November 17, 1943 – Mary Laurence Hutton:
“We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be.”
Sometime in the early part of this decade, The Husband and I were watching Project Runway, back when it was on Bravo with Tim Gunn and good, this happened:
Stephen: “Who is your all-time favorite female fashion model?“
The Husband: “What? I can’t even think of one. What a dumb question.“
S: “Mine is Lauren Hutton. I still very much admire her. I was crazy for her working during her middle years. I never get print work now that I am old… and of course, I always will forever love Twiggy.”
H: “Why would anyone care? Be quite, I can’t hear Heidi Klum…“
Hutton is a Southern girl, born in Charleston, South Carolina. She moved to New York City in her early 20s, hoping to work as a model. At first, she was dismissed by agents because of the gap in her teeth. It would later become part of her iconic look. Hutton signed a modeling contract with Revlon in 1973. At the time, it was the biggest contract in the history of the modeling industry: $250,000 a year for 20 days’ work (equivalent to $1,380,000 in 2018 dollars. 20 years later, she signed again with Revlon, becoming a “cover girl,” appearing on the front cover of Vogue magazine a record 27 times.
Over her long career, Hutton has worked both as a model and an actor. She made her film debut in Paper Lion (1968), a sports flick opposite Alan Alda. She played major roles in The Gambler (1974) and American Gigolo (1980), and on television in the network series Paper Dolls (1984), the lavish miniseries Sins (1986) with Joan Collins, the CBS soap opera Central Park West (1995-96) and Nip/Tuck (2003).
Hutton worked steadily as a model into her 70s, appearing in advertising campaigns for H&M, Lord and Taylor, and Alexander Wang.
At 56 years old, Hutton was on the November 1999 “Millennium” issue cover of American Vogue as one of the “Modern Muses” along with Kate Moss, Gisele Bündchen, Iman, Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Amber Valletta, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, Paulina Porizkova and Patti Hansen.
In October 2000, Hutton joined a motorbike group, which included Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne and Jeremy Irons, to celebrate The Art of the Motorcycle exhibit at the Hermitage-Guggenheim Museum in Las Vegas. Hutton told the press:
“I love the feeling of being a naked egg atop that throbbing steel. You feel vulnerable, but so alive.”
Hutton crashed her bike near Hoover Dam, going over 100 miles per hour, and suffered serious injuries. Following her recovery, she became the spokeswoman for her own signature brand of cosmetics for mature women, “Lauren Hutton’s Good Stuff“.
In 2005, Big, a magazine that produces stories surrounding a single theme, person, concept or place, dedicated an entire issue to Hutton’s career and included eight pages of nude photos. Hutton agreed to pose nude for the feature, titled “Lauren Hutton: The Beautiful Persists”, when she was 61-years-old, explaining:
“I want women not to be ashamed of who they are when they’re in bed. Society has told us to be ashamed. The really important thing is that women understand not to listen to a 2,000-year-old patriarchal society.”
Hutton, who is one of four women offered a million dollars by Larry Flynt to pose nude, also explained that she first sought permission from her 14 godchildren, who told her the photographs would be “inspirational”.
Hutton has been modeling since the 1970s. She has had a record 40 covers of Vogue, including those 27 American editions. When she was 74 years old, she was on all three covers of Vogue Italia‘s “Timeless Issue”, its first issue dedicated to women over 60.
Shortly after she began modeling, Hutton revolutionized the industry as the first model to demand a contract and therefore better pay for women. Now, decades later, Hutton was walking the runway at 2017 Milan Fashion Week hand in hand with Gigi Hadid and taking over from Kendall Jenner as Calvin Klein‘s resident underwear model.
Hutton is the oldest woman to be on a Vogue covers, and she said that last year Vogue Italia cover:
“… is the most important because it’s the one that’s makes me feel the most useful. This is a cover that can change society because it shows a woman who is vibrant, attractive, who still laughs, and who for the first time is a woman my age.”
Steven Klein, who shot the covers, used pictures of Hutton in a bra as a message to our “ageist society” that “you can be sexy at 70.”
Hutton first realized the lack of any women who looked over 30 in magazines when she was 47, at which point she also took manners into her own hands, calling every editor she knew: “…from every magazine all over the Western world. You know, we’re at this nexus in history where women have got to be allowed to represent.”
Hutton is the original vice-president of the Guggenheim Museum Motorcycle Club and a board member of the National Museum of Women in Arts in Washington DC.
Hutton was involved in a 27-year-long relationship with her manager Bob Williams who died in 1997. After his passing, Hutton discovered that Williamson stole $13 million of her money. Hutton later explained that he had saved her life on five occasions and made sure that she “didn’t get seduced by the work”. As a warning to other women who fall for a father figure, Hutton wrote:
“I didn’t have a father, and I wanted to be a child with a protector. I’d never seen a shrink, and there was a psychological situation that clearly needed to be addressed. But, you know, I wanted to see the world and how people lived and think about who are we, how are we, why is the world? And Bob did that for me. I used to sign entire checkbooks for Bob; he would pay everything. I never paid a bill till I was 47. All my money from those years is gone.”
After Williamson died, Hutton found out that he had been cheating on her for years. Williamson also spread lies about Hutton’s sexual orientation:
“Apparently one of his girlfriends confronted him about me, he had never told her that we lived together, and he said, ‘I’m bearding for her. She’s a lesbian and she’s going with Julie Christie’.
For the last three years, I would have ripped open the root-cellar gates to hell just to smack him a few times. I don’t want this to happen to other women.”
Hutton seems happy these days. She has apartments in Los Angeles and New York City, but mostly she is in Taos, New Mexico, where she owns a simple prefab Quonset hut-style steel home.