Decades before Edie, Karlie, Kate, Christy, and Naomi, and a little before Twiggy, the single-moniker model redefining fashion’s idea of beauty was an aristocratic German that went by the name of Veruschka. Standing over six feet, with agile, sinewy limbs and leonine eyes, Vera Gottliebe Anna Gräfin von Lehndorff-Steinort was born to a count and a countess in eastern Prussia. While her larger-than-life look, reborn with an exotic name, set the standard for lithe-bodied ’60s chic, charming Diana Vreeland, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, and Helmut Newton, and burning itself on the film of Antonioni’s 1966 louche close-up on Swinging London, Blow-Up, before all that, she was known simply as Vera.
A new book, Veruschka: From Vera to Veruschka, now out from Rizzoli, captures the transformative moment in Veruschka’s career as a developing model, on the cusp of her entrée into the fashion vernacular. Culled from over thousands of unprinted negatives from the late Italian photographer Johnny Moncada, a contributor to Italian Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, the book showcases a selection of Moncada’s images of the model taken over the course of a year in Rome and seaside trips to Capri and Sardinia during the era of early ’60s la dolce vita. With forwards by Franca Sozzani, Moncada’s daughter Valentina Moncada, Hamish Bowles, and Veruschka herself, the lush compilation of images provide an intimate look into the emergence of an icon.
VERUSCHKA: FROM VERA TO VERUSCHKA COMES OUT TODAY, MARCH 4, VIA RIZZOLI.