Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Dance Party: Doe In The Headlights

This week's Dance Party is inspired, as so often happens, by a dead person.

Doe Avedon

If you're wondering what the hell kind of name is "Doe", you should know that this model/actress/office worker was christened "Dorcas."

That's one of those Shakespearean names which nobody should inflict upon their child.  Anyway, our heroine was working part time as a fashion model when she was noticed by famed photographer Richard Avedon.  He married her, gave her a new name, and during a period in the 1950s and 60s, she was one of those celebrities who was famous for being famous. 

The story of her romance with Avedon lives on, as the basis of the Fred Astaire / Audrey Hepburn musical film, Funny Face.

The clip below is from that film, and it has gained some notoriety on its own.  In 2006, The Gap snagged the rights to this bit, and did some computer magic to give Hepburn the starring role in their commercial for "the skinny black pant."  The commercial is expertly done, but how successful it was in improving sales to girls who had no idea who Audrey Hepburn was, is debatable. 

And you either hate the idea of using old dead celebrities to hawk your product, or you don't care (Audrey's costar in Funny Face turned up dancing with a vacuum cleaner a while back.  Yuck.)  But here is the clip, pure and unadulterated, from the 1957 release.  Hepburn is really in top form here, dancing the hell out of this Bohemian-tinged choreography.

As for our Doe, who was the inspiration for the character Hepburn plays here, she remained with Richard Avedon only 5 years, enough time to give her a minor career as an actress.  Eventually, she remarried, this time to film director Don Siegel of Dirty Harry fame, and she faded from public life.  She died in December at the age of 86.