Saturday 21 April 2018

Naomi and Anne, the true fashion icons who defy time

In the 1950s Anne Gunning was an Irish fashion icon. In 2015 it's Naomi Campbell. Two images taken 60 years apart show that beauty is timeless, writes Claire Mc Cormack

PORTRAIT SHOT: International supermodel Naomi Campbell, announced as the new face of Newbridge Silverware, is pictured modelling their jewellery in Dublin last week
PORTRAIT SHOT: International supermodel Naomi Campbell, announced as the new face of Newbridge Silverware, is pictured modelling their jewellery in Dublin last week
Anne Gunning
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Anne Gunning, the muse of celebrated designer Sybil Connolly, was the "Irish" beauty of her age.

Sixty-five years after her heyday as one of the highest-paid models of her generation, a stunning image taken of her in Jaipur in 1956 for Vogue Magazine will form part of a new exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery.

It comes in the same week that it was announced Naomi Campbell will adorn our fashion pages and advertising billboards in 2016 as the new face of Newbridge Silverware.

Both could, and can, lay claim to be the faces of their generation - at least in the superficial world of high fashion.

Yet their backgrounds could not have been more different.

Anne Gunning was born Anne Gunning-Parker, the daughter of Arnold Barthrop Parker, of Cuckfield in Surrey in the British Home Counties.

She sprang to fame when she appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in 1953 wearing a Sybil Connolly ensemble under the breathless headline: "Irish invade Fashion World."

Even in those days her career as a fashion model was remarkably long - something she shares with Naomi Campbell.

She left the business in the late 50s and in 1961 married well - to the diplomat and British conservative party politician Anthony Nutting - who was later knighted.

She became Lady Anne Nutting and died in 1990 leaving a considerable fortune.

Naomi Campbell became a model at 15 (she is now 45) and quickly became one of the world's most recognisable faces - a de facto supermodel.

Speaking at last week's launch of the Newbridge Silverwear campaign, the still-flawless Ms Campbell was unable to identify any Irish model of the current crop with superstar potential.

"I've been working in America on a new television show called American Horror Story: Hotel so I'm not really aware of who any of the Irish models or new younger models from Ireland are," Ms Campbell told the Sunday Independent.

Ms Campbell's new role with the Irish jewellery brand for the next two years is something of a coup for Newbridge.

She is replacing actress Amy Huberman, a move reportedly costing in excess of €200,000. Newbridge hope she will expand the brand's international appeal.

Making the announcement in Dublin, Newbridge CEO William Doyle said: "Naomi embodies grace, style, beauty and strength and is the ideal fit for us."

Dressed in a navy leather Alexander McQueen dress, and dripping in silver, the famously hot-tempered model, who was once engaged to U2 bassist Adam Clayton, said she was proud to take the role.

"I used to live in Dublin and I know the craftsmanship and the work and the designs. It feels like home to be back," she said.

It's another venture in an eclectic career. She has penned a novel, released an R&B-pop studio album, and taken several roles in film and television, such as the modelling competition reality show The Face and its international offshoots.

Her personal life has been tabloid fodder for years, including past friendships with boxer Mike Tyson and actor Robert De Niro.

And, of course, her famously short temper has led to a number of court appearances.

Sunday Independent

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