Bebe Buell

- words by Hannah Slapper, styling by Alice Cuffe

With a loose theme of adventure and exploration on Motilo this week, who better to honour as a style icon than the woman who has boldly gone where many women have gone before? Bebe Buell: fashion model, singer and best friend to an extremely famous host of rock stars. This is the woman who partially inspired Kate Hudson's character 'Penny Lane' in Almost Famous (2002), so you're bound to learn something about seductive style.

Brad Elterman Archive
Partying with Stiv Bators in 1979

Born with the given names Beverle Lorence, in Virginia, Buell was an early starter in modelling, after being scouted aged 17. She moved to New York to pursue her career but was soon swept up in the '70s culture of rock and roll, and the fascinating parties filled with creatives. It wasn't long before she was hanging out with Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger, and generally being the most beautiful wide-eyed arm candy in town.

Photo of Bebe Buell
Showing her saucy side...

Alongside her burgeoning modelling projects, including her iconic 1974 stint in Playboy, Buell tried several times to launch a musical career. She used her romantic contact John Taylor from Duran Duran to help her set up pseudo-supergroup The Power Station, and formed her own band the B-Sides, who openend for rock legend Alice Cooper. Unfortunately in 1991 just as things were about to kick off with her latest venture, The Gargoyles, the paternity of her daughter Liv, who she had been raising with on-off partner Todd Rundgren, was announced to be Steven Taylor of Aerosmith fame.

Kate Hudson as Penny Lane
Kate Hudson playing Penny Lane in Almost Famous, a character partially inspired by Buell

Liv Tyler, the well known actress and model, had known about her true father since she was nine years old, but it was announced publicly several years later causing a maelstrom in the press, and putting a halt on Buell's career. Instead, she decided to be there for her daughter, to see her through school and help launch her career in showbusiness.

Brilliantly, since Tyler moved out aged 19, Buell has managed to reignite her music career, touring with her latest rock group: The Bebe Buell Band, who released their first hard rock album 'Hard Love' in 2011.

Buell, Bebe & Tyler, Liv
Photographed with her daughter, Liv, in 1980

Although her romantic conquests include a plethora of legends, such as Barry Cowsill, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Page, and two husbands: Coyote Shivers and current partner Jim Wallerstein, her guitarist, there's way more to this woman than a back-catalogue of casual couplings. Just read her interview with Vulture Magazine, and you'll see what we mean.

For some Bebe Buell style inspiration, there's a whole treasure trove of saucy '70s outfits you could put together. Whether you go for the flares-and-a-tee casual look, a strappy showy dress, or a floaty hippy kaftan with platforms, you'll be reflecting a part of her unique aesthetic.

Bebe Buell style

1. Rare London, Open-back Sleeveless Dress; £72, motilo.com
2. Stella McCartney, Izzy High-rise Boot-cut Jeans; £335, motilo.com
3. Topshop, Aztex Embroidered Kimono; £60, motilo.com
4. Deborah Marquit, Leopard-print Stretch-tulle Slip; £395, motilo.com
5. The Big T-shirt Factory, Men’s Mick Jagger T-shirt; £16, motilo.com
6. Saint Laurent, Leather Biker Jacket; £3,315, motilo.com
7. Lisa Maree, Skimming Dreams Crocheted Vest; £90, motilo.com
8. Nicholas Kirkwood, Printed Watersnake Platform Shoes; £995, motilo.com
9. Diane Von Furstenberg, Flirty Minaudiere Box Clutch; £244, motilo.com
10. Jennifer Zeuner, Horizontal Cross Necklace; £103.50, motilo.com


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