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www.a-bombsurvivor.com/NYTimes/2019.january.8.No.27.html
   NYTimes "Obituaries & Others: Who lived more than 100-year-old"

                                                     No.27
                                        No.27:January 8, 2019                                           "Babs Simpson, a Former Vogue Editor Who Collaborated With Irving Penn, Has Died at 105-VOGUE"
                  "Bobs Simpson-pictures"     "Vogue (magazine)-Wikipedia"
           "Irving Penn-Wikipedia"       (New York Times, January,5,2019)
                          
(The 50-photo-attached/184.72KB)

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My grandmother would complain that Paris was so much better before the war,

                                            Behind the Veil  “Oh, goodness, I’m smoking!” says Simpson, looking at a 1949 photograph by Irving Penn, a regular collaborator. “Well, none of us knew any better then.”
“Oh, goodness, I’m smoking!” said Simpson, looking at a 1949 photograph by Irving Penn, a regular collaborator. “Well, none of us knew any better then.”
legendary Vogue fashion editor Babs Simpson once noted. “She was talking, of course, of the War of 1870.”

Simpson, who has died at age 105, may have had a grandmother who frolicked in Second Empire France, but she was a thoroughly modern woman who lived life on her own terms, professionally and romantically. Née Beatrice de Menocal, Simpson was born in Beijing to a glamorous American mother and a banker father from one of the most prominent Cuban families. Her mother, a muse to the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, lived on Washington Square and moved in haute bohemian circles. “There was a whole cult around her,” Simpson recalled. As a child, Simpson moved throughout South America, before her family settled in Boston. Going forward, she spoke in that city’s vernacular patrician drawl with its unusual emphases. When shown Vogue’s September Lady Gaga cover for Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s 2012 documentary In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, a faintly bemused Simpson admitted that it was effective but wanted to know “is it a gurrrl or a buoy?”

In 1935 she married a gentleman she would refer to ever after simply as “Mr. Simpson” and decamped to Locust Valley, New York, which might not have been guaranteed to contain her. Her husband drank, and seven years later they were divorced. Soon after, the notably chic figure received a call from Carmel Snow’s Harper’s Bazaar, asking her to join the fabled magazine as a fashion editor. Simpson, as she later recounted to Vogue’s Mark Holgate, considered it a prank call from her mischievous friend the Sicilian aristocrat and jeweler Fulco di Verdura. “Oh, fuck off,” she said firmly, but it was indeed Harper’s Bazaar calling. Her salty language was overlooked and she was hired at $35 a week. At the time, the glossiest fashion magazines were one of the few accepting Manhattan employers of sophisticated divorcées. When Simpson’s friend Barbara “Babe” Cushing Mortimer left her life as a Vogue fashion editor for the charismatic CBS chief executive William S. Paley (whom she wed in 1947), she suggested Simpson as her replacement.

Shortly thereafter Simpson was sent to Paris to cover the haute couture collections in a city torn apart by the occupation and to witness the debut of Christian Dior’s fashion house and his New Look. Vogue’s editor in chief, Edna Woolman Chase, was so horrified by the idea that Simpson intended to fly to France and not take a leisurely ocean liner that she gave her a leather brandy case with contents intended to sustain her on the nerve-racking journey. So began Simpson’s illustrious career as the quiet, steely force behind two decades of iconic images.

At Vogue, Simpson worked with Irving Penn on many of the most visually arresting fashion photographs of the mid-century, based on her personal vision of reductive chic. “Babs has always had a highly edited sense of elegance,” noted Wendy Goodman, who worked with her at House & Garden. For her 100th birthday lunch in her elegant Stanford White retirement community in Rye, New York, Simpson sported her later-in-life uniform, with her trademark pearls and a nosegay of fresh flowers worn as a bracelet. The pearls that once adorned clothes by Norell, Mainbocher, McCardell, and Dior, latterly adorned a blue cashmere sweater from Paul Stuart worn with white jeans or chinos and driving shoes. She owed her extraordinary poise to Pilates—she began the practice with Joseph Pilates himself, and continued into her centennial years when she trained with the dashing triathlete Lyon Marcus.

                                                “Conde Nast fashion editor, Babs Simpson, aka Mrs. William Simpson, seated, wearing a full length Balenciaga striped dress with short puffed sleeves and a square neckline with jeweled dress clips at the corners. She wears a watch and pearl bracelet on her left wrist and a ring on each hand.”
  “Conde Nast fashion editor, Babs Simpson, aka Mrs. William Simpson, seated, wearing a full length Balenciaga striped dress with short puffed sleeves and a square neckline with jeweled dress clips at the corners. She wears a watch and pearl bracelet on her left wrist and a ring on each hand.”
In studio sittings, Simpson would work on her needlework (“otherwise you’d go crazy with boredom”), while quietly controlling the action. “I wanted things to look very sharp and sexy but not obvious,” she would recall. At the time, Simpson often had a pet bird nestling in her hair, which she originally wore in a tight ballet chignon until the famed hairdresser Kenneth Battelle (author of Jacqueline Kennedy’s windswept “Italian cut” and Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” bouffant) warned her that it would fall out. He cut her hair into an elfin bob, which she maintained ever after. At the time, she was working with Henry Clarke, whom she recalled “ran into the darkroom so he could escape my screams as my hair was being chopped off.”

