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12 Days of Supers | Dovima

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Every era has one.  The Face.  The one that embodies the ideals and aspirations of the age. In the puff pastry post-war world of suburban domesticity, that title belonged to the exquisite Dovima. Born Dorothy Virginia Margaret in Jackson Heights, Queens, she was scouted by a Vogue staffer outside a Manhattan Automat. The very next day, she was sitting for Irving Penn. When the legendary photographer asked her name, she instinctively replied that of her alter ego, a nickname she had devised during a lonely childhood propagated by a sickly disposition and an overprotective mother. (The name derives from the first two letters of her three names, Dorothy Virginia Margaret). So was born the enigmatic persona that reflected the sophisticated glamour of the time. Her svelte frame moved with the grace of a dancer, her almond-shaped eyes piercing with a hint of exoticism, and the strong line of her brow mimicking the endless line of her milky neck. As Richard Avedon, supreme architect of the supermodel persona, would explain, “the ideal of beauty stood for an extension of the aristocratic view of women as ideals, of women as dreams, of women as almost surreal objects. Dovima fit that in her proportions.” In honor of the refined elegance of Dovima, Seven Swans a Swimming.

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