Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Edie Sedgwick

When I was about nineteen, my style hero was Edie Sedgwick. I read a biography, Edie: American Girl, and became fascinated with her. She was an actress, a model, a socialite and an heiress. She was Warhol's muse. She was Vogue's "It Girl" in 1965. She was a "Youthquaker." She was a drug addict, a broken person and a tragedy. She was also one of a kind.

Edie was born into a prestigious old money New England family, a family with a lot of issues. The family had moved to a ranch in California, but she came back east to go to college. Then, she met a man and left college. Most of what happened with Edie happened "when she met a man."
At 21, she met Andy Warhol, and starred in several of his movies. She became his superstar, and also became famous outside Warhol's Factory circle, mostly due to what she wore--the dark side of mod to the millionth degree, with mini-dresses, lots of black leotards and tights, and oversized jewelry. Startling black liquid eyeliner. Silver spray painted hair.
She had a relationship of some sort with Bob Dylan, and supposedly his songs, "Just Like a Woman" and "Leopardskin Pillbox Hat" are about Edie. She had a relationship with Dylan's assistant that she described as "an addiction." She may have had a relationship with Jim Morrison, and others and others and others.

She was hospitalized so many times for emotional problems, anorexia, and definite barbiturate and other addictions throughout her life. She had shock treatments in 1969. In 1970, she went to work on her final movie, got cleaned up and got married. It didn't last. In 1971, she was prescribed pain medication, and quickly became addicted again. In November of 1971, she died in bed at the age of 28 of a combined alcohol and barbiturate overdose. Two of her brothers also committed suicide before the age of thirty.
Her nickname was "Princess." She spent $80,000.00 in six months. She accidentally set fire to at least three different apartments. As an image, a visual icon, there really has never been anyone quite like her. As a person, she broke just like a little girl.

"It's not that I'm rebelling. It's that I'm just trying to find another way."


  1. I love Edie and, for a while (when I was much skinnier!), she was my style icon also. Her story is so sad but also very attractive in a desperate way. I love tragic muses like Edie. I think I would put Billie Holiday in the same category along with Edith Wharton's "Lily Bart". A tragic muse for every age. Really lovely post.

  2. i wish i could like her, but i can't get over her eyebrows.