I’ll Have What She’s Having: A true movie star, a fashion icon, and a tireless activist to raise AIDS awareness
As we grow older, we hold close the memories– or visual snapshots– of our youth and coming of age. Through all the celebrity gossip, a dark suntan, big boobs, tremendous jewels, flashy outfits and many husbands, what I remember first about Elizabeth Taylor is her devotion to her family, pets, and to raising AIDS awareness.
Then there was her fashion –particularly through the 1950’s 1960’s, and 1970’s– that for better or worse was more than memorable.
I’ll let Brad Boles share the rest about this very smart and philanthropic legend—and that is the classiest of all that is glamour and style. — Sharon Haver
Elizabeth Taylor, a true Hollywood legend has left us
She dazzled the world in her debut in “National Velvet” at the age of twelve and mesmerized all with her astounding beauty and the most famous eyes of the twentieth century.
As a make-up artist Elizabeth Taylor’s face inspired me to become just that… those check bones and violet eyes dazzled the world for a mere 79 years.
I met Elizabeth Taylor when I was working as a make-up artist in 1986. She was the Founding International Chairman of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) after the death of Rock Hudson, her former costar and friend.
I was at an amFAR photo session to do Ryan White’s makeup for a group photo with many celebrities and famous fashion designers- the teen became the poster child to for HIV/AIDS awareness after he contracted the virus from a contaminated blood transfusion. She also founded the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation.
Suddenly, Elizabeth Taylor swept into the room to greet everybody on the photo set. Believe me, in an instant you clearly were aware that you were in the presence of somebody great.
As the legend goes– and it’s the story that Sharon holds close to her childhood memory— to circumvent the anti-rabies quarantine laws in England at the time, her then-husband Richard Burton bought the yacht, My Kalizma.
The floating palace was moored on the River Thames 1967 until 1969 so that Elizabeth and Richard could be with her dogs.
It became such a huge tourist attraction that the yacht had to be moved a dozen times!
BTW: I once spent a summer on My Kalizma when a friend of mine when a friend chartered the yacht and the rumored pet stains were long refurbished.
>> MORE CELEBRITY STYLE: I’ll Have What She’s Having
The late 1960- 1970’s brought moments of a more flamboyant edge to Elizabeth Taylor’s style, yet somehow the elements of her look-at-me looks remains timeless.
John Belushi even impersonated La Liz in her iconic 70’s caftans, like the one above left, but maybe she was ahead of her time. There are some totally fabu and modern caftans over at Shopbop, right now!
On a funny note, according to the Kitty Kelley biography, "Elizabeth Taylor, the Last Star,” La Liz once took her Pekinese to a Hollywood hairdresser and commissioned a wig so she could look exactly like her favorite puppy!
There were so many great Elizabeth Taylor wardrobe moments on film… the fabulous white dress in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” or the black one in “Suddenly Last Summer,” and you can never underestimate the astounding make-up, hair and costumes from “Cleopatra.”
Forget the centerpiece hairdo… just love the jewels!
In her personal life, her legendary jewels from Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier, Gerard, Ruser, Schluberger, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels and David Webb catapulted Elizabeth Taylor into the rarefied Pantheon of great jewelry collectors. She claims she didn’t assemble her collection to be kept in a vault. Rather, it is to be worn and enjoyed– fortunately for the whole world to admire.
As a businesswoman, her fragrance White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor, launched in 1991, is said to be one of the most celebrity fragrances of al time.
Both Sharon Haver and I have lost so many friends to AIDS and are grateful to Elizabeth Taylor as the first celebrity to utter the words “AIDS” and to use her celebrity to enlighten a then ignorant world that the virus was beyond a gay man’s disease. Her tireless activism, money and considerable power to the cause has made unbelievable headway in our lifetime and because of her there will be a cure!
A woman of unbelievable glamour is how I would describe her style. She used every bit of it to seduce the world and use her celebrity to benefit an amazingly important cause! For this she will be missed and forever held in the highest regard.
We pulled some modern pieces to help you discover your inner Dame Elizabeth Taylor!
Photos: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, via answers.com | 1970 Oscars, AMPAS | others via link