Photographed by Francesco Scavullo, Vogue, July 1974.
These days, when you say the name Rene Russo, movies are likely the first things that come to mind—but that was not always the case. Before she made a name for herself on-screen, Russo was one of the most successful fashion models of the ’70s. Discovered at a Rolling Stones concert while still a teen, Russo quickly became a fixture in magazines and advertisements, which favored her sculpted cheekbones, wavy auburn hair, and difference from the early ’70s default blonde-next-door look. She soon carved out a niche for herself alongside fellow modeling industry game changers like Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson.
In the ’70s, Russo stood for a sexiness that was both accessible and aspirational: She could vamp it up with the best of them, posing for Francesco Scavullo in decadent furs, or swathed in Versace for Richard Avedon, but Russo wasn’t your average pinup. The poise she brought to her images made her the first choice for editorial shoots that demanded models with tenacity, whether she was bound for the boardroom in a power suit or posing on a beach with Tony Spinelli. The self-possession that she would later bring to her roles in films like Thor, Nightcrawler, and The Thomas Crown Affair was evident long before she made her way to Hollywood. In the pages of Vogue, Russo achieved many memorable milestones—including nine covers—and her photos, collected here, still look every bit as appealing.