Derek Blasberg

on Richard Avedon

An excerpt from DEAR DAVE, 25

Dovima with Elephants, originally published in the 1955 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, is the photographic incarnation of a beauty and the beasts. It features a girl from Queens with a chipped tooth wearing a Yves Saint Laurent-designed Christian Dior gown and posed elegantly and dramatically amongst a couple of circus elephants. The iconic Richard Avedon lensed it at the Cirque Medrano in Paris, and in the past half century it has transcended fashion editorial.

But, what of the woman outstretched amongst these wondrous creatures? Hers is a story of fashion fairy tale and tragic American Dream, filled with haute couture and melodrama.