(L-R) Photo by Richard Avedon, Suit by Ben Zuckerman, Hair by Kenneth, New York, November 1958 / Illustration by Marc-Antoine Coulon / Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.
The name is China Machado (pronounced cheena) and the face is as unforgettable as the human being that inhabits a body that broke boundaries as she outlasted and out classed so many of her colleagues and mentors.
Her humanity and presence are humbling as this is a woman who has more life and zest in her than most 20 year olds. She has been indelibly etched into fashion continuum and is quite simply one of the classiest women one could ever hope to meet. Her resume reads like a who’s who of fashion and yet she says “I am simple person.” She literally tore down barriers and set fashion on a path that it still travels today.
Well, her modesty and humility betray her body of work as how many can say they worked with Avedon whom she is inextricably linked to as muse and subject and then there is Weber, Sokolsky, Vogue, Bazaar, Balenciaga, Givenchy and probably every great designer and photographer of the 20th century. How many would say that they still smoke and drink and eat what they want? She has achieved more in one life than any 10 people you may know in fashion.
She is a 21st century woman who has seen so much and done so much as to boggle one’s mind; one might say she has done and seen it all but alas “it aint over yet!” Honestly, she is just entering into this new chapter of a life that leaves even the most jaded with mouth agape!
I am forever honored and awed to introduce you to China Machado as she allows us into her world and mindset, when I had the chance to sit down and talk to her.
Jeffrey: What is the most treasured possession in your wardrobe?
China: 1958 Balenciaga dark green lace dress and a navy satin James Galanosevening dress
J: What is your most sterling trait and what trait do you treasure most in your friendships?
C: Loyalty and kindness
J: What is your bliss?
C: Loving sexual relationship
J: What is your guilty secret?
J: What is on your bedside table right now?
C: Cigarettes, chocolates, book of the moment and tissue
J: What do you wear to bed?
C: Depends on with whom.
J: What’s your advice to the “newcomer?”
C: Never do what you do not like.
J: Who or what is your inspiration/style icon?
C: Gloria Guinness
J: What is the best advice you ever received?
C: From Avedon: Only do what you do best but be curious.
J: If you could invite up to 4 people for dinner, who would they be…dead or alive?
C: I want to have a good time so most probably Porfirio Rubirosa, Orson Wells, Kay Thompson and Stanley Donen. All of whom I have met.
J: What is your favorite movie /or movie star?
C: Citizen Kane
J: What is the one thing you would change about yourself?
C: Impossible to say one thing.
J: What’s your take on magazines, books versus the internet?
C: It depends on how much time I have.
J: What is your crowning achievement thus far in your career?
C: Most people will say breaking the race barrier in 1958
(L) Wearing a Patou Slim Polka Dot Dress, Photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar "Paris Present" , March 1959. (R) Wearing Tina Leser, Photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, December 1959.
(L) Wearing a Dior dress, Photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar "Paris is Present", March 1959. (R) Wearing a Pierre Cardin Evening Gown, Photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar "Paris Pursuit", September 1959.
Photos by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, May 1961.
(L) Wearing Scassi, Photo by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar, November 1961. (R) Harper's Bazaar, September 1961.
(L) With writer Alberto Moravia in Rome, Photo by Frank Horvat, Harper's Bazaar, 1962. (R) Photo by Frank Horvat, Rome, Harper's Bazaar, 1962.
(L) Wearing a Sarmi Dress, Photo by Melvin Sokolsky, Harper's Bazaar "Exaggerations", March 1962. (R) Photo by Jeanloup Sieff, Harper's Bazaar "New York - How To Take It", July 1964.
(L) Wearing Christian Dior, Photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, March 1964. (R) Harper's Bazaar, 1971.
(L) With daughter Manuela, Photo by Louis Faurer, Harper's Bazaar "Revilon", February 1966. (R) Wearing an Emme Hat with Elizabeth Arden's "Pure Pink" Collection Makeup, Photo by Richard Avedon.
(L) Madison Avenue Gallery Opening with Kim D'Estanville, Photo by Rose Hartman. (R) Wearing a Kitchen-checked gingham blouse by Lady Manhattan, Photo by Louis Faurer.
(L) Photo by Glen Luchford, V Magazine, 2010. (R) Photo by Bruce Weber, Styling by Camilla Nickerson, W Magazine, March 2010.
(L) Wearing Alexander McQueen, Photo by Bruce Weber, W Magazine, March 2010. (R) FASHION, May 2012.