|Born||December 13, 1966|
Easton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Miles Aldridge (m. 1997–2013)
Ivor Braka (m. 2016)
|Children||3, including Lily McMenamy|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Agency||The Lions (New York) |
Kristen McMenamy (born December 13, 1966) is an American model. She is known for her unconventional, androgynous appearance. Originally a long-haired redhead, she reinvented her look in the early 1990s by having her hair cut short and dyed black, and her eyebrows shaved off. Her career was boosted by the advent of the grunge fashion trend.
McMenamy was born in Easton, Pennsylvania and spent some time growing up in Buffalo, New York. She was the third of seven children in an Irish-American Roman Catholic family. As a student at Notre Dame High School, she received excellent grades, but was often teased by her classmates, who called her "Skeleton" due to her lanky body. While in college, she decided to drop out of school to pursue a career in modeling. After heading to New York City, she was rejected by various modeling agencies. She nonetheless continued following her dream to model. She later recounted, "I got rejected by everyone. But I was obsessed! It was the only thing I wanted to do and I wanted it so badly. I was like a bulldog, hanging on by my teeth."
1984–1998: Beginnings and success
Upon meeting the modeling agent Eileen Ford, McMenamy was told to consider getting plastic surgery. Despite that, she managed to get signed by an agency that sent her to work in Paris, France. A few years later, she was signed by Elite Model Management, and subsequently by Ford Models. McMenamy's modeling career mainly spanned the years 1985 to 1998, when she worked for many of the world's top designers and international fashion houses, such as Versace, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Todd Oldham, Christian Dior, Sonia Rykiel, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Gianfranco Ferré, Lanvin, Isaac Mizrahi, Yohji Yamamoto, Thierry Mugler, Comme des Garçons, Chloé, and Moschino.
During the early stage of her modeling career, McMenamy met two of the men who would become instrumental in her success as a model: photographer Peter Lindbergh, with whom she worked extensively, and Chanel head designer Karl Lagerfeld, to whom she became a muse. One of her first fashion campaigns was for Chanel's spring/summer 1985 Haute couture collection. That same year, she was photographed by Lindbergh for a Jil Sander ad campaign, and she also starred in an ad campaign for the Byblos fashion house. In 1986, she was featured in the book A Day in the Life of America, photographed by Sante D'Orazio.
She has also worked with many other fashion photographers, including Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, Ellen von Unwerth, Arthur Elgort, Paolo Roversi, Patrick Demarchelier, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Tim Walker, and Juergen Teller. She became a muse to Teller, who has described her as "the best model I have ever worked with".
In 1991, McMenamy starred in the ad campaign for Claude Montana's spring/summer collection, and was paired with model Claudia Mason for Fendi's fall/winter ad campaign. It has been said of McMenamy that "At the time of supermodels, she was the first eccentric and unusual beauty to fight her way through a host of classically beautiful women, thus appearing on the covers of Vogue and on other famous magazines." Some of the other magazines that she has been featured in are Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair, People, Interview, Elle, V, Dazed & Confused, LOVE, i-D, The Face, W, Women's Wear Daily, and Newsweek.
McMenamy was known for having an over-the-top manner of walking on the catwalk, and was likened to "a vamp, stopping to strike exaggerated poses". In 1992, after having her long red hair cut short and dyed black, makeup artist François Nars shaved off her eyebrows for Anna Sui's fall/winter fashion show, thereby "ushering in the era of grunge". The transformation of McMenamy's look made her famous, and her career took off. From that point on, her image became associated with androgyny, and she was also considered a gamine.
In October 1992, she opened the Versace spring/summer 1993 womenswear fashion show, and she later appeared in the ad campaign for that collection, photographed by Avedon. In December 1992, she starred in a grunge photo spread for Vogue titled "Grunge & Glory", photographed by Meisel. Harper's Bazaar named her "Model of the Year" in January 1993. The following month, she had six red ribbons painted on her back, for an amfAR benefit event that she co-hosted with Leanza Cornett. McMenamy also fronted advertisements for Calvin Klein that year.
In October 1994, she was one several models on the cover of Vogue Italia's 30th anniversary issue. The following year, she closed the Versace spring/summer Haute couture show wearing a bridal gown. She then starred in the ad campaign for that collection along with model Nadja Auermann and Elton John, photographed by Avedon. McMenamy and John later appeared together on the cover of the April 1995 issue of Interview. That same month, she was on the cover of Vogue. She was also featured in a chapter of the 1995 book The Beauty Trip.
The following year, McMenamy was the star of an Absolut Vodka fashion campaign that was photographed by Newton in Sweden. Also in 1996, she posed nude with the word "Versace" written on her breasts and buttocks for a series of pictures that were photographed by Teller, which were published in the German magazine Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin. In addition, she appeared in that year's Pirelli Calendar, photographed by Lindbergh. She was also one of the ten subjects of Lindbergh's 1996 book 10 Women.
