Sunday, July 22, 2012

la femmes de david bailey - penelope tree

penelope tree & david bailey on the street.

penelope tree photographed by david bailey for vogue, april 15, 1970.

andy warhol & penelope tree photographed by david bailey.

penelope tree photographed by david bailey.

penelope tree photographed by david bailey for vogue.

penelope tree photographed by david bailey for vogue, july 1967.

while still married to catherine denueve, she pointed out some photos of penelope tree by avedon in american vogue & said to bailey, "you're gonna run off with this woman." at the time bailey thought it odd as he didn't even know tree.

in 1967 vogue called bailey up & said, "we're photographing this very aristocratic girl called penelope tree, and we don't want any of your nonsense." which he said was like a "red rag to a bull" - "if they hadn't said anything, i might not have noticed. but because they said it i thought, 'my god, now i'm really interested.'" they soon moved in together into bailey's infamous primrose hill flat (even though bailey was still married to deneuve). she was 17 & he was 30. 

their place became a hang-out for hippies during the "swinging sixties" - supposedly penelope installed a ufo detector. they had a passionate but troubled six year long relationship.  bailey has said of tree that she was "bright, bright, bright." their first conversation was about t.s. eliot & continued for eight years. john lennon encapsulated tree by saying "hot, hot, hot, smart, smart, smart!"

bailey credits tree with starting the flower power movement. "penelope was fantastic in terms of avant- garde style. when she was 19, they offered her the editorship of italian vogue. penelope was out there! you should have seen her father's face when she walked out with a skirt made of raccoon tails, and her knickers below her skirt!"

at 21, tree suffered a nervous breakdown. "i always felt as thought i was falling, falling, falling," she has said.  a mysterious skin disease resulted in adult acne leaving her face scarred & effectively ending her career. penelope has said "i was with this photographer whose great love was female beauty and i no longer fitted the bill in any way. i went from being sought after to being shunned because nobody could bare to talk about the way i looked."  that coupled with bailey's many affairs ended their relationship 3 years later. in 1974 they separated & penelope moved to sydney, australia.  today, bailey & tree remain very good friends.

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