original name: Simone Micheline Bodin
birth place: Laval, France
birth date: 8 May 1925
death place: Paris France
death date: 2 March 2015
Occupation: Model, socialite
Profile of Betina Graziani
Simone Micheline Bodin (8 May 1925 – 2 March 2015), known professionally as Bettina or Bettina Graziani, was a French fashion model of the 1940s and 1950s and an early muse to the fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy. She was a designer of knitwear and, later, a poet and composer.
Life of Bettina Graziani
Born in Britanny and grew up in Normandy in North-West France, Simone Micheline Bodin
was from a humble family. Her father, a railway worker abandoned the family, and she was raised by her mother together with her elder sister. Simone Bodin learned drawing as a teenager and wanted to become fashion designer one day.
After the end of World War II, Simone Bodin went to Paris with her fashion sketches. There she met the young Parisian designer Jacques Costet hoping for a job, but Jacques took a look at her, put her into a green velvet dress and an haute couture model was born.
If one Jacques had decided her fate, another Jacques would make her immortal.
While working for Jacques Costet, Simone Bodin met Gilbert "Benno" Graziani (1922-2018), a French photographer and reporter, and one of the cofounders of Paris Match, it was love at first sight, she ran away from the designer studio and her career and went to live with Benno Graziani in the south of France. They got married in Paris in 1946. Simone Bodine became Simone Graziani, she was 21.
The marriage went sour the same year, however, and the fashion house of Jacques Costet was closed.
Simone Bodin then went to work for Lucien Lelong, but quickly got bored because of the strict ambience there, and applied job in Maison Jacques Fath who engaged her immediately and her salary multiplied 5 times. But what Jacques Fath gave her, was much more than a significant increase of income, he gave her a new name, a new identity.
Shortly after she joined Jacques Fath, he told her, "We already have a Simone; you look to me like a Bettina.", thus another Simone would disappear, and the Bettina would walk onto the stage and into history.
"Jacques Fath was a star. He was full of life, and he loved life. He loved everything that was 'glamour.'"
In the next four years, the new created Bettina became the muse of Fath, and she also worked with fashion magazines, posing for fashion houses of Madame Grès, Pierre Balmain, or Christian Dior.
Bettina´s photo wearing the New Look bar suit of Christian Dior is perhaps one of the most iconic fashion photoes in the history, but she represented the elegant and modern Parisian woman, younger than those created by Christian Dior or Pierre Balmain. In late 1940s she became one of the century's first supermodels, rivalled only by Barbara Goalen.
Around 1950, Bettina decided to leave Jacques Fath and dedicated herself to being magazine model. While travelling to the United States for Vogue photo shooting, Bettina joined Eileen Ford model agency. Not long after, she divorced Benno Graziani.
In 1952, When Hubert de Givenchy (who had worked as the assistant of Jacques Fath) launched his own fashion house in Paris, Bettina joined him, as his muse, model and directrice, organizing Givenchy´s first collection, asking her friends like Suzy Parker, Ivy Nicholson and Sophie Litvak, some of the most famous models of the time to walk the runway.
And Givenchy named one of designs of his first collection after her, naming a Byronesque white blouse "Bettina blouse", which would later inspire the design of the bottle for Givenchy´s best-selling perfume "Amarige".
Bettina stayed with Hubert de Givenchy for two years, devoting her time and energy to helping the aristocratic couturier, at times walking on runway as model and times working for the public relations of the fashion house.
But her life was going to change dramatically yet again. After the short marriage to Benno Graziani ended, Bettina became the companion of Peter Viertel, the American screenwriter who has written movies like The African Queen and The Sun Also Rises.
Then she met Prince Aly Khan, and gave up her modeling career overnight. She lived with him and later became his fiancée.
During her career, Bettina has appeared in almost all fashion magazines, on covers of some of them, including Elle français, L'Officiel de la mode, de l'Album du Figaro, Vogue français and American Vogue, with the only exception of Harper's Bazaar, the biggest rival of Vogue.
As a model, She worked with all the greatest fashion photographers at the time such as Henry Clarke, Horst P. Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn, Georges Dambier, Mark Shaw, Willy Maywald, Jean-Philippe Charbonnier and Gordon Parks.
In one of the photo sessions, she was photoed with Pablo Picasso wearing a blouse decorated by the artist.
In 1960, Bettina was traveling with Aly Khan when they suffered a car accident that took the life of the prince, Bettina survived but lost their child she was carrying.
After Aly Khan´s death, Bettina lived quieter life, she took some acting jobs, worked in public relations for some fashion houses like Valentino, and wrote poetry in her spare times, and wrote an autobiography, Bettina par Bettina in 1964.
Then in 1969, Coco Channel asked her to model for her new collection, and later she became attachée de presse of French desinger Emmanuel Ungaro in U.S.
In 1972, French writer Françoise Sagan wrote an article, L'éminence rousse for Vogue Paris, paying Bettina, paying her the ultimate tribute.
In 2010, Bettina Graziani was awarded Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by French government.
In her later years, Bettina was closest to Franco-Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaïa who dressed her regularly, and to whose foundation she donnated her photograph collection.
In 2015, Bettina died in Paris at 89.