Sunny Harnett

The photo was not really iconic, but one of my first exposures to glamor photography. It was one of a handful of photos that hanged on my mom’s office. The photo was taken for September, 1954 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, by one of the magazine’s major contributing photographers: Richard Avedon. Modelling for Avedon was Sunny Harnett, a prominent model of her day, wearing a dress by designer Madame Gres. After her modelling career, Ms. Harnett worked as an assistant to Eileen Ford of Ford Models. Confined to a home for the aged in her last years, she died in a fire there in 1987. She was 63.

The photo itself was taken in the casino at Le Touquet, a resort town known as Paris by the sea. Since the 1920s, when Noël Coward led the British “smart set” to the town, the wealthy have spent their short vacations and weekends in Le Touquet; the casino itself was the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s eponymous casino at Royale-les-Eaux in Casino Royale.

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