Lauren Hutton | The First Exclusive Cosmetic Contract

Posted by Reem
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Lauren Hutton for Revlon, 1969.

It’s commonplace for celebrities and models to acquire all sorts of endorsements but the very first time such an exclusive contract was inked between a model and a company was actually initiated by the model herself. Lauren Hutton needs no introduction. Known for her trademark gap tooth smile and fresh-face all-American beauty, Hutton was a 1970s superstar. She was a regular at studio 54. Halston dubbed her “perhaps the most perfect mannequin in history.” Beyond her all-American beauty gracing the pages of Vogue for decades, Hutton paved the way for super models to obtain lucrative exclusive contracts. She was the first million dollar supermodel. To me, the very best part is that Hutton is a true rag to riches story. Hutton grew up in the swamplands of Florida. She was a tomboy and illiterate until the age of eleven. She ventured out to New York in the early ‘60s to get to Africa and find LSD, she has said in interviews. Adding that she had never taken the drug but felt that she would enjoy it. Hutton wanted to travel and saw modeling as a way to accomplish just that, so she worked at the New York Playboy club and put together a portfolio, making the rounds to all the major agencies. She got her break in 1966 when Diana Vreeland spotted her and promptly sent her for a test shoot with Richard Avedon. The rest is history.

More established in her career, Hutton read a New York Times article about a man who received a million dollar contract for his line of work. She wondered how she could manage such a thing and voiced the idea to Richard Avedon. The photographer encouraged her to make her arrangement with Revlon exclusive (she had already previously modeled for them in several campaigns over the years prior). In 1973 Hutton successfully pitched the idea to Revlon and became the face of the brand, she would stay on for a decade. The model was 31-years-old at the time and initially inked the deal for $400,000.

Hutton approaches life with a fearlessness that’s both inspiring and endearing. A woman not only physically beautiful but intelligent and above all else boldly takes risks. Her high energy and boisterous spirit attracted people to her, made her persevere in times when life handed her a bad hand and once she achieved success, helped her recognize and increase her own value.    



Seventeen Magazine, October 1967.


(L) 1976. (M) Photo by Richard Avedon, 1978. (R) 1979.


Photo by Richard Avedon, 1973.


(L) 1978. (M-R) dates unknown.


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