ABARA’s Style Icon This Week: Marisa Berenson
by ABARA SG on Feb 15, 2023
Actress Marisa Berenson was born today, in 1947, which makes her the grande dame of style icons at the age of 76. You can say that Vittoria Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson was always destined to be a style icon, being the granddaughter of Elsa Schiaparelli, the Italian couturier who was the rival of Coco Chanel. Her own entrée into the world of fashion was meteoric to say the least: At age 16, she was discovered by Diana Vreeland the legendary VOGUE editor, who launched her career.
Berenson went on to pose for everyone from Irving Penn and Richard Avedon to Hiro and Helmut Newton and has graced the cover of VOGUE more than 20 times. She was a supermodel before there were supermodels and was one of the highest paid models in the world in the 1960s. Although she was born in New York, she was raised in Europe and educated in boarding schools, living a very sheltered lifestyle. Her room was papered with collages of images she collected of actresses like Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner as well as fashion photographs. She was always obsessed with fashion and started making her own clothes, such as a Chanel [lookalike] suit in her early teens.
In 1984, she published a book on her style ethos titled “Dressing Up: How to Look and Feel Absolutely Perfect for Any Social Occasion,” which explains the principles of her classic style. Although Berenson no longer don’t goes out as much as she did during her jetset 1970s, she still loves to dressing up, as part of life, part of being a woman, part of being glamorous, enjoying and respecting oneself and respecting others. Her favorites have always been Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino. She also collects pieces by Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani in her wardrobe alongside sophisticated, bohemian Haider Ackermann and the glamourous styles of Dolce & Gabbana.
Still modelling acting on movies today, Berenson now calls Morocco her home; the city reflects her eclectic orientalist style, aka boho chic. Morocco inspires to go wild with creativity and looks, but when she is working in New York or Paris, she goes for a more classical, more practical look. For nights out, she wears turbans with her embroidered jackets beautiful dresses styled with tons of accessories and jewelry. She loves dressing up because it expresses her creativity and individuality, and gives off a sense of herself. “You want to project into the world a sense of who you feel you are, what you want to be... You can express all of that in clothes.”
ABARA celebrates Marisa Berenson’s effervescent sense of style: Happy Birthday Marisa!