Veruschka, Countess Vera Gräfin von Lehndorff-Steinort, changed fashion for good. She was the first super model of the Sixties. Her 6 ft. 3 in. (190 cm) frame, with its improbably long limbs, was revolutionary at the time, following as it did the more womanly shapes of the models that came before her.
Her father, a German Count, was executed for attempting to assassinate Hitler in the 1944 plot, when Vera was five.
She was frequently shot by legendary photographers Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Irving Penn, earning her the status of an It girl in fashion.
Appearing on eleven Vogue covers, Veruschka epitomized the newly liberated woman of the sixties.
At 20, photographer Ugo Mulas discovered her on the street and soon she was modelling full-time.
In 1964, Diana Vreeland, the editor of American Vogue, discovered her and soon encouraged her to come up with her own ideas.
In 1966 she did her first shoot wearing nothing but body paint, and it became a lifelong artistic pursuit. Most of the time she did her own make-up, hair and styling.
In 1975, she decided to retire from modeling and rediscover her first passion: art. Collaborating with famed sculptor and painter Holger Trülzsch, von Lehndorff created a series of avant-garde nude self-portraits.
“In the Sixties, fashion was about liberation. It was about setting women free; it wasn’t about being unable to walk.” -Veruschka von Lehndorff.
Also in 1966, she was cast as herself for Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow-Up; she had only a scene in the movie, but it’s usually voted as one of the sexiest scenes in the cinematic history.
Veruschka as Chairman Mao from an issue of French Vogue 1971, photo by Alex Chatelain. The concept was Salvador Dali’s idea!
In 1971, Veruschka starred in the film Poetry of a Woman directed by fashion photographer and boyfriend Franco Rubartelli, with soundtrack by master Ennio Morricone.
In the film Salomé, 1972.