Arts & Entertainment

A trip down memory lane, Balenciaga’s oldest model turns 103

Barcelona, Spain, Apr 13 (EFE).- Lolita Laporta, a former model for Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, became the fashion house’s oldest former model as she celebrated her 103rd birthday on Wednesday.

It has been over 60 years since she retired from the profession, but you can tell the TV crew’s attention and camera lens are not something she is intimidated by.

“I haven’t dressed up at all,” she tells Efe, playfully.

Photographs of her modeling for Balenciaga and other major fashion houses hang around her home in Barcelona, in which she lives alone with her dog Faruk, a rebellious Yorkshire.

“I took this one with a swimsuit on December 31 when it was very cold,” she says, pointing to one of her modeling photographs.

Despite her age, Lolita remembers vividly the day she started working for Balenciaga.

She had run into a friend, who was modeling for the Spanish couturier, but was leaving for the United States.

“You should take my place,” the friend had told Lolilta.

That very same day, Lolilta went to visit Balenciaga’s studio in Barcelona.

“I went there, he looked at me, up and down, and said: ‘Come to work on Monday,” and that is how I started working for him,” she says.

Lolita worked for Balenciaga, a high-end fashion brand, for three years in Barcelona, Madrid and San Sebastian.

“Balenciaga was a delightful man. He was wonderful. His personality, kindness, politeness, he was attentive, affectionate. He didn’t smile much, but when he smiled…” she recalls, with nostalgia.

But being a model in the 1940s was not always easy.

“Being a model was frowned upon, but I was just an ordinary person,” she says.

“But my parents were very modern. They were divorced, each had their own lives, and I did whatever I wanted to do.”

Lolita loved working with Balenciaga, but when the job started requiring her to travel too often, she decided to quit to stay closer to her boyfriend in Barcelona, where she continued her modeling career for other fashion houses.

The 103 year-old has no regrets, apart from not keeping the dresses Balenciaga had given her when she modeled for him. EFE


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