FLIRTING WITH LIFE

Originally published in Issue 42 of The Rake, David Smiedt writes that before Lauren Hutton came along, gap-toothed models were about as welcome at a photoshoot as a case of chickenpox. But the all-American cover girl with a boundless lust for life made pretty much anything look cool.

Pilar Crespi and Lauren Hutton on a shoot in Bali for Vogue, 1970 (Photo by Arnaud de Rosnay/Conde Nast via Getty Images)

There are presently two famous Lauren Huttons. If the first one you think of is from a piece of television excrement called Made in Chelsea, you don’t deserve the second. We speak, of course, of the gap-toothed goddess, the girl so all-American her veins ran red, white and blue. A war baby born two years after Pearl Harbor, she forever bore the pointillism of freckles redolent of a burnished Florida childhood. In a plot arc straight out of a third-rate novel, the pretty university student fell in love with a D.J. 19 years her senior who went by the ludicrous spelling of Pat Chamburs. They hightailed it to New York, where Mary Laurence Hutton (what is it with beautiful women changing their names?) found a job working at the Playboy Club. We’ll give you a moment to picture her in nothing but a slinky black leotard, towering heels and the de rigueur bunny ears.

Yet the adventure didn’t go how it was supposed to: the Big Apple took a bite out of her, and she returned south of the Mason-Dixon line to regroup.

When she tried again, as Lauren Hutton, things began to fall into place. She blagged her way into a Christian Dior gig by lying about experience she didn’t have, though at first there was a problem: it measured a few millimetres across and sat between her incisors. Today, dentally spacious strutters are their own supermodel sub-genre, with publications such as The Huffington Post and Harper’s Bazaar running galleries of their favourites. But when Hutton presented at the prestigious Ford Modelling Agency in Manhattan, it was nigh-on revolutionary in an era when perfection’s parameter functioned like an aesthetic corset. What was to be done?

I know what you’re thinking. Mortician’s wax! No? This was Hutton’s temporary solution, but after routinely swallowing (draw your own conclusions), losing or laughing out the prosthesis, she decided to go au naturel.

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David Smiedt

Published

March 2021

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