- Hannah Slapper
Anyone who knows anything about fashion will be aware of '70s supermodel and beauty icon Marie Helvin. She was 'the body' of a generation, one of the most important muses of David Bailey and an important advocate for heath and fitness. Now, at 60 years old, she still inspires women with her natural poise, elegance and ability to look smokin' hot in a bikini.
Born in Japan to an American father and Japanese mother, Helvin's life started off filled with adventure. She grew up amongst the lush luxury of Hawaii and travelled around the world with her parents. During a visit to Tokyo with her mother aged 15, she was approached by a modelling scout who had noticed her 'fashionable' Eurasian looks and willowy figure. Soon she was the face of Asian cosmetics brand Kanebo, and used her earnings to move to Europe, where she could better pursue a modelling career.
Based in London, and working with famous brands such as Valentino and Versace, she soon met the famous '60s photographer David Bailey who was captivated by her unique look. They formed a creative partnership which naturally turned romantic, as we all know Bailey had a certain penchant for gorgeous young models. When she was 23 she married him, a union that would last a decade and would define an era of Bailey's photography. Most notable was their 1980 collaborative book Trouble and Strife which featured some of the duo's most iconic nude photos.
With an incredible career behind her already, including covers for all of the Vogue publications, Cosmopolitan and Harper's and Queen, Helvin decided to start focussing on other areas of her career. She started writing, and presenting travel television shows. After her marriage ended she continued to pursue these more media focussed paths, but always maintained her interest in fashion, launching a swimwear range in 1990 and a lingerie line for Agent Provocateur in 2009.
Although many have criticised her decision to not have a family due to worries that will alter her physical appearance, something that purportedly caused the disintegration of her very close friendship with Jerry Hall, we respect her decision to not conform to society's expectations. As a single lady in her sixties, she's happy, healthy and let's be honest: hot.
For some Helvinesque style inspiration, look to some of her '80s favourites: figure hugging off-the-shoulder dresses, white trouser suits, glamourously cut swimming costumes, beading and lots of large, gold jewellery. Remember that she always favoured monochrome colour schemes and magically sexy styles, so don't be afraid to flash some flesh. Bailey would be proud.
1. Roberto Cavalli, Embellished Open-knit Dress; £3,665, motilo.com
2. Chloe, Woven Panama Blazer; £870, motilo.com
3. Donna Karan, Cutout Cashmere-blend Dress; £1,030, motilo.com
4. Kaufmanfranco, Wide-leg Cotton-blend Pants; £755, motilo.com
5. Anya Hindmarch, Carker Tote; £625, motilo.com
6. Jimmy Choo, Ivette Metallic Leather Sandals; £475, motilo.com
7. Alexander McQueen, Leaf Viscose Crepe Dress; £1,165, motilo.com
8. Erickson Beamon, Hello Sweetie Gold Crystal Ring; £273, motilo.com
9. Karla Colletto, Gathered Plunge-front Swimsuit; £190, motilo.com
10. Oscar de la Renta, Hammered Gold-plated Leaf Earrings; £115, motilo.com