Monday, November 7, 2011

Inspirational Icon Monday: Edie Sedgwick

While the British had their sixties "it girl" in Twiggy, we Americans had Edie Sedgwick. She was similar to Paris Hilton in that she ruled the tabloids for being an heiress and not for any talent she displayed. This sort of stardom normally bothers me but in the case of Sedgwick it doesn't. Maybe it's because Paris doesn't have the finesse of Miss Sedgwick or maybe it's because I feel such pity for Sedgwick's consistently tragic life.

Her family name was steeped in American history with her great x7 grandfather being a general amongst the first European settlers to arrive in Massachussetts and her great x3 grandfather being a signer of The Declaration of Independence. Along with a high social status, each generation built up more and more wealth allowing Sedgwick to receive a pretty inheritance. Unfortunately, she blew through this inheritance in six months due to her constant partying, drug addictions, limo fees...and fashion and jewelry addictions. This excessive spending made her appear to be a rich brat, but it was all to cover up her sadness.

One of eight children, she lost two brothers to suicide and mental illness ran rapid in her family. She was raised by strict parents who didn't allow for social interraction and instilled a belief that their family was better than others. During boarding school, she was kicked out twice for anorexia and was in and out of mental institutions her entire life. It wasn't until she met Andy Warhol that she saw potential in herself after he called her his "superstar" and cast her in several of his underground films. His adoration of her only lasted a year, however, and she was kicked out of The Factory for a fresher face. Warhol's rejection of Sedgwick left her with a serious drug problem, an unrequited obsession over Bob Dylan who had secretly married Sarah Lownds unbeknownst to Sedgwick, and a tumultuous affair with Dylan's best friend Bob Neuwirth. Desperate for love, she married Michael Post (a fellow patient she met in the psych ward), and eventually the drugs, pill popping, and alcohol grabbed her life when she was only 28 years old.

Fashion may be fun. Unique style may portray confidence. Being a trend setter may feel powerful, but clothes are not everything despite Rachel Zoe's (stylist to the stars) claim. A girl has to feel loved whether or not she's clad in a major fashion statement. If she doesn't have a family and/or friends offering up real love than it's easy to follow in the footsteps of Edie Sedgwick.

My version of Edie: Black leotard by Danskin, black tights; chandelier earrings from Urban Outfitters; vintage 1960's off-white heels from Jetrags.

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