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February 21, 2019

30 Amazing Color Photos of Iconic Vogue Model Jean Patchett in the 1950s

Jean was “a young American Goddess of Paris Couture” – Irving Penn, Vogue photographer
Jean Patchett (1926–2002) modeled from 1948 until she retired in 1963. Jean did model selectively after 1963 and was available to photographers for special assignments through the 1970s.

In the 1980s Jean moved from New York City to La Quinta, CA with her husband. During Jean’s heyday, her accomplishments became legendary, as she was one of the most recognizable and popular models in American fashion couture.

The October 1950 issue of Vogue Magazine featured Jean Patchett not just on its cover, but on many pages of the feature section! In this publication, there were five full-page illustrations, 3 partial page illustrations, and 4 full page advertisements! The number and frequency of Jean’s appearances in fashion magazines were amazing. She had become the center of fashion photography and was in great demand. Jean Patchett was referred to as the “Queen of Fashion Inc.” by fashion editors and photographers during this decade.

“An absolutely stunning creature with a signature beauty mark, Jean was a super model decades before the term ‘super model’ was coined, and, staggeringly, has had more covers than any fashion model in history. Jean Patchett was to Ford what Babe Ruth was to the Yankees.” Said agency owner Jerry Ford of Ford Models, who represented Jean in her heyday during the Fifties. Jean signed on with the Ford Models on May 10, 1948 according to Miss Patchett. In the Sunday News on March 18, 1951 a feature article titled: “There’s Nobody Like Patchett” author Jess Stearn wrote: “No matter what’s wanted in a model, Jean seems to have it. Because she knows exactly what to do with her hands, head and feet, and takes the right attitude toward her work, Jean has earned the rating of super-model.”

In her early career many readers of the slick magazines did not know her name but they knew her face. Jean’s face was startlingly and unconventionally beautiful, with bone structure large slightly delineated chin. But her features, delightful as they were, were not responsible for making her the most sought after, the busiest, and the most successful photographic model in New York.

Jean Patchett was a highly paid models because of a blemish. Jean had a mole next to her right eye which she darkened with an eyebrow pencil to make it more prominent. For the mole became her trademark. Manufacturers of every product from toothpaste to fashions, and jewelry to luxury cars insisted on having the girl with the mole in their advertisements.

Jean refused to work before 10 am or after 4:30 pm because she liked to cook meals for herself and her banker husband. And she only worked 3 ½ days a week. In the early 1950s Jean said: “I cut down my schedule because so many photographers wanted me to work for them that I was being booked months in advance,” she said. “That didn’t help, so I had my rate raised to $50. an hour, but that seemed to make them even more eager to have me because they all wanted to pay the highest price. I guess that’s why I’m so busy playing hard to get.”



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