Karen Elson: The Chicest Ghost

It not many people who take a childhood taunt and turn it into a song about love and loss. Well that is what Supermodel/Musician Karen Elson managed to do. Born and raised in Oldham, Lancashire. Elson was a not a ‘typical teen’ with her pale complexion and slender appearance, she was branded ‘The Ghost’ by bullies. She found solace in the music of PJ Harvey and Nick Cave.

Granted when a Supermodel announces that they are to release an album, the bar is hardly set an inch off the floor (remember Naomi Campbell’s one and only album ‘Babywoman’? No? Exactly). Having said that, Elson’s debut ‘The Ghost Who Walks’ is really rather good, her voice is soulful and her lyrics provide depth and a gothic vision of the world. Also helps that the album was produced by her then husband Jack White of The White Stripes.

With her unusual yet striking appearance, she was signed to Boss modelling agency aged 16. During this time in the mid-late 90’s, it was the ‘Heroin Chic’ days of fashion when glamazons were on the outskirts and very thin, pale and almost prepubescent. Elson has posed for some of the biggest names in fashion; Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, Dior, Versace, St John, H&M, John Lewis, Moschino and Alexander McQueen. Similarly she is just as prolific in the magazine covers she has graced; Vogue (British and US) W, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, Nylon and Dazed and Confused.

If all of these credential’s are not enough, She also co-owned a vintage boutique in her current home Nashville, Tennessee Venus and Mars- The Showroom from 2008-10. Elson has proven herself to be more than just a pretty face in an industry of many pretty faces, she has found her own place in the world on her own terms. All in all I would say she has done an excellent job, wonder what her former tormentors are doing now with their lives?

Karen pastel

Karen allure

Karen songbird

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