Lauren Hutton embodies American style like no one else. Very early in her modelling career, she became the type of model that is indistinguishable from Lauren Hutton, the person. It happens rarely (Kate Moss comes to mind), but it’s that feeling of being unstyled, when the model’s essence comes so strongly through the photograph, to the point where it is unclear whether she’s being styled at all. In short: no one hires Lauren Hutton to look like someone else.
Always radiating tomboy-ishness and a carefree attitude, she is without a doubt my favourite model of all time. I remember falling in love with her in American Gigolo when I was, like, five years old. (Let’s just say my parents were very lenient on what I was allowed to watch as a kid—you name it, I watched it! Also, my mother explaining what “gigolo” means goes down as one of my dearest childhood memories—hello, awkward!). It’s a film I profiled in Screen Style and remains a true American sartorial classic. I’ve never seen anyone wear a t-shirt and slacks as well as Lauren Hutton’s Michelle. Up until then I thought fashion was Dynasty‘s big gowns, sequins and shoulder pads, and she changed all that.
Much later in the ’90s, as she was enjoying her modelling comeback (if you can even call it that—she never really left), I started paying attention to her personal style in Vogue and Vanity Fair. In the era of glamazon fashion, her pantsuits and minimal makeup stood out. Again, Lauren Hutton was a style original.
It does help, of course, when you have a face of a mischievous angel: classically beautiful, with a tiny hint of androgyny. At the beginning of her career in the early ’70s, Harper’s Bazaar wrote: “Lauren is anything but a classical beauty. Her nose flies west, her mouth flies north, she can cross her left eye at will. She made herself beautiful by learning, watching, willing—not by surgically altering her defects.” The “imperfections” or whatever you’d call them—the facial asymmetry, the gap between the teeth— just add to the allure. There will never be another face like this.
It’s not a surprise that now, at 69, she can still out-cool anyone in the front row. (Eva Mendes’s face certainly recognizes that.) In her 2009 J.Crew editorial, Lauren Hutton delivered one of the best quotes on style: “Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year. Style is what you pick out of that fashion.” Words to live by.
Further reading: “We Love Lauren Hutton” by Susan Locht, The Block (August, 2009)