a monthly look at the faces
that have made history


Before Gisele and Kate landed on the Forbes 100 List, Marisa Berenson was one of the highest paid models in the world. It was the sixties, and the granddaughter of couturier Elsa Schiaparelli was being groomed for fashion superstardom by legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Long of neck and delicately boned, the curly-haired brunette—whose name is pronounced Mareeza, for the record—bore the perma-tan of a jet-set regular whether she was hanging out with Warhol or in a meditation circle.

Berenson's wide eyes and long, spiky lashes covered countless glossies, but her most impressive legacy just might be her model-turned-actress success story. There are no George Michael music videos on her reel, thanks—just a condensed lineup of cameos that reads like the cinematic triple crown, to wit Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice (1971), Bob Fosse's Cabaret (1972), and Stanley Kubrick's ravishing Barry Lyndon (1975). The PG-13 crowd might also remember Berenson's less spectacular but no less charming performance on The Muppet Show circa 1978.

At 64, the catwalk queen's still got it, starring alongside Tilda Swinton in I Am Love and showing off her enviable figure at Tom Ford's comeback show last September and Alberta Ferretti's Pitti Immagine Uomo opener in January. "She disciplined herself to be beautiful through diet, dress, and self-presentation," Berenson once said of her famous grandmother—a birthright she has inherited. "That's only a part of the secret, though," the naturopath and yogini divulges of staying forever young. "The rest is body, mind, and soul."

—S.S. Fair

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