The Woman of 50 Faces

Soutine's portrait of Maria Lani, the 20s era muse.

I’m still thinking about John Galliano‘s muse. This season he dedicated his spring collection, which was shown in Paris last week, to Maria Lani, a Polish émigrée who in the late 1920s enthralled Paris’s painters and sculptors from Mogdiliani to Matisse to Soutine to Chagall and on, posing for each of 50 important artists under the pretext that she would use their work to make a horror film about a painting come to life. Then, without warning, she sold off all her accumulated artworks and ran away to America. (Read my review of the Galliano collection here.)

Of Lani Jean Cocteau said, “Every time I look away she changes… what a hypnotic force the woman has.”

I just found out that later, during World War II, Lani became a hostess at the Stage Door Canteen in New York. This sounds like a story for Encyclopedia of the Exquisite. I love a good hunt.