Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Legend In Its Own Time

One of the most successful advertising campaigns during the sixties was Blackglama fur's "What Becomes a Legend Most." The brainchild of copywriter Jane Trahey in 1968, the campaign featured luminaries from Hollywood and New York to the Met and Motown in glamourous black and white photos. It was a time when wearing fur was considered glamorous (along with smoking) and an interesting window into social, fashion and Madison Avenue history.  Sophia Loren, Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis, Shirley MacLaine and even Ray Charles were  a few who lent their famous faces. Ironically Brigitte Bardot, now an arden animal activist, was also a part of the ad campaign.

Brigitte Bardot

The campaign ran from 1968 to 1994, went on hiatus and has been back in full swing in the 2000's. Next up is singer Janet Jackson as this fall's cover girl (and facing the wrath of PETA). Ad Age even named it one of the Top 100 ad campaigns of the 20th Century.

Lauren Bacall

Shirley MacLaine

According to a wonderful story on the New York Social Diary, Ava Gardner is one of the few who would not do the photo shoot as she wanted to wear leopard (which was outlawed).

While I don't condone the use of fur (I prefer mine on the backs of four legged animals),  I thought this was an interesting walk down memory lane...

Photos courtesy of Paper Pursuits, New York Social Diary


  1. Rumor on Mad Ave at the time was that these luminaries weren't paid for their appearances, but were given the fur coats to keep as their "payment" instead.

  2. These days it would be a huge fee AND a mink coat!

  3. What a fun flashback. I remember some of these. Back when no one thought twice about fur - even Bridgette Bardot!

  4. I am sure Bardot is a bit horrified!

  5. I worked there in the seventies and yes, they were paid with a coat. Jane Trahey would be pleased that you got it right...SHE created the campaign but I have to say Peter Rogers did a great job with it for many years.

  6. Thanks Susan for your comment
    I wonder if a similar campaign like this will be resurrected. It was brilliant .