Archive #2: Georges Marciano's Guess Girl
In Remembrance of Anna Nicole Smith, 1967 - 2007
By St. Paco
It could be said that I was something of an Anna Nicole Smith fan. I liked her. I did. But, in my defense (since I now feel the need to adequately arm myself for making such a statement), I will say that my appreciation of Anna Nicole was formed long before she became the running tabloid joke that she was often seen as up until the day of her sad, drug-induced demise in February of 2007.
My appreciation of Anna Nicole started as her career began back in 1992. In May of that year, she appeared in Playboy magazine as its Playmate of the Month. I didn’t actually see her in Playboy–believe it or not. But Georges Marciano, the founder of Guess Jeans, saw her pictorial and quickly offered Smith a modeling contract. Within months, she would be seen in a classy series of black & white ads that graced the pages of countless magazines. That is when I first saw her.
At the time of Smith’s turn as Guess girl, I was a graphic design geek, tearing out all the cool-looking ads I found in the magazines that I read then like The Source, Details and GQ. Each tear sheet was then filed away to serve later as design reference or creative inspiration. To this day, tucked in a black binder in a closet in my apartment are eight or nine of Anna Nicole’s Guess ads.
When she appeared on the scene back in ‘92, Smith offered a curvaceous contrast to all the emaciated waif-types who were very much the new vogue then. Model Kate Moss, for example, revered throughout the industry for her pretty face and boyishly slim physique, worked for rival jeans maker Calvin Klein. In a model class all her own, the full-figured Smith (weighing in at 140 lbs at the time of her Playboy pictorial) was the antithesis of all super model anorexics.
While I’m more than aware of the trashy, tabloid-sized life she would ultimately lead, my first impression of Anna Nicole will always be rooted in those Guess ads. A time when she was just some nameless blond with an angelic face and a voluptuous bod. A silent beauty, figuratively speaking, who re-embodied those white bread Hollywood bombshells and pin-up girls of an age gone by like few women before her, and none since.
At her best, Anna Nicole Smith was the pretty, pudgy girl from Texas who gave the skinny bitches of the modeling world a run for their money. In spite of the worst that might be said about her, I’ll remember her for that.
Published in Kung Fu Grip! No. 3, Summer/Fall 1997