Edie Sedgwick was an American socialite and actress made famous from her short-lived, rambunctious relationship with pop art’s leading man, Andy Warhol. Sedgwick was in many ways entirely captivating and a natural opposition to Warhol’s self-perceived existence. Exquisite and refined yet delicate and vulnerable; Warhol, like the rest of the world, was instantly enamoured with her upon first glance. One thing Warhol and Sedgwick did have in common was an affinity for the limelight. Both desired immense fame and fortune and they amplified eachothers careers congruently, at least for a little while. Moving to New York in her twenties, Sedgwick sought to send shock waves through the peaks of high society. In fact, famed VOGUE editor, Diana Vreelaned, would coin her the original “Youthquake It-Girl.” Former peers in Sedgwick’s orbit claim her smile as infectious, recalling her vivacious charm. She could often be found dancing on tabletops at exclusive parties and wooing the paparazzi with lively stunts. Though her past was troubled and an unfortunate fate would eventually take its course, her style which emerged from a place of desire blossomed into an eccentric and identifiable delight.
Sedgwick, born Edith Minturn Sedgwick Post, grew up on an expansive ranch in Santa Barbara but her family has a long-established presence in New England. Her father Francis Minturn Sedgwick was a sculptor, banker, and Great-Grandson to William Ellery, a signatory of The United States Declaration of Independence. Her Mother, Alice Delano de Forest, was the daughter of Henry Wheeler de Forest, the President and Chairman of the Board of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Her childhood was spent largely in isolation on the ranch with her seven siblings where she would endure an array of family troubles and personal distress. This cultivated a desire to break free from her siloed universe and discover a world to which she could escape to. She eventually made her way to Cambridge where she studied sculpture with her cousin, Lily Saarinen. Then at 21, she relocated to New York City where she would meet Andy Warhol and become a frequent guest of and whom he selected as the “superstar” of his factory (his art studio located in Midtown Manhattan.) There Sedgwick's style would flourish. Her dark brown hair was chopped into a short pixie cut and dyed platinum blonde which she would spray silver to match the factory. Black tights and short shift dresses were paired with statement chandelier earrings which framed her soft face. Her lips were typically kept pale and her eyelids were always washed with bold black liner that emphasized her brown doe-like eyes.
Sedgwick possessed a lighthearted silliness. When Warhol invited her on a trip to Paris for a painting exhibition just after their meeting, she would pack only two oversized white fur coats. Her fabulous character and alluring style entertained Warhol for nearly a year until their relationship started to deteriorate in 1965. What began as financial disagreements over Warhol’s films would eventually lead to the onset of Sedgwick’s self-destruction. When Warhol granted Sedgwick her “fifteen minutes of fame,” (a sentiment famously fashioned from one of his quotes) he granted her a temporary escape. An idealized version of herself to which she could embody. This presence was so strong that her style is now synonymous with Warhol’s factory and the entire pop-art scene of the ‘60s. Although she battled internal demons she found freedom from them in the ability to express herself through fashion and art.
By: Alexis Kanter
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