McMenamy was sometimes compared to supermodel Linda Evangelista because of certain similarities that they shared. Both of their careers skyrocketed after they dramatically changed their looks, and later, they both were considered "chameleons". They both were muses to Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace, as well as to Lindbergh and Meisel, with whom they often collaborated. In spite of their similarities, there were rumors that they didn't get along. They did, however, appear together in several magazine photo spreads and in two ad campaigns for Versace.
In 1997, McMenamy appeared in advertisements for the fall/winter collections of both Versace and Armani. She was also featured in the book Fashion: Photography of the Nineties, in a series of pictures that were photographed by Teller. She then chose to step away from the modeling world in 1998 to focus on her family.
2004–present: The 21st century
In 2004, McMenamy made a return to modeling by walking the runway for the Prada fashion house. That same year, she chose to stop dyeing her hair, and instead let it go gray. In 2005, McMenamy was booked by Marc Jacobs for his Fall 2005 campaign. In 2006, she appeared on the cover of the book In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Fashion Magazine along with Evangelista, photographed by Meisel. Then, in 2009, she was on the cover of the July issue of Vogue Italia, and the cover story had the words "McMenamy the Legend" as the heading. In the September 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, she wore no makeup for a feature story titled "Supermodels Supernatural".
The following year, McMenamy modeled for the fall/winter 2010 Viktor & Rolf fashion show, in which she was a "Matryoshka doll", where the designers put several layers of clothing on her, similar to how the dolls have several layers. She also walked the runway for Klein's fall/winter 2010 fashion show. In August 2010, McMenamy appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia. The cover image and the accompanying 24-page photo spread, which was titled "Water & Oil", were said to be inspired by that year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A controversy arose over the photo spread, particularly because in some of the pictures, McMenamy seemed to be emulating a bird covered in oil. Though, according to Franca Sozzani, Vogue Italia's editor-in-chief, the message of the photo spread was "to be careful about nature".
In September 2010, McMenamy starred in a short fashion film for Gareth Pugh's spring/summer 2011 collection. A few days later, she closed the Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2011 fashion show wearing body paint that was intended to look like zebra stripes. In January 2011, she closed the Chanel Haute couture spring/summer fashion show. She also starred in the 2011 short film The Tale of a Fairy, which was directed by Lagerfeld. She later made an appearance at the Cannes film festival, where she attended a gala for amfAR.
McMenamy appeared in the fall/winter 2011 ad campaigns for both Givenchy and Gaultier. Then, in 2012, she was in the ad campaign for Roberto Cavalli's spring/summer collection. In 2013, she walked the runway for Atelier Versace's spring/summer fashion show. Months later, she was the star of the fall/winter ad campaign for Balenciaga.
In the early 1990s, McMenamy became romantically involved with Hubert Boukobza, the owner of the Parisian nightclub Les Bains Douches. In 1994, they had a daughter, Lily McMenamy. The relationship came to an end, and later, McMenamy began dating English fashion photographer Miles Aldridge, whom she met on a photoshoot for W magazine. They were married in 1997. Her wedding dress was designed by Lagerfeld, who gave her away, and she wore a headdress made by the milliner Philip Treacy. Naomi Campbell served as one of the bridesmaids. The couple have two sons. McMenamy's daughter, Lily, grew up to become a model herself.
- Armstrong, Lisa (September 13, 1992). "FASHION / The new pluck: Who'd have thought there was so much in an eyebrow?". The Independent. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Campo, Riku (31 August 2010). Best in Beauty: An Ultimate Guide to Makeup and Skincare Techniques, Tools, and Products. Simon and Schuster. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-4391-5585-1. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Steele, Valerie (February 25, 2001). "'90s CHIC / The pre-millennium decade was best known as the time of the invasion of the supermodels". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Marsh, Lisa (August 2, 2010). "Gray pride: Model, 45, dares to bare her silver hair". Today.com. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Berg, Rona (January 3, 1993). "BEAUTY; Watch For...Wide-Open Faces". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Kristen McMenamy - Voguepedia". Vogue.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- Martin, Susan (January 12, 1993). "The Buffalo Look". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on September 21, 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- McMenamy, Lily (March 31, 2014). "When Lily Interviewed Kristen". i-D (The Define Yourself Issue, No. 309, Fall 10). Archived from the original on April 3, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
- Furniss, Jo-Ann (April 4, 2013). "It Was Always Kristen". Style.com/Print (04: Fall 2013). Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
- Campbell, Roy H. (April 26, 1992). "For An Outcast, Beautiful Revenge". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Attwood, Naomi (October 18, 2012). "Kristen McMenamy: how to make it as a model". ElleUK.com. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- "Kristen McMenamy". Vogue.fr. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Gleick, Elizabeth (April 19, 1993). "One of a Kind". People. 39 (15). Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- James, Laurie (January 1993). "This Year's Model". Harper's Bazaar: 46.
- Rush, George; Molloy, Joanna (May 30, 1997). "Mike Tyson Wins By TLC: Comes To Daughter's Aid". New York Daily News. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- "Kristen McMenamy Model Profile". New York Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 June 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- David Elliot Cohen (1986). A Day in the Life of America. Collins Pub San Francisco. pp. 184–185. ISBN 978-0002553322.
