One of the original 1960s models, and later an actress, Lauren Hutton was and is still known for her gap-toothed smile, sun-kissed skin, and adventurous tomboy style. She wasn’t just pivotal in changing perceptions of makeup and how women should look, but also the way the fashion and cosmetics industries treated models both financially, and in terms of not just focusing on younger women. She was born Mary Laurence Hutton in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1943, although she grew up in rural Florida with her mother and stepfather after her father died when she was twelve.
After graduating from the University of South Florida, she was interested in pursuing a career as an artist but instead headed to New York.33 An ad in the newspaper led her to her first modeling job for Dior, which she conned her way into, although she soon moved on when she realized that her pay (fifty dollars a week) was meager compared to an hourly rate.
Diana Vreeland, the editor of Vogue at the time, was very influential in launching Hutton’s career and apparently told her on their first meeting, œYou! You have quite a presence. Hutton has commented, œWhen [Diana] saw me, fashion was still deep in the fifties. It might have actually been ’64, but America was still like Mad Men . . . In contrast, Hutton wore œjeans and T-shirts and sneakers. In 1966, Vreeland got Richard Avedon to photograph the young Hutton, resulting in the memorable shots of her mid-jump (prompted by her acting out to Avedon how she would jump over swamp animals when she was younger).34
When Hutton began modeling, she might have had someone to do her hair, but she always did her own makeup as makeup artists weren’t yet standard in the industry even for her Vogue covers (she’s been on the cover of US Vogue a record twenty-seven times).35 At first, she attempted to hide the gap between her teeth, by using mortician’s wax and a cap, which would often fall out of place,36 but she soon realized that it was her gappy teeth that made her different. Hutton epitomized the beauty look of the seventies with her tanned skin and uncamouflaged freckles. Her all-American, wholesome look was echoed by the trends of the time, which favored natural, organic beauty products. Makeup companies were responding to consumers who were seeking more natural cosmetics packaged in an earthy, hippy manner. Hutton has been credited with single-handedly changing how models were paid and making herself one of the highest-paid examples of the decade. In 1973, she secured through her own initiative the first-ever modeling contract for a large sum with Revlon. After this, modeling agencies only began secreting models for the day, instead of by the hour, and prices skyrocketed.37 Hutton has since said that she was inspired by the way that athletes were remunerated.38
In the late 1980s, Hutton returned to modeling at the age of forty-six not for the money this time, but because she felt that women over a certain age just weren’t being represented, which she couldn’t understand. Part of the problem seemed to be the makeup that was available: She noticed that makeup made for younger skin coupled with makeup artists with no real experience of working with older women could make them look odd, or as she put it, like œfreakish tarts.39 In response to this, Hutton spent thirteen years developing her own makeup line, which launched in 2002 making sure that all the products were easy to use, and looked good on older women based on the knowledge she gained during her long career and from all the great makeup artists she has worked with. Now in her seventies, Hutton still models and continues to inspire a whole new generation of women with her fearless attitude.
Over the past century, cosmetics for the privileged few have become makeup for the masses. Female emancipation and the industrial and sexual revolution transformed the painted face and our makeup bags.