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Bella Donna: Penelope Tree

When you are called the "Face of the Decade" by WWD, people will notice. The tall, waifish Penelope Tree was known for her wide-eyed, high-cheeked ethereal look that made her so famous in the '60s.

Discovered by a famous photographer at the young age of thirteen, Tree found that her parents were adamantly against her pursuing a modeling career. Then, Vogue came a-knocking. She appeared on three covers of the magazine throughout the decade, but it almost didn't happen. Upon initially meeting Tree, some editors deemed her too gawky and plain. But photographer Richard Avedon spoke up, calling the unconventional beauty a rare find.

A rare find indeed. She was often photographed as a peculiar character, such as a wood nymph or a mythical likeness. At one point, she shaved off her eyebrows "to look more like a Martian than I already did." Her avant-garde makeup (which she began wearing at the age of thirteen to aggravate her friends' parents) added to her innocent, yet off-setting look.

Now in her late 50s, Tree prefers to stay out of the modeling limelight, and is heavily involved in charity work. Recently, she was interviewed in her London home. "I felt quite fraudulent because I am not a classic beauty" she said. "Not now, not then. Like lots of models I felt insecure about the way I looked. We know too well that it's a lot to do with disguise and how you put yourself together."


Check out those lashes!<br />

A sexy 1967 shot.<br />

Lovely lashes in 1967.<br />

Blue eye makeup in 1968.<br />

In France, 1968.<br />

Using a fish bone to mimic those extreme lashes.<br />

Unique fringe — 1970.<br />

At a 2006 exhibition.<br />

At a 2007 screening.<br />

Source and Source

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Join The Conversation
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i really do like seeing icons like penelope - when you see that it's ok to not be classically beautiful - then it gives hope to being a little different and unique
emalove emalove 7 years
Me either...kind of creepy...
xrawk_starrx xrawk_starrx 7 years
I don't think she's pretty.
xrawk_starrx xrawk_starrx 7 years
I don't think she's pretty.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 7 years
I think she's Twiggy's sister.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 7 years
I don't really find her attractive. She's very distinctive looking though which is always great with models. She reminds me a little of Carly Simon in a weird way.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 7 years
It's just a very small feature but it was really cool to read a little bit about her.
Beauty Beauty 7 years
Wow — didn't realize Nylon covered Penelope Tree, as well. Great minds think alike, I guess! I'll have to pick up a copy over the weekend.
verily verily 7 years
It's amazing what creative eye makeup can accomplish!
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
She's got such a distinctive face.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 7 years
I saw the feature in Nylon too. It's that same picture that's in the mag. I love her look and her 1960s eye makeup. Her hair was awesome too.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 7 years
I think she is scary...sorry...
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 7 years
I just saw a feature on her in my latest issue of Nylon. I think she's lovely!
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