Have you heard of Vali Myers?
I hadn't until yesterday but I'm excited to delve into her life.
I was going through the dozens of old emails that I have acquired and for some reason opened one that was from the W Magazine mailing list (adore that magazine by the way. There is usually nothing vintage about it but I love fashion of any era. Sometimes you can find articles about fashion icons from the past along with fabulous photo spreads). The email featured an article about the life of an artist named Vali Myers.
It was this picture of Vali from the 50's that reeled me in...
The photo is circa 1950 but this woman looks like a model from the 80s, 90s or even now.
Vali Myers was not technically a model, even though she was the muse of many photographers and artists. She was an artist herself. Born in Australia in 1930, she was at first a dancer. In 1950 at the age of 20 she left her position as principal dancer with the Melbourne Modern Ballet Company and went to Paris. There she became friends with famous artists and authors of the period, including Tennessee Williams.
I, unfortunately, could not find much on her life. What I did find was fascinating. She seemed to have been a free spirited, tragic soul (the was an addiction to opium during her lifetime). Vali circulated in the bohemian world of Paris and was loved by the beatniks and eccentrics of the 50s and 60s. It was said that some called her la morte vive because of her pale skin and her heavily lined eyes (I guess what we would call a smoky eye today, hehe). Her artwork seemed to mimic her life. It's very mythical, ethereal and somewhat magical. I also think that has a lot to do with the fact that she was said to have grown up in the Australian bush...always around nature.
I'm not sure why but I'm very curious about her life and her work. I am in no way "bohemian" but the lifestyle sometimes appeals to me. A number of my friends are very bohemian in lifestyle and I totally get them. I guess it is the performance artist in me.
There is a biography about her, Vali Myers: A Memoir, that I hope to get for my birthday. After I read it I will revisit this post and hopefully be able to give you more incite into her life and work. For now, here are some photos that I have found.