“I saw the world, went everywhere from Sweden to Tierra del Fuego,” Simpson remembered of her peripatetic Vogue life. On assignment in Cuba with Clifford Coffin, she was bidden by the magazine to track down Ernest Hemingway for a picture with model Jean Patchett. She sleuthed his hotel and secured the desired shot, flirting with Hemingway’s pal, a Basque priest, in the process.

Simpson later styled an introspective Monroe for a portfolio by Bert Stern that would prove to be the last photographs taken of the troubled star (“I remember saying to Bert on the plane back that that girl is in dire straits,” she later recalled).

“I think fashion is important because it revives one,” said the remarkable Simpson, witness to a century of style. “I don’t think it’s just frivolous.” But through it all, Simpson maintained a dignified distance from the industry’s excesses: “I never let the fashion world affect me.”

After 20 years at Vogue, she left to join House & Garden to shape its pages as an editor: Houses, gardens, and interiors were another passion. The sometime Le Corbusier collaborator Paul Lester Wiener built a chic modernist glass-box house for her in Amagansett on Long Island that was much photographed and acclaimed. There, the great tastemaker Rachel “Bunny” Mellon designed the garden with raised flower beds laid out in a Mondrian-inspired grid set into a meadow of wildflowers. “It was so elegant and natural and unforced,” remembered her friend, the late Oscar de la Renta.

In both editorial roles, Simpson transmitted her sense of organization and precision to assistants who would go on to illustrious careers of their own, including Goodman and Simpson’s fellow “Penn whisperer,” Phyllis Posnick.

In her private life, Simpson refused to play by conventional rules. She enjoyed a 35-year relationship with art dealer Paul Magriel. When they met, they soon discovered that they lived in the same building, but they maintained their separate apartments for the decades-long duration of their romance. “Paul was a very free spirit,” Simpson recalled, “and I didn’t want to be pinned down any more than he did. It couldn’t have worked better.”

To the end, Simpson remained curious and informed about the world around her; she was not only an invaluable repository of firsthand memories of the glory years of mid-century fashion, style, and culture-makers and -shapers, but briskly up to date on contemporary politics and societal shifts. “Babs epitomizes American elegance,” De la Renta once said. “It seeps out of every pore.”

“Oh, goodness, I’m smoking!” said Simpson, looking at a 1949 photograph by Irving Penn, a regular collaborator. “Well, none of us knew any better then.”

“My grandmother would complain that Paris was so much better before the war,” legendary Vogue fashion editor Babs Simpson once noted. “She was talking, of course, of the War of 1870.”

Simpson, who has died at age 105, may have had a grandmother who frolicked in Second Empire France, but she was a thoroughly modern woman who lived life on her own terms, professionally and romantically. Née Beatrice de Menocal, Simpson was born in Beijing to a glamorous American mother and a banker father from one of the most prominent Cuban families. Her mother, a muse to the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, lived on Washington Square and moved in haute bohemian circles. “There was a whole cult around her,” Simpson recalled. As a child, Simpson moved throughout South America, before her family settled in Boston. Going forward, she spoke in that city’s vernacular patrician drawl with its unusual emphases. When shown Vogue’s September Lady Gaga cover for Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s 2012 documentary In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, a faintly bemused Simpson admitted that it was effective but wanted to know “is it a gurrrl or a buoy?”

In 1935 she married a gentleman she would refer to ever after simply as “Mr. Simpson” and decamped to Locust Valley, New York, which might not have been guaranteed to contain her. Her husband drank, and seven years later they were divorced. Soon after, the notably chic figure received a call from Carmel Snow’s Harper’s Bazaar, asking her to join the fabled magazine as a fashion editor. Simpson, as she later recounted to Vogue’s Mark Holgate, considered it a prank call from her mischievous friend the Sicilian aristocrat and jeweler Fulco di Verdura. “Oh, fuck off,” she said firmly, but it was indeed Harper’s Bazaar calling. Her salty language was overlooked and she was hired at $35 a week. At the time, the glossiest fashion magazines were one of the few accepting Manhattan employers of sophisticated divorcées. When Simpson’s friend Barbara “Babe” Cushing Mortimer left her life as a Vogue fashion editor for the charismatic CBS chief executive William S. Paley (whom she wed in 1947), she suggested Simpson as her replacement.

Shortly thereafter Simpson was sent to Paris to cover the haute couture collections in a city torn apart by the occupation and to witness the debut of Christian Dior’s fashion house and his New Look. Vogue’s editor in chief, Edna Woolman Chase, was so horrified by the idea that Simpson intended to fly to France and not take a leisurely ocean liner that she gave her a leather brandy case with contents intended to sustain her on the nerve-racking journey. So began Simpson’s illustrious career as the quiet, steely force behind two decades of iconic images.

At Vogue, Simpson worked with Irving Penn on many of the most visually arresting fashion photographs of the mid-century, based on her personal vision of reductive chic. “Babs has always had a highly edited sense of elegance,” noted Wendy Goodman, who worked with her at House & Garden. For her 100th birthday lunch in her elegant Stanford White retirement community in Rye, New York, Simpson sported her later-in-life uniform, with her trademark pearls and a nosegay of fresh flowers worn as a bracelet. The pearls that once adorned clothes by Norell, Mainbocher, McCardell, and Dior, latterly adorned a blue cashmere sweater from Paul Stuart worn with white jeans or chinos and driving shoes. She owed her extraordinary poise to Pilates—she began the practice with Joseph Pilates himself, and continued into her centennial years when she trained with the dashing triathlete Lyon Marcus.

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