She is dismissive of the trend for vertiginous shoes.
‘In the Sixties, fashion was about liberation. It was about setting women free; it wasn’t about being unable to walk.’
Six feet tall, titled and Teutonic, Veruschcka, born Vera Von Lehndorff was everything that the girl next door American model of the time (think Cheryl Tiegs or the sexy blonde Swede imports with beachy, California girl looks) was not. She was angular, not curvy; with a serpentine body and an androgynous quality to her beauty that was strong and dangerous–a Bond Girl before the genre existed. Hers was the face of a survivor, not a spoiled beauty like Naomi or Linda who “won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000”.
Yes, she was way too thin in Blow-Up, but not by design. A week-long bout of dysentery on a Mexican shoot left her dangerously underweight. But her skinny fragility added a domed, drug chick desperation to the scene that made it even more powerful. Check out the really fab grey sofas in the background.
Veruschka grew up in a castle, the daughter of Count Heinrich Von Lehndorff a wealthy German landowner. During World War II, Hitler’s bunker was on their property.
‘My parents led this double life. They were in the underground movement to bring down the Nazis. My father was hanged for being a traitor.
‘My mother, who was in her 30s, was left with four children. She was put in prison and we were thrown into a camp for children of resistance fighters. When the war ended, we were refugees. We had lost absolutely everything.’
At 20, she was discovered in Florence by a photographer and became a model.