- "What You Need To Know About Juergen Teller In Celebration Of His Exhibition At The ICA". Yahoo! Lifestyle UK & Ireland. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- "Kristen McMenamy". Vogue.it. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Newman, Rebecca (July 4, 2014). "Nars attack: how the cult beauty brand has spent 20 years at the top". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Burley, Isabella. "François Nars and the immaculate makeover". Dazed. IV (Spring 2014). Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- "François Nars - Voguepedia". Vogue.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- Barchfield, Jenny (May 10, 2011). "Karl Lagerfeld: Chanel designer moves into movies". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Lytle, Lisa (June 24, 1993). "Short hairstyles with wispy bangs for summer". Lakeland Ledger. p. 8C. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- Sajbel, Maureen (April 4, 1993). "STYLE : Spring Beauty : The Latest on Looks : Making Waifs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- Brecher, Media (February 2013). "Lily McMenamy On Following Her Model Mom's Lead". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Gendel, Debra (February 5, 1993). "Princess of Tides". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- Martin, Molly (March 28, 1993). "Role Models -- How Thin Is Fashionable". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- "Marc Jacobs - Voguepedia". Vogue.com. Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "People". Eugene Register-Guard. April 12, 1993. p. 2A. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- Morris, Bob (February 28, 1993). "THE NIGHT; Royal at Last; 3-2-1 Smile". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- Holt, Patricia (April 20, 1995). "An Amusing Guide To Beauty Industry". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- Squiers, Carol (January–February 1996). "Haute Helmut". American Photo: 47–48. ISSN 1046-8986. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Bruzzi, Stella; Gibson, Pamela Church (December 4, 2013). Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explorations and Analysis. Routledge. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-136-47473-6. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Brubach, Holly (May 18, 1997). "Beyond Shocking". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- Landman, Beth; Adams Lang, Anne (November 6, 1995). "A hair-raising catfight on the catwalk". New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. p. 15. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Vince, Jessica (February 8, 2010). "Miaow! Donatella spills on scandalous catwalk catfights!". Grazia Daily. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
- Odell, Amy (February 8, 2010). "Donatella Versace Misses Models With Personalities Who Fought for Their Boobs". The Cut. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
- McNatt, Glenn (June 15, 1997). "Fashion photographs reflect a view of life". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
- Rawi, Maysa (May 12, 2011). "Silver vixen: Grey-haired Kristen McMenamy, 46, shows younger models how it's done as she stars in Chanel show". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- Wilkes, David (August 2, 2010). "Daring to go grey: The 45-year-old model who is bucking trend by revealing her true hair colour". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- La, Kristie T. (October 12, 2010). "No One Ever Said Fashion Was Practical". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- Critchell, Samantha (April 22, 2010). "Is gray the new black? Runways show off grown-ups with curves". The Denver Post. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- LeMenager, Stephanie (January 2014). Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century. Oxford University Press. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-0-19-989942-5. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Italian Vogue oil spill spread: Beautiful or beastly?". New York Daily News. August 11, 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Cowles, Charlotte (August 5, 2010). "Models Resemble Dead Birds in Italian Vogue's Twisted Oil-Spill Fashion Spread". The Cut (New York Magazine). Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Jessica, Bumpus (September 29, 2010). "Gareth Pugh". British Vogue. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Odell, Amy (October 6, 2010). "Marc Jacobs Shows Animal Print, Cheongsam, Body Paint for Louis Vuitton". The Cut (New York Magazine). Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Wee, Matthew (September 21, 2012). "Strutting at 80". The Straits Times. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Theobald, Stephanie (May 20, 2011). "Stephanie Theobald goes star-gazing at amFAR Gala in Cannes". Harper's Bazaar UK. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Whitelocks, Sadie (June 30, 2011). "Catty Campbell: Naomi gets her claws out for Givenchy's latest campaign". Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Lim, James (January 9, 2012). "New Spring Ads: Supermodels for Cavalli, John Galliano, and More". The Cut (New York Magazine). Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Diderich, Joelle (January 19, 2013). "Front Row at Givenchy". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "Balenciaga presenta su primera imagen de campaña con Alexander Wang" [Balenciaga presents its first campaign image with Alexander Wang]. Harper's Bazaar España (in Spanish). March 5, 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Speers, W. (March 25, 1994). "That Cute Little Girl In 'E.t.' Is A Married Woman". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Roberts, Alison (July 3, 2013). "Miles Aldridge interview: "The women in the pictures are often based on my mother"". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Brubach, Holly (1997-10-23). "Style; A Model Bride". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
- "Model Marriages". People. 49 (24). June 22, 1998. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Model Kristen McMenamy divorces fashion photographer Miles Aldridge, 16 years after Karl Lagerfeld walked her down the aisle". The Daily Mail. April 22, 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Alexander, Ella (April 19, 2013). "Kristen McMenamy Divorces Photographer Husband". Vogue UK. Retrieved 11 August 2014.