLENDID VERSION OF YOURSELF?
LH: I like that… the most splendid of myself. Yes, definitely.
AH: DO YOU THINK CERTAIN THOUGHTS IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA? DO YOU FIND YOURSELF BEING TAKEN AWAY? DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC?
LH: I like to work to music. One time, I remember Dick Avedon playing “Mustang Sally” about 20 times in a row so I could dance to it.
AH: DO YOU BRING WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM DICK AND [IRVING] PENN TO PHOTO SHOOTS TODAY?
LH: I certainly try. It’s harder because those were people I spent so much time with. And a lot of times, I would just be coming back from some great story, somewhere in Africa or the Amazon or someplace where I had really rich emotional adventures, and I would look in the camera and think about them and relive them. And you’d see that all across my face.
AH: DIANA VREELAND ONCE SAID OF YOU, “I AM ALWAYS AMAZED AT HOW MANY MOODS SHE CAN PROJECT... HER REACTIONS ARE SO FAST. I LIKE HER SPEED, HER TIMING.” DO YOU REMEMBER THAT?
LH: No, but I remember the first time I ever met her. I was with a bunch of models sitting in her great room. Remember that room with the miles of leopard skin on the floor and the red ceiling and walls? It was like being in this princess fairy tale, and I just sat and watched and wasn’t present, and because of that she turned in the middle of sentence, pointed her cigarette holder at me and said, “You! Have quite a presence.” So maybe I should have learned that by not having a presence it gives me a presence.
AH: DO YOU THINK THE MODELING WORLD HAS CHANGED A LOT?
LH: Absolutely. It’s almost unrecognizable. I don’t see how young kids do it because there are all these people on the set, and you’ve got to really unzip your mental fly and expose yourself in front of a bunch of strangers. It’s very anti-intimacy, which is what a great picture should be about — a very intimate look into someone’s soul. And with digital [photography], they take like seven or 10 pictures, and then they’re gone. Or they go off to look at a TV set.
AH: YOU’RE ALONE! EVERYONE’S OFF IN SOME CORNER OF THE ROOM LOOKING AT A MONITOR. IT'S TERRIBLY WEIRD. YOUR WHOLE RHYTHM IS DISRUPTED. IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER ABOUT [THE MODELING WORLD] THESE DAYS?
LH: Well, Daria Werbowy. What else?
AH: WHAT ABOUT FASHION SHOWS? DO YOU STILL GO TO THOSE?
LH: They’re pretty curious. This last time, I was seated next to rapper Nicki Minaj, who was very funny. Something came up and I said, “Do you know how old I am?” And she looked at me and narrowed her eyes and said, “Whatever it is, you are 50!”
AH: [LAUGHS] I LIKE THAT ATTITUDE. BEFORE YOU STARTED MODELING, YOU WORKED AT THE NEW YORK PLAYBOY CLUB. WHAT WAS THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU GOT OF THE WAY MEN BEHAVED?
LH: Ah! Well, it was very interesting because you’re basically in a bathing suit with some ears on. This must have been 1962. It was like Mad Men; the place was full of ad-agency guys, and they were mostly young. Even if they weren’t age-wise, they were very young because they were put into this trance state by all these breasts bobbing about.
AH: DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A FEMINIST?
LH: I don’t even know what that is anymore.
AH: I ALWAYS FIND THAT TO BE SUCH AN ODD QUESTION. IT’S SORT OF LIKE ASKING, “ARE YOU IN FAVOR OF HANDS?”
LH: Exactly. I think women have been in the secondary position for 4,000 years, and it's contra naturam, against nature.
I remember Dick AVEDON playing ‘Mustang Sally’ about 20 times in a row so I could DANCE to it.
LAUREN HUTTON, MODEL
AH: OKAY, NOW I’M GOING TO ASK YOU SOME LIGHTWEIGHT QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SKIN AND HAIR AND WHAT PRODUCTS YOU USE.
LH: Well, I’ll have to tell you that I’ve been slathering myself in coconut oil since I was about 22.
AH: DO YOU EVER USE SUNSCREEN?
LH: I never did. I kept trying to, especially since I spent decades on the equator, and you really should have a hat! But I just couldn’t do it. I think it was because I was always coming from three months of modeling, and when I’d get free, I’d be on a plane the next day and didn’t want to touch anything. I didn’t take makeup, I didn’t take a mirror, and I certainly didn’t take sunscreen.
AH: DO YOU EVER REGRET THAT?
LH: Yes, sort of. It depends on what kind of light I’m looking at myself in.
AH: DO YOU HAVE ANYONE YOU SEE REGULARLY NOWADAYS? DERMATOLOGIST? FACIALIST?
LH: Only my priest.
AH: OKAY, THAT’S GOOD. WHEN DO YOU FEEL YOUR MOST BEAUTIFUL, LAUREN HUTTON?
LH: Oh, in bed with the squeeze. Ask me another one, like, what’s my favorite feature?
AH: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FEATURE?
LH: My heels, when he’s chewing on them.
AH: [LAUGHS] YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO SAY, “IT’S THAT LITTLE GAP BETWEEN MY TEETH.”
LH: Oh gosh, I never thought of that!
- PHOTOGRAPHER:Pamela Hanson @ Brydges Mackinney
- CREATIVE DIRECTOR:Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey
- SUBJECT:Lauren Hutton
- MAKEUP ARTIST:Pati Dubroff @ The Wall Group
- HAIR STYLIST:Anthony Campbell @ The Wall Group
- NAIL ARTIST:Rieko Okusa @ Susan Price
- STYLIST:Lawren Howell @ LaLa Land
- LOCATION:The Lotos Club, New York
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