Fashion has no shortage of characters, but China Machado was arguably one of the most vibrant among them. The industry veteran, according to reports, suffered cardiac arrest this weekend and died on Long Island reportedly at the age of 87, leaving behind a powerful legacy. A muse to Avedon and Givenchy, Machado spent decades at the nexus of fashion and entertainment, experiencing the business from all sides first as a model, then as an editor, gallerist, designer, and television producer, before cycling back to where it all started and signing a modeling contract with IMG Models in her early 80s.
Machado’s firebrand personality matched the outsized events of her life. The daughter of a Chinese mother and Portuguese father, Machado spent her childhood in Shanghai until World War II uprooted her family. Traveling through Argentina and Peru in her youth, Machado romanced the famed bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín until he left her for Hollywood star Ava Gardner. Relocating to Paris after the breakup, she eventually found herself modeling for Hubert de Givenchy and Cristóbal Balenciaga.
As one of the first nonwhite models to gain prominence on the runway of Europe, Machado opened doors for the generations of women of color who followed. Her refined good looks quickly made her an in-demand face, but it wasn’t until she joined forces with photography legend Richard Avedon that her career became iconic. When a magazine refused to publish Avedon’s images of Machado due to her race, he threatened not to renew his contracts and sent shock waves through the fashion world. Machado went on to become the first nonwhite woman to grace the cover of an American magazine, setting the stage for a representation of beauty that was considerably more inclusive than the blonde-haired blue-eyed standard of the 1960s.
As well as being a trailblazer, Machado was a master of reinvention. In a business known for discarding people, she stood the test of time by doing things her way. Switching gears to serve as senior fashion editor and fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar, getting shot by Andy Warhol, designing a namesake line of wraps, or resurfacing to pose with the likes of Steven Meisel—whatever project Machado took on, it was done with a respect for fashion. Speaking with Vogue earlier this year regarding her exceptional career, Machado chalked her successes up to one thing: the constant search for happiness. “Someone like me is a bit of a vagabond,” she said. “I like to experience every aspect of life. I think it’s crucial to be happy.”Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses