Saturday, July 10, 2010


Dovima in Balenciaga Richard Avedon

Dovima circa 1955

Dovima 1955 Richard Avedon

Who is Dovima? She is the first supermodel, born December 11, 1927 as Dorothy Virginia Margaret Juba, later known as Dorothy Horan, and best known as Dovima, a model in the 1950's.

Born in New York City, Dovima was discovered on a sidewalk, a mere housewife from Queens. She had a photo shoot with Irving Penn the following day and since then worked closely with Richard Avedon. Their most famous collaboration was the photograph of her in a floor-length black evening gown with circus elephants titled "Dovima with the Elephants" which was taken at the Cirque d'Hiver in Paris in August 1955. The gown was the first evening dress designed for Christian Dior by his new assistant, Yves Saint-Laurent

Dovima was reputed to be the highest-paid model of her time. She never left her home without full make-up. She epitomized and lived up to the 50's ideal of regal glamour. You can see her in a cameo role as the beautiful but simple-minded fashion model Marion in Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.(Paramount, 1957).

On the set of Funny Face

Dovima had one daughter named Alison with Alan Murray and their violent relationship caused her much grief later in life. She spent most of her life, after her divorce and her failed modeling career, trying to gain access to her daughter .
She died of liver cancer on May 3, 1990 at the age of 62. After her death, Richard Avedon said, 

"She was the last of the great elegant, aristocratic beauties... the most remarkable and unconventional beauty of her time."  

cited with additions from me from this source.

Dovima 1953 by famed photographer Horst P. Horst 

Dovima by Clifford Coffin, 1952.

Dovima circa 1955


Anonymous said...

On the photo by Clifford Coffin, the model is Carmen dell'Orifice and not Dovima.

Emmaandmaha said...

Thank you! I will leave your comment as my correction.