The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

22 June 2006

Old hagiograph

I've run out of ideas before, but never quite like this: "A Fashionable Life," a regular department in Harper's Bazaar, this month explores the undoubtedly busy but inevitably fascinating life of Veronica Hearst.

If your eyeballs stopped on "Hearst," they should have; Veronica is otherwise known as Mrs. Randolph A. Hearst, the third wife of William Randolph Hearst's last surviving son. (The first Mrs. Hearst was Patty's mom.) The Hearst corporation, of course, will outlive them all; by no particular coincidence, it has owned Harper's Bazaar for nearly 100 years. (The magazine dates back to 1867; it was at one time a corporate sister to Harper's New Monthly Magazine, founded in 1850 and still in existence with a shorter name.)

Still, if you're looking for socialites, you can do worse than Mrs. Hearst. This paragraph gets me somehow:

Ascending a staircase, you find Veronica Hearst on the landing, wearing one of her simple haute-couture columns by John Galliano for Dior. A statuesque, dark-haired beauty, she has been asked to pose for a photograph in front of a 1982 portrait by Andy Warhol. "This is so unfair," she says with alarm, "to be standing in front of a picture from almost 25 years ago!" Warhol's work is remarkably stylized, and though nearly a quarter of a century has passed, one thing is crystal clear: Hearst looks exactly the same. Even her old friend Karl Lagerfeld agrees: "She's very beautiful — she's always been very beautiful, and above all, she never changes."

That's a lot of time not to change. She was about 20 years younger than Randolph Hearst when they were wed in 1987 — he died in 2000 at eighty-five — so she's got to be pushing, or just breezing past, seventy. And given kindly treatment by a careful photographer, she does look pretty good. (A more candid shot might be less flattering.) Also featured is Veronica's daughter (from her first marriage) Fabiola Beracasa, who doesn't seem to resemble her much physically, but who has the same general taste in couture.

Still, I keep coming back to that shot with the Warhol portrait. (It presumably will be at the magazine's Web site eventually.) And I keep coming back for the same reason: I keep imagining Donna in that dress.

Posted at 6:22 AM to Almost Yogurt


Thanks! I wore a dress very similar to that one to my senior prom. Although I don't think I looked nearly as good then as that 70-year-old woman looks now. I do like being compared to her since my family likes to tell me that my real father, based on resemblance, is Marty Feldman-- they are sick lot.

Posted by: Donna at 10:03 PM on 22 June 2006

We will, of course, kill — or at least inconvenience — for some of those prom pics.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:41 AM on 24 June 2006

It was such a pretty dress. The problem is the pictures are at home with my parents and would require scanning. The other issue is, that was back when I was doing shot put and discus so I was pretty much the only girl sporting 26-inch pythons So, as you can probably tell, the pic isn't that great.

Posted by: Donna at 11:35 AM on 25 June 2006