Style Icons: Female »Penelope Tree

60’s It Girl

Penelope Tree is one of the most strangely beautiful faces of the ’60s. She looked like an elf (which makes her totally my type) or, as hot boyfriend and famous woman eater David Bailey once said, like “an Egyptian Jiminy Cricket”. They met when he was still with Catherine Denueve, who reportedly saw a photo of Tree and told him “You’re going to run off with her,” before they had even met.

Discovered to a degree by the fab Richard Avedon who (unlike Vogue at first) thought her look was “perfect”, Tree ushered in the waif look along with Twiggy and lived the lifestyle of a spaced out hippie chick. While living with Bailey, probably to the horror of the lovely Deneuve, she painted the rooms in their house black and purple. She also reportedly installed a UFO detector, but considering that such a thing doesn’t exactly exist, who knows.

She was rebellious, defying her parents (a bisexual MP and a political activist) to become a model, running off with Bailey at age 17, shaving her eyebrows because she wanted “to look more like a Martian than I already did”, and dropping out of the whole fashion world when she was finished with it.

While some can correctly criticize her for bringing on an era of super skinny models, (she admitted to suffering from anorexia during her career), on a positive note she also redefined beauty and defied tradition. She was weird yet lovely, innocent looking but kind of scary and she mostly refused to smile at the camera. She looked like no one else in the world and liked it that way.

She’s recently been seen back in front of the camera for Burberry.

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Posted on July 7, 2008

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1 Comment

  • From Quinn on December 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Being a tryhard rebel isn’t impressive… quite the opposite. But I can appreciate her. I dont find her pretty personally but I can always appreciate exotic beauty! I never heard of her till I saw her name in a fashion book. She’s unique for sure.