Simone Micheline Bodin (1925—), known professionally as Bettina or Bettina Graziani, became one of the century’s first supermodels, rivalled in the forties only by the “English beauty” Barbara Goalen. She was associated with Pierre Balmain, Lucien Lelong, Jacques Fath, and Christian Dior, but most importantly with Givenchy, for whom she worked as a model and press agent.
Before becoming a model she was described as “a freckle-faced rail worker’s daughter from Brittany”. She was renamed and recreated by Jacques Fath, who told her, “We already have a Simone; you look to me like a Bettina.” Bodin was invited by Christian Dior to join his fashion house which she refused, choosing instead to work for Fath.
In 1952 Hubert de Givenchy named his first collection after her; one of its designs, the Byronesque “Bettina” blouse, became a fashion icon in the early 1950s and inspired the bottle for the best-selling Givenchy parfum “Amarige.”.
She retired from modeling in 1955, after meeting prince Aly Khan. In 1960, Bettina, then pregnant with their child, survived the car accident that took the life of the prince; the shock of the accident would later result in a miscarriage. After Aly Khan’s death, Bettina wrote her memoir, Bettina par Bettina.
Bettina Graziani, Paris 1957
Bettina Graziani, 1950
Bettina Graziani wearring Jacques Fath, photographed by Willy Maywald, 1950
Bettina Graziani in Dior, 1953 by Henry Clarke
Bettina and Brigitte Bardot, photo by Georges Dambier, 1954
Bettina Graziani by Horst P. Horst for Vogue, 1950