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November 16, 2022

Liz Pringle: The Leading Post-War Fashion Model

Born 1929 as Isobel Ann Benn in Toronto, Canadian fashion model Liz Pringle began modeling work while still a schoolgirl in order to help support her struggling family. At the age of 14 she was offered a starring role in the film National Velvet, based on Enid Bagnold’s novel. She turned it down, reasoning that she would make more money modeling. The part went instead to Elizabeth Taylor.

Liz Pringle in the 1940s and ’50s

Liz was soon making enough money to buy her parents a house and a car, but her ambition did not end there. Aged 18 she booked herself on a flight to New York, where she was immediately signed up by Eileen and Gerard Ford, who had started the Ford Modeling Agency in 1946. For her first assignment, Liz was sent to the photographer Richard Avedon, who would become a lifelong friend. Soon she was appearing on multiple covers of the most famous magazines of the day, including Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.

When 19, Liz was sent on a fashion shoot in Jamaica with another leading model of the day, Mary Jane Russell. When news of their impending arrival reached John Pringle, a former equerry to the Duke of Windsor, he decided to try his luck and went to the airport to meet them. On discovering that Mary Jane was married, he concentrated his attention on Liz Benn, and they decided to marry within two weeks — despite the fact that she was already engaged to a man in Canada.

John and Liz began their married life in New York, where she continued with her modeling career while he opened a fashionable menswear shop. Three years later they returned to Jamaica, where they began developing Round Hill, near Montego Bay.

Under the aegis of John and Liz Pringle, Round Hill became a destination of choice for the biggest celebrities of the 1950s, many of whom became personal friends. The guest list included names such as Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Alfred Hitchcock, Errol Flynn, Leonard Bernstein, Cole Porter, John and Jackie Kennedy and Princess Margaret.

In the early 1970s, John and Liz Pringle divorced, but they remained close until his death in 2006. Liz died in 2012, aged 83. Take a look at these stunning photos to see portraits of young Liz Pringle as a model in the 1940s and ’50s.

Liz Pringle lying on sheets the color of daffodils in Bates percale, pillowcases and blanket embroidered in white eyelet, by Carlin Comforts, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, October 1948

Liz Pringle in pink silk taffeta with a delicate tracery of black lace embroidered with clusters of rhinestones, the waist is bound with a wide pink satin sash, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, October 1948

Liz Pringle in camel-colored suéde jacket and wool skirt over white turtleneck, jacket by Leathermodes, skirt by Tilly Schanzer, cashmere sweater by Premier, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, August 1949

Liz Pringle in skirt and blouse by Joset Walker, Kodachrome by Genevieve Taylor, Harper's Bazaar, November 1949

Liz Pringle in white halter top and black brief bottoms, photo by Toni Frissell, Harper's Bazaar UK, June 1949

Liz Pringle in Botany brand fabric coat designed by Philip Mangone, Harper's Bazaar, August 1950

Liz Pringle in Carolyn Schnurer's white oxford cloth shorts and top with white cord passementerie based on a djellabah, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe in Tunisia for cover of Harper's Bazaar, June 1950

Liz Pringle in Celanese chiffon jersey dress by Janet Taylor, Harper's Bazaar, January 1950

Liz Pringle in red silk shantung dress, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, June 1950

Liz Pringle in Strapless evening gown of white and gold satin print by Howard Greer, Harper's Bazaar, October 1950

Liz Pringle, Revlon's lipstick and nail enamel ad, Harper's Bazaar, September 1950

Liz Pringle in batik print on Celanese silk surah skirt and jersey blouse by Lotte of Drewyn, Harper's Bazaar, December 1951

Liz Pringle in black silk bengaline dress scrolled with heavy black cotton lace at neck, hem and apron front, by Omar Kiam for Ben Reig, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, December 1951

Liz Pringle in EMBA silver-blue mink stole to wrap around and around from Deanfield Furs, photo by Karen Radkai, Harper's Bazaar UK, February 1951

Liz Pringle in Forstmann's amber wool topcoat with loosely folded collar and double-breasted buttons by Harry Frechtel, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, September 1951

Liz Pringle in satin faille and Enka rayon evening gown by Maurice Rentner, fox fur by Fredrica, jewlery by Kramer, photo by Wingate Paine, Harper's Bazaar, October 1951

Liz Pringle in a Carolyn Schnurer bathing suit in pattern of a Japanese paper box, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe for Harper's Bazaar, January 1952

Liz Pringle in black moiré full skirt with tight-short fleece jacket from Lord & Taylor, photo by Karen Radkai, Harper's Baazar, March 1952

Liz Pringle in cotton checkered sleeveless shirt and skirt by McMullen, handkerchief by Bloch Frères, photo by Karen Radkai at Baccarat and Porthault, New York, Harper's Bazaar U.S., February 1952

Liz Pringle in fitted, plaid coat of red and black wool, side-swing black straw hat, all by Christian Dior-New York, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar U.S., February 1952

Liz Pringle in lovely ice-blue peignor set of pleated nylon and ecru lace by Vanity Fair, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar, June 1952

Liz Pringle in narrow, pale gray flannel suit by Lilli Ann, white linen gilet by Emily Wetherby, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar U.S., February 1952

Liz Pringle in sand-colored suit in pacific worsted with the texture of shantung by Glenhunt, pigskin bag by George Morris, beret by Suzy, photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar U.S., February 1952

Liz Pringle in black pin-striped cotton shirt and matching shorts over inner shirt of white Pima cotton by Brigance of Sportsmaker, photo by John Rawlings, Jamaica, Vogue, May 1, 1953

Liz Pringle in gown of white Italian silk chiffon over taffeta worn with grass-green taffeta stole by Eleanora Garnett, holding her two-year old daughter Shawn, photo by Clifford Coffin, Vogue, February 15, 1953

Liz Pringle in khaki shorts and jacket by Jane Derby, photo by John Rawlings, Vogue, May 1, 1953

Liz Pringle in navy linen slacks with pale blue rayon shirt and chiffon sash by B.H. Wragge, photo by John Rawlings in Bay Roc, Montego Bay, Jamaica, Vogue, May 1, 1953

Liz Pringle in pink halter-neck shirt by Carolyn Schnurer, photo by John Rawlings, Vogue, November 1953

Liz Pringle in pretty sundress of brick-red stripes on white denim, low in front and in back by Sailing Blues, white belt by Calderon, handbag by Van S, photo by John Rawlings, Jamaica, Vogue, May 1, 1953

Liz Pringle in sleeved bathing dress of clinging black jersey with gilt hooks and eyes and gilt-balled belt by Claire McCardell, chiffon head-scarf by Carol Stanley, photo by John Rawlings in Jamaica, Vogue, May 1, 1953

Liz Pringle in strapless swimsuit from Hubert de Givenchy, photo by John Rawlings, used for cover of Vogue, July 1953

Liz Pringle in blue and white silk print summer dress by Sophie Original, photo by Horst P. Horst at Round Hill resort, Jamaica, which is run by her husband John Pringle, Vogue, April 1, 1954

Liz Pringle in blue Wyner jersey suit of worsted and Vicarra shirred with Lastex, photo by Horst P. Horst at Round Hill, Jamaica, Vogue, May 1, 1954

Liz Pringle in linen embroidered shirt and knee-length linen shorts, photo by Roger Prigent at Round Hill, Jamaica, Vogue, June 1954

Liz Pringle in one-piece black cotton bathing suit by Sacony at Round Hill, Jamaica, photo by Horst P. Horst, 1954

Liz Pringle in pleated shorts and shirt, photo by Roger Prigent at Round Hill, Jamaica, Vogue, June 1954

Liz Pringle, Gaugin pink lipstick by Helena Rubinstein, Vogue, May 1, 1954

Liz Pringle, Vogue, May 1, 1954

Liz Pringle in floral print silk twill dress and jacket by Mollie Parnis, baby cap with same print cartwheel by Emme, photo by Richard Avedon, paintings in background are by Edward Molyneux, Harper's Bazaar, April 1955

Liz Pringle in violet floral silk surah print sheath with floating shirred apron by Adele Simpson, baby cap by Emme, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, April 1955

Liz Pringle in bare-backed 'half-shirt' of green silk shantung tucked into white shorts by B.H. Wragge, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, May 1956

Liz Pringle in black and white striped maillot by Jantzen, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, May 1956

Liz Pringle in striped cotton jersey beach shirt belted and hip-pocketed over a suit of the same cotton by Brigance of Sportmaker, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar U.S., May 1956

Liz Pringle in white cotton lace cardigan with matching white faille shorts by Haymaker, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar U.S., May 1956

Liz Pringle in white sharkskin Gondolier's shirt by B.H. Wragge, photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar U.S., May 1956




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