The story behind one of our favourite images from the Jaeger archive


Let us set the scene. It's 1956 and Norman Parkinson - the fashion photographer of the moment - is shooting model Anne Gunning in front of the magnificent City Palace in Jaipur. She is a statuesque brunette with more than just a likeness of Audrey Hepburn, and wears a sumptuous pink Jaeger mohair coat - accessorised only with sparkling jewels and a sheer headscarf.

Their journey to India began in November following a commission by British Vogue. "Parkinson loved to travel and relished the opportunity to seek out unusual and exotic locations," says Alex Anthony of the Norman Parkinson Archive. "He was inspired by his surroundings and much preferred working in the 'real world', outside the confines of a photographic studio." The group (along with Vogue Writer Penelope Gilliatt and his wife Wenda) spent a month travelling around the country, stopping along the way to take some of Parkinson's most memorable images, including (of course), this iconic shot.

With the permission of the Indian government, Parkinson created his scene: Gunning, mysterious and beautiful, in our soft blush coat walking

past a majestic Indian elephant and a parade of pink-clad palace guards. The originality, the eccentricity, the understated glamour - all Parkinson signatures, and the reason he was so in-demand.


Even with such an incredible backdrop and well-dressed co-stars, it is that pink coat that steals the show. Diana Vreeland, the then editor of Harper's Bazaar, said of the image: 'How clever of you, Mr Parkinson, to know that pink is the navy blue of India'. How clever indeed.

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