• Tue, Jul 2 2013

Shelved Dolls: Talitha Getty – Edie Sedgwick Of Morocco

I started describing some style as Talitha-Gettyish before I had a real grasp of what that phrase really meant. I was just describing long haired women who hung out on balconies in Morocco (or any geography featuring tiles) and wore flowing caftan type gowns. To be fair, I used Oona-Chaplinish the same way when referring to women who wore gloves and skirt suits. But I think I had something going with that Talitha Getty wording. After all, Yves St. Laurent said:

“I knew the generation of the 60s: Talitha and Paul Getty lying under a roof of stars in Marrakesh, beautiful and damned, and a whole generation assembled as if for eternity where the curtain of the past seemed to rise on an extraordinary future.”

See? See? Curtains? Like billowing white robes? 

So, basically, I was completely correct in my description, and doubtless am about Oona Chaplin, too.

I had always assumed that Talitha was some heir to the Getty fortune who had gone bohemian when, no, that was not the case. She did not begin life as a major fashion symbol who was always swanning around with Yves St. Laurent. Talitha Pol was born in Java in 1940. She spent the first four years of her life in a Japanese prison camp. After the war, her father, who was a painter, and her mother went their separate ways. Talitha moved with her mother to London in 1945. Her mother died three years later, which friends say left her with something of a wounded quality.

Then she immediately had sex with Mick Jagger.

No, that’s not actually true, she had sex with the dancer Rudolf Nureyev first. And that is all I have about her early years, fascinating though they must have been. Then in the mid 1960s, everyone in London simultaneously decided that she was extraordinarily beautiful. They were correct:

According to Woodrow Lyle Wyatt, Antony Lambton, 6th Earl of Durham, was totally besotted with her. He recalled, “There was Talitha Pol who was very pretty and had a little starlet job in Yugoslavia; and he [Antony] went and stayed at the hotel and sent her huge bunches of flowers about every two hours and showered her with presents.”

Antony and Talitha didn’t end up together, but I’m sure she liked the flowers.

Nureyev told friends that, after he met her at a party in 1964, he had “never felt so erotically stirred by a woman.” He was often said to be a homosexual, so that was surprising. But I guess she was that beautiful.

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  • Lena

    I love the series!