Sadly yesterday the world lost one of its biggest Hollywood Icon’s- Elizabeth Taylor. Even though she was no longer in the top of the spotlight as she once was, Taylor’s legend was undeniable. And despite the fact that stars like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly were more widely thought of as fashion inspirations, Taylors beauty set her in a category all her own.
Her big break was at the tender age of twelve in the film National Velvet which turned the young Elizabeth into an international star. At the age of eighteen she married Nicky Hilton the heir to the Hilton Hotel empire and Great Uncle to Paris and Nicky which soon fizzled. Ultimately Taylor was married on over half a dozen occasions causing plenty of scandal along the way including breaking up the marriage of America’s sweetheart Debbie Reynolds. And another affair with Richard Burton while filming the big budget flop Cleopatra… that union was so complicated it happened twice… One might say Taylor was the Angelina Jolie of her day. Aside from marriages there was a brood of children, a lavish lifestyle ie: jets, furs, jewels etc, including booze and rehab, paparazzi and headlines galore.
No one could deny that Liz Taylor captured the world’s attention in a big way and to this day who could forget some of her most glamorous moments in the spotlight like that filmy little slip dress as “Maggie the Cat” in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Let’s face it, had Paul Newman not been cast as her hunky husband Brick no one would have ever taken their eyes off of her during the entire 108 minutes.
It almost seemed like the fitted day dress was created just for her…in fact I can’t think of any time on film from the 50’s-the 70’s that Taylor didn’t look amazing. Even in a simple ranch style skirt and blouse in the blockbuster film Giant with Rock Hudson and James Dean, Taylor was wholesomely smoldering (if there is such a thing). Her plunging necklines and cinched- in waist were a signature style and as the decades advanced the diamonds and furs were an undeniable accessory.
In the fifties her signature red lip and strong brow were as feverishly recreated as Kim Kardashian’s smoky eyes are today. And as the sixties rang on Taylor wore the pale lip trend (like JLo) with ease. I mean how could you go wrong with that flawless skin and those blue/violet eyes?
And Taylor was as much of a trendsetter on the humanitarian front as she was a Hollywood Icon, she championed Aids/HIV in a time when it was taboo to do so, and she often came to the defense of controversial friends such as Michael Jackson even during a negative media storm.
To the end Taylor lived voraciously and boldly … I imagine that to put it in a rather cliché way… She was an original and they broke the mold when they made her. She will be missed.