How Richard Avedon Put Mykonos on Fashion’s Map

Mykonos has been marked by milestones over the decades that have help build its character and its following amongst the world’s nomads.

The opening of Pierro’s in 1978 was definitely a milestone for the gays, as was Jackie Kennedy’s visit in 1961 for the global jet set.

For the fashion world, that single event that would forever put Mykonos on fashion’s radar was Richard Avedon’s iconic Vogue 1967 cover story called “The Shrimp in the Sea.”

Today, there’s a parade of super models posing, partying and snapping away and top designers like Ev and Peter from Dundas, Dean and Dan from DSquared, Jean Paul Gaultier and Brian Atwood are regulars on the island.

But before Bella Hadid scored a million+ likes on her now famous Mykonos swimming pool Instagram photo… there was Jean Shrimpton.

 

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Shrimpton shares the distinction of being called one of the world’s first super models— before the age of super models.

Richard Avedon was captivated by her simplicity and pitched an idea for an editorial shoot to the editors at Vogue. His idea was to shoot a fictional love story set on a stunning yacht, sailing the Greek islands. The story revolves around a model, and a photographer.

Shrimpton and French photographer/model Jeanloup Sieff were the protagonists and the story unfolded on a week-long sail throughout the Cyclades, including Mykonos, where many of the photos that were ultimately used in the magazine, were shot.

The boat was called the Creole, another play on Shrimpton’s name (get it?) and the January 1967 cover story of American Vogue would share Mykonos, the fashion destination, with the world.

Shrimpton recalled the iconic shoot in a story for Net A Porter:

“I’d never seen anywhere more beautiful than Greece.The photographer Richard Avedon cast me alongside Jeanloup Sieff for this American Vogue story called ‘The Shrimp at Sea’. A good play on my nickname! We set sail from Athens, heading onto the Cyclades islands aboard the world’s largest and most glamorous yacht, the Creole, which was then owned by Stavros Niarchos. It was an eight-day trip, which felt more like a holiday than work: mornings were spent exploring and shooting whatever island we docked at, followed by a swim in the many deserted coves, and then long lunches.

The most unchanged of all Greek islands is Delos; it’s an archaeological site with classical ruins dating back to 900BC and an avenue of lion statues dedicated to Apollo. On our trip, we made a lot of other expeditions to beautiful sites: the Heraion of Samos and the Caryatids at the Acropolis in Athens.

Avedon photographed Jeanloup and me mainly in Santorini and Mykonos – part of the Cyclades, which are beyond picture-perfect with their whitewashed villages, reflecting light to make everything feel like it’s lit by a 90w bulb, even in October when we shot the story.

Avedon’s “The Shrimp in the Sea” remains to this day, one of the most iconic Vogue covers ever and its impact on the island… Welcome to Mykonos, one of the world’s premier destinations for fashion.

Some images from the magazine:

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