The Chic Cult

The Chic Cult

Syndicated Article by Mariane Christy:

Jacqueline  Kennedy Onassis and Linda Morand recently met at that chic  New York “dive” where Lost Weekend was filmed: P.J.Clarke’s and the two eyed each other suspiciously. There was every reason for the prolonged glance of cool appraisal. The two are look-alikes 21-year-old Linda Morand being the younger, prettier version.  Linda, a successful Ford model who hails from a small  town on Long Island, now is one of  Europe’s top models with her face currently, gracing the pages and covers of the slickest fashion, magazines.

Looking like Jacqueline from the neck up and Twiggy from the neck down has catapulted her modeling career onward and upward. Linda, barely 115 pounds, measures in at five feet, 10 inches’ and she’s all flawless skin and well-placed bones with gangly legs. Designers can’t get enough of her. During high-fashion openings in Rome and  Paris, she works 16 hours daily at $30 an hour. In  New York, she would automatically get double that price. 

However, the pay loss is leveled off by the fact that she hobnobs with movie stars, aristocrats and European royalty, who look upon fashion modeling as an art. “Europeans erase class distinction once success has been achieved,” she says;’ After all, my parents run little restaurant in the Hamptons, and here I am traveling the world.”  

 In the past 18 months, the highly eligible Prince Albrecht of Liechtenstein has been an escort and they double-dated with Princess Grace and Prince Rainier at Paris’s famous Maxim’s. She also has socialized with Laurence Harvey, Rod Steiger and Fred Astaire. But last week, the dating game came to an abrupt halt. Linda is marrying French actor, Philippe Forquet, who recently did a movie with Sandra Dee“Take Her She’s Mine’ and is presently starring in Aaron Spelling’s new ABC television series “The Young Rebels.” 

Philippe is a cousin of the world-famous Italian haute couturier, Federico Forquet. The wedding will take place in a tiny community in southern France, St. Paul de Vance, in a Matisse-decorated chapel. The bride will wear a Valentino pantsuit for the religious ceremony. The Forquet de Dornes are upper class and moneyed. 

Valentino, the star of Italian high fashion, can boast that his most faithful and most famous customer is Jacqueline but he doesn’t. Instead, his little trick is to have Jackie’s look-alike model in his press shows. Valentino has never mentioned the obvious similarity in looks, but always there is that subliminal advertising. He “is cool, charming and polite, almost as if I were you-know-who.” says Morand.

The look-alike business came to a head a few years ago when Linda, a teen-ager with no thought of being a mannequin, went to see the Broadway show, “Carnival.” During intermission, an announcer roamed the audience with a mike and unexpectedly came across Linda. “We have Jacqueline Kennedy in the audience!’ he announced. 

Linda says: “I was just sitting there peacefully, in the balcony with Aunt Martha and suddenly there was a minor riot over me. It was wonderful! When I got home, I went straight to the mirror and started mimicking Jackie. It seemed like such a groovy thing to do. Now, in high-fashion modeling, it has paid off. However I am always looking to evolve my look and develop my own personal style.

Admittedly, looking like Jackie on and off the runway can be a bore: During off hours she wouldn’t touch a wig with a 10-foot pole. Her hair is shorn close to the head. And skirts, her forte on the runway, have no place in her private wardrobe, