Visual Privilege of Polly Mellen

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Twiggy photographed by Richard Avedon and styled by Polly Mellen, Vogue, July 1967.

After reading System’s incredible interview with 92-year old Polly Mellen (former fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, American Vogue and Allure), I realised how boring fashion is today. Those were the days, when Polly took Veruschka to Japan for five weeks and made the most expensive editorial in Vogue’s history; when Leslie Winer and Jean Michel Basquiat made out at Irving Penn’s studio; when Mellen and Avedon worked with Nasstasja Kinski, who willingly posed with a snake on her naked body. The way Polly describes this experience to Jonathan Wingfield is equally emotive: now, I don’t know if you’ve ever held a snake… it is so erotic, you cannot imagine, it’s like holding your lover’s penis, it really is. Truly, I found reading this feauture inspiring and gripping like an adventure book – Mellen’s life is, as she describes, a ‘visual privilege’.

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Nastassja Kinski photographed by Richard Avedon and styled by Polly Mellen.

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Veruschka photographed by Richard Avedon and styled by Polly Mellen, Vogue, 1966.

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Veruschka photographed by Richard Avedon and styled by Polly Mellen, Vogue, 1966.

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Jerry Hall photographed by Helmut Newton and styled by Polly Mellen, Vogue, October 1974.

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Unpublished, photographed by Steven Klein and styled by Polly Mellen, 1997.

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