A Model Named Pola

Posted by @vintage_vogue
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(L) Pola wears a pink sweater, a peach chiffon scarf with lace trim pinned with a jewel by Doro. A coral and diamond pin with diamond earrings by David Webb. Acrylic and linen peach knit sweater by Marisa Christina. Hair by Maury Hopson; Makeup by John Richardson: using Orlane’s Luminance Collection Designer Pencils – eyes outlined in light blue; lips in coral; brown stroked on the brows. Photographed by Francesco Scavullo. Vogue US, March 1, 1974.  (R) Pola photographed by Francesco Scavullo for Cosmopolitan, September 1974.

There is little known about the fashion model Paula Klimak, who went by the name of Pola. She had worked in the early 1970’s and was photographed by the likes of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Francesco Scavullo. In 1972, clothing designer Halston chose her to be photographed alongside himself and his other favorite models (Pat Cleveland, Anjelicia Huston) for a Vogue photo spread. A year later, Fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez also picked Pola as one of his “favorite girls” for a photo posing with the likes of Patti Hansen, Jessica Lange, and Grace Jones. By 1974, Pola was about to receive her biggest exposure yet, gracing the cover of both Cosmopolitan and Vogue magazines. However, before they went to print, at the age of 19-years-old Pola committed suicide. Both magazines agreed to follow through and published the cover girl posthumously.

Makeup artist Evan Richardson worked with Pola and photographer Francesco Scavullo on both cover shoots as mentioned in his 2013 autobiography The Star Shiner: Memoir of a Celebrity Make-Up Artist. Here is an extract…

“The model was Pola, a beautiful blonde girl with plump, poultry lips and sultry eyes. I had done Pola’s make-up before for a Cosmopolitain cover, and because artists who had worked successfully with a model were often chosen again, I got the job.

Pola was a sweet girl --- maybe not bright, I felt, but lovely to look at. As I made her up in the most beautiful pastels to complement the soft pink sweater, peach chiffon scarf with lace trim, and coral and diamond pin and earrings that she’d wear on the cover – quite a contrast from the hard look I’d created on her for Cosmo --- I identified with her story of losing a boyfriend she loved to another model. I never felt sure of myself, and Pola seemed to be suffering with the same lack of self-esteem.

I sympathized with her, even felt a bit protective. After two shoots with her, I had grown quite fond of Pola --- though I still had my convictions of her being on the dumb side. She seemed fragile and vulnerable, and my heart went out to her. And she was young: only 19.

Soon after the shoot, Pola committed suicide, and Vogue had the dilemma of bringing out a beautiful cover of a dead girl. I hoped they would do it as a kind of tribute to Pola and her only cover of Vogue. They finally did, reasoning that the public wouldn’t know she was dead, and I was grateful because it would be my only cover of Vogue, too."



Pola in “Great New Makeup”. Photo by Kourken Pakchanian, US Vogue July 1972.


(L) Antonio’s Girls: Illustrator Antonio Lopez with Pola (née Paula Klimak), Alva Chinn, Lizette, Patti Hansen, Jessica Lange, Karen Bjornson, and Grace Jones. Photo by Francesco Scavullo for Interview magazine, August 1973. (R) Pola by Richard Avedon, US Vogue September 1, 1972.


(L) Pola in “Great New Makeup”. Photo by Kourken Pakchanian, US Vogue July 1972. (R) Pola wearing Givenchy. Hair by Christophe. Photographed by Jean-Jacques Bugat, Vogue Paris September 1972.


(L) Pola for American Vogue, 1972. (R) Pola by Francesco Scavullo, Vogue 1972.


American fashion designer Halston with his favourite girls: Anjelica Huston, Apollonia van Ravenstein, Emmanuelle, Karen Bjornson, Lynn Woodruff, Pat Cleveland, Paula Klimak (Pola), and Shelley Hack. Photographed by Duane Michals, Vogue, December 1, 1972.


(L) Pola by Irving Penn, 1972. (R) Pola by Richard Avedon, Vogue 1972.


"The NYC Collections Ease Is the Essence" by Richard Avedon, Vogue US, September 1972.


"The NYC Collections Ease Is the Essence" by Richard Avedon, Vogue US, September 1972.


Pola by Irving Penn, 1972.


(L) Pola by Melvin Skolsky, New York, 1967. (R) Pola in Halston by Chris Von Wangenheim, Vogue, February 1974.


Pola by Irving Penn, 1972.

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