20 November 2009

The story of Gia

If this year we are having the great comeback of 80s, there’s a person that we should reminisce of, since she was true symbol of early years of decade.
Gia Marie Carangi was often nicknamed as America’s first supermodel and along with Janice Dickenson and Beverly Johnson (Johnson was first black model to appear on cover of Vogue) had pave the way for glamazons in fashion modeling.
Gia, the rebellious Philly teenager, that was in the high school hanging with Bowie clique (David Bowie and androgynity fans) came to New York when photographer Maurice Tannenbaum, that spotted her dancing in local club, arranged meeting with Wilhelmina Cooper, the famous agent. Wilhelmina literally faint when she saw Gia. There was something special about that girl’s appearance that was making her real. In the world where smiling long hair blond was symbol, Gia was total outsider. And Brunette.
Over the night Philly girl transformed into the face that everybody wanted to work with and for about two years was at the top. She did campaigns for Dior, Diane Von Furstenberg, Lancetti, Versace and Cosmopolitan, Bazaar, Vogue covers and editorials. She was part of series Woman into man by Helmut Newton and worked with greatest photographers of the time; Patrick Demarchelier, Avedon, Irving Penn, Denis Biel, Andrea Blanch, Chris von Wangenhaim, Stan Malinowski.
Another famous photographer Francesco Scavullo, which was also one of her closest friend, said "It was like working with a wild young horse. Once I got used to working with her, she spoiled me. “
In 1980 Richard Avedon photographed her for her first and only Vogue US cover,
With covers, editorials, overseas traveling she was in the center of New York social scene, regular in Studio 54, and the list of those who wanted to date Gia was long as list of those who wanted to work with her (Salvador Dali asked her for a dinner but she turned him cause she wasn’t really hungry). She also appeared in Blondie’s video Atomic which was one of her favorite bends.
Photographers that worked with Gia are testifying that everything could be pull out of Gia because she had kind of energy that was unseen before; Gia strikes sparks not poses, said Scavullo.
Janice Dickinson, her model fellow describes her: Put on the red string bikini, walking next the horse, forget Bo Derek. I'll never forget this visual, the sun's going down, the waves coming in and Gia, just one minute she was being real punk like Yeah Janice c'mon lets go drink some tequila, lets go get the chips , lets go pick up some Mexicans. Am like Gia were doing Vooogue! This is V.O.G.U.E, honey.

The world seems to be based on money and sex ... I'm looking for better things than that, like happiness and love and caring......Gia Marie Carangi
Though in social circles often referred as party girl, people who knew Gia describe her as lonely girl, with self-destruction as biggest sensitivity. The irony was that sensibility of hers made her different from the rest, and in the same time along with lack of love carried away her to heroin addiction.
She died at the age of 26 of AIDS and most shocking at the time was that no one from fashion industry, including her colleagues and friends knew that Gia passed away. At that point is created some kind of Gia’s myth. Stephen Fried described her turbulent life in book called Thing of Beauty and later HBO did the movie with Jolie as Gia which according to her friends and family is very different portray of who she really was.
2003. on Tribeca Film Festival was shown documentary The Self-Destruction of Gia in which producer J.J. Martin reveals Gia’s life through unseen rare interviews, home videos, photos and interviews with Scavullo, DVF,Vera Wang, her ex lover Sandy Linter
Gia was one of the first women to die from AIDS and after her death its established Gia Carangie foundation to help prevent the spread of AIDS and using drugs by raising public awareness and education.
She wanted for kids to see what drugs can do and that is not everything glossy behind the magazine cover. It is sad that same industry that raised Gia, after her death pulled out heroin chic as something cool and with the special look. There are lots of fashion terms that are witty and neat but heroin chic is not one of them. The story of Gia is just an illustration of that.

This post is published due to anniversary of Gia’s tragic death(November 18th)
Another tragedy happened yesterday in fashion and modeling world. It's reported that 20 year old model and blogger Daul Kim died. RIP Daul.


Couture Carrie said...

Really lovely tribute, darling...

She was so beautiful!


Mai said...

So nice tribute.

Haute World said...

A great post. I remember seeing a feature on Gia on TV a while ago and in an interview she was saying that no one believed her when she told them she had AIDS, because there was this misconception only homosexuals would get it. I think it shocked the world when she got it, just because it was the first time people realized that anyone could get this disease. A very beautiful talented lady. Such a shame she died so young.

Antonio Barros said...

Gia was amazing and it is great to see her story again.
RIP Daul

Grace said...

This is a moving post. I had someone close to me pass on from AIDS. And its always nice to find people that are truly compassionate.

Love Grace.

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