The first 'icon' in this series is the cultural figure, Lee Radziwill. Lee has always been a personal influence on my life, and I hope that she will become a figure in many others after reading this piece.
Lee was born in Southampton, New York on March 3 1933, the daughter of John Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Norton Lee. She is of course, the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy.
Lee married Michael Canfield in April 1953, a marriage which subsequently ended in divorce in 1959. Her second marriage in 1959 was to Stas Radziwill, descended from Polish royalty. The couple had two children, Anna Christina and Anthony. This however did also not last, and a divorce was granted in 1974. In 1988, Lee married film director Herbert Ross, but the pair divorced in 2001.
Lee has had many careers: actress, starring in Laura and the stage version of The Philadelphia Story, a PR executive for Giorgio Armani and an author in the form of the sumptious book Happy Times.
Lee is perhaps widely known for her chic sense of style and networking. In the 60s and 70s, Lee was seen with among many, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Diana Vreeland, and The Rolling Stones.
During the Kennedy Administration, Lee accompanied her sister, The First Lady on her foreign trips, including destinations such as India, France, Ireland and The UK. She is also known to have gone to secret couture shows and sent sketches of clothes to her sister so she could have them re-created.
The pair are known for their sense of fashion, relying on Chanel, Givenchy and Cassini in the 60s. Lee also promoted the work of Courreges with one of her gowns recently donated to the V&A. The sisters frequently topped Best Dressed lists, and to this day are quoted as beacons of chic.
In 2006 the musical Grey Gardens, opened on Broadway, a factual play depicting the lives of her cousin and aunt. Lee stunned cast, crew and audiences when she attended opening night in anticipation of seeing herself portrayed on stage.
Lee had houses in London and the English countryside and currently divides her time between New York and Paris.
Lee and Jackie at the White House
Lee in the 60s-70s
A Courreges gown worn by Lee, currently at The V&A
Gold Paper and sequinned shift worn by Lee, currently at The V&A
Pictures courtesy of The V&A, The Fashion Spot and my own collection.