nohway

PAT CLEVELAND: GREATEST MODEL EVER

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2010 at 8:27 am

At a party for the release of the new film about the legendary, late restaurant FLORENT: QUEEN OF THE MEAT MARKET, I ran into eternal model nova, Pat Cleveland, timelessly gorgeous, as bubbly as ever, wearing a skimpy Stephen Burrows cocktail dress that on anyone else, besides her, at her age, would have been unthinkable. Check out our encounter in GAY CITY NEWS here


Pat, me and a friend

Cleveland’s Scandinavian/Black looks, which could be compared to everything from a Modigliani

to an idealized Josephine Baker

(as well as 1930s supermodel, the Javanese Toto Koopman, a favorite of Hoyningen-Huene),


photo by Hoyningen-Huene


portrait by Joseph Oppenheimer

would have been enough to make her a modeling star, but it was her incomparable body language on the runway which gave her mythic status. Where Iman rocked a commandingly sexy, statuesque stateliness, Cleveland was always dazzlingly kinetic, a full-on chameleonic actress on the catwalk, working amusing Pierrot moves in an Issey Miyake oversized draped jumpsuit, pirouetting like a mad top to show off Halston’s swirling balloon skirt, giving you Jazz Age showboating in YSL’s smoking, or being the most demure lady who lunches in Chanel bespoke.

I never tired of looking at her, whether in print – photographed or drawn so exquisitely by the late, great illustrator Antonio Lopez – or in person. Indeed, the 1970s-80s for me were marked by the thrill of seeing her in person at random moments, like Garbo-sightings in New York once were for those particular, devout beauty-worshippers. I recall seeing her striding along Central Park South one sunny afternoon, clad in peach, lacy lingerie, all the better to keep cool; skipping out of an Aretha Franklin concert at Carnegie Hall, fluttering a fan with the excitement of what she’d just seen, in the company of the late designer Willi Smith and his model sister, Toukie; her charming two-night cabaret performance at the Mudd Club, on the stage of which her Adele Rootstien mannequin kept her company; all those breathtaking dance floor appearances at 54, gyrating in a gorgeous Valentino pink chiffon blouse and skintight black leather pants in her own personal spotlight or twirling in Halston’s balloon skirt with her then-lover, model Sterling St. Jacques, to the Village People’s MACHO MAN, of all things. She even strayed from her 54 roost to come downtown to the Paradise Garage one night and I recall her squeals of delight watching Walt Disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY in the screening room at that literal multi-cultural utopia. And then there were quieter moments, like when she and I both toiled for a minute for that pioneering crazy old disco dinosaur, Trude Heller, and we shared a quiet chat in a shabby little dressing room where she had gone to escape the club’s hubbub, a Maximilian sable coat draped over her shoulders.

At a recent Museum of the City of New York panel appearance, she was both eloquent and amusing, especially when this mistress of model movement demonstrated that galumphing horse-y prance of a walk that is now so de rigeur for every fourteen-year-old nonetity on the catwalk these days.

check out this seminal EBONY magazine article by Andre Leon Talley about Pat and her fellow black model sisters here

Feast your eyes:


photographed by Stephen Meisel for ITALIAN VOGUE 2008


with Halston at Studio 54


with Grace Jones – in their early modeling days, they’d do impromptu entertainments together, like singing Three Degrees’ classic disco song, “Dirty Ole Man”


photographed by Andy Warhol 1980


with daughter Anna


in Zac Posen on 5th Avenue


with former husband Martin Snaric and his sister, Patricia


with model Sterling St. Jacques, a frequent dance partner in the 1970s


with St. Jacques at Halston’s house, photo by Bob Colacello

at Moschino show, working Mickey Mouse and Olive Oyl 1993


Adele Rootstein created a mannequin in her image


at Chanel show


wearing the designer she always faithfully cites as her all-time favorite, Stephen Burrows


on the left, Pat’s model daughter Anna; on the right, Pat in her Halston 1970s heyday


with her BFF, designer Stephen Burrows, and her husband, ex-model Paul Von Ravenstein


COPYRIGHT: davidnoh2009

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  1. I represent g and g public relations. We are putting together a book of all of the black models of the 60′s-2011. We would love to include you contact me at the above mentioned email if you are interested.

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