This month of May, Allure magazine has covered a list of icons and their true signatures. No need for introduction, these women of the past (and some present) continue to influence our present and most likely, our future. This “Beauty By Numbers” tid-bit put together by Kate Sullivan, Associate Editor, should be an inspiration to all who dream to be icons. So here it is, from Allure, to me, to you.
The word “iconic” is tossed around so often that it’s nearly lost all meaning. But certain women truly deserve the designation. Here’s how the most captivating women got that way.
48 B.C.: Year Cleopatra was unfurled out of a carpet at Julius Caesar’s feet. (She smuggled herself through enemy lines to meet with him secretly.)
7: Number of languages—including Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Spanishand Flemish—Queen Elizabeth I spoke fluently as a child.
$6 million: Approximate amount of debt Lady Georgiana Spencer, Duchess of Devonshire, had racked up by gambling and shopping by 1784.
197: Years later her descendant Diana Spencer married Prince Charles—and also became a fashion inspiration.
1860: Year philanthropist Isabella Stewart Gardner horrified and fascinated Boston Brahmins with her Turkish cigarettes, cleavage bearing dresses, and flirtatiousness.
5th: Grade Katherine Hepburn was in when she wore her hair short and insisted on being called Jimmy.
15: Number of movies starring “It” girl Clara Bow in 1925. Bow said she often filmed “two, even three pictures at once.”
1789: Year Marie Antoinette wore a ship replica in her hair to commemorate a naval victory.
1925: Year Swedish actress Greta Garbo arrived in Hollywood. A reporter described her as “tall and awkward and self-conscious.”
1954: Year Garbo was named the Most Beautiful Woman Who Ever Lived by the Guinness Book of World Records.
$1.25 million: Amount of insurance policy that Twentieth Century Fox took out on Betty Grable’s legs in 1943.
1932: Year Josephine Baker satirically performed in a blonde wig at the Casino de Paris, singing “Si j’étais blanche” (“If I Were White”).
$40,000: Museum funds used by Peggy Guggenheim to buy paintings in France during the early days of World War II. She hid them and and narrowly escaped being sent to a concentration camp.
40: Approximate number of years Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas were in a relationship. Toklas wrote of their meeting: “It was Gertrude Stein who held my complete attention, as she did for all the many years I knew her until her death, and all these empty ones since then.”
1946: Year Norma Jean Dougherty, a brunette later known as Marilyn Monroe, had her hair colored reddish blonde for a shampoo ad.
5: Number of months she then spent gradually getting blonder and blonder.
1985: Year Madonna re-created Marilyn Monroe’s look from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in the video for “Material Girl.”
1948: Year society gossip columnist Igor Cassini named a Southhampton, New York, teenager “the debutante of the year.” Jacqueline Bouvier went on to become Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
1953: Year Gregory Peck told the studio to give him and Audrey Hepburn equal billing for Roman Holiday. The new star went on to win an Oscar for her role.
8 ½: Age at which Sylvia Plath published her first poem.
1956: Year Grace Kelly carried and Hermès bag in front of her stomach to disguise her first pregnancy. Today, it is called the Kelly bag.
8: Number of Grammy Awards Barbra Streisand has won since 1963. Both Phyllis Diller and actor Orson Bean say they convinced her not to get a nose job.
1974: Year Lauren Hutton nabbed a record-breaking contract with Revlon.
2010: Year rocker Patti Smith told The New York Times, “My style says, ‘Look at me, don’t look at me.'”
110: Weight in pounds of Siren, a gold statue of Kate Moss shown at the British Museum. The artist says it’s the largest gold figure since ancient Egypt.