Suzanne Von Aichinger: Jolie Laide

Few things are as minimising of one’s confidence and self worth then looking different. Society, mainstream publications and now social media dictate what is attractive. While some people may comform to the current motif of the marvellous by accident. What we have always wanted is ‘perfection’. Now since perfection is subjective, what is ideal to one is off putting to another. So who decides what constitutes perfection for people? The same since time and memorium. Society, filtered through via mainstream publications and more recently social media. Since trends and fashions come and go, conforming is only temporary. While I don’t judge anyone who changes their appearance with cosmetic surgery. If one wants to feel better about oneself and feels that changing one’s nose or breast will make one happier. Do it. However to change due to pressure to blend in if one has something quirky about your features? Maybe crooked teeth, flat chested or in the case of this current post; an unusual nose. Most feel pressure to bend, twist and iron out any ‘imperfection’. Still one woman bucked convention and proved victorious. Presenting Suzanne Von Aichinger.

Unfortunately I have no idea what Aichinger’s date of birth is or her age. I would estimate she is in her mid 40’s. After growing up in Canada, Aichinger moved to New York. During an shopping trip, Aichinger was spotted by illustrator Antonio Lopez. What was simply an offer to pose for Lopez, ended up propelling Aichinger into professional modelling. Working for the heavy weights of haute couture; Azzedine Alaia, Versace, Dior,  Thierry Muglar, Marc Jacobs, and Missoni. So enamoured were Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, and John Galliano that these Titans used Aichinger as their muse. Aichinger even branched out into music. Collaborating with New York based group ‘ Netherlands’ even forming a side project with Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters and others for ‘The Suzannes’ a fine art project. What sets Aichinger apart from most typical models is that while she is not a classic beauty. She is captivating and the camera devours her profile. Who cares if she has bump on her nose? Stunning is stunning. Aichinger has largely retired from being in front of the camera, preferring to style as opposed to being the one being styled herself. Working as a consultant and fashion editor too for some of the most esteemed publications such as ‘Vogue’, ‘Vanity Fair’ and ‘ID’. Plus campaigns for Christian Louboutin, Thierry Muglar perfum, Cointreau, Swarovski and Piaget.

As someone who does not conform to typical standards of beauty too. Being short and generally not looking like the ‘regular’ goddesses of my youth. I really admire and someone who does not give in to the snipings of critics who want everyone to look like we all came off a conveyer belt. To those who are unaccepting of difference in others are usually the most insecure people you will ever meet. So in order to illeviate that feeling of inadequacy, they take it out on those who dare to be themselves. Who are brave enough to say ‘I don’t care what you think or say, I am a fabulous. End of discussion’. Those are the best role models for everyone. Not who is popular now, but who create their own beauty rules.

In case you were wondering how I discovered Aichinger as she is not so prominate. It was through my own beauty icon Dita Von Teese. Aichinger is even featured in Von Teese’s beauty book ‘Your Beauty Mark’. By the way, I highly recommend ‘Your Beauty Mark’. A comprehensive and condensed guide to retro and eccentric glamour. Packed with history and Von Teese’s own path to glamourous enlightenment. An enjoyable read.


sva knows

suzanne von A

suzanne von aichinger gaultier



  1. JOLIE LAIDE: I asked a French friend about this phrase and she knew nothing about it. But, I know it and love it — I find this lady to be absolutely stunning. Maybe not Jolie Laide….XO

  2. Jolie Laide does literally translate as ‘pretty ugly’. But it has come to mean more an ‘imperfect beauty’. To me I see it as meaning someone who is beautiful in an unconventional manner (to society anyway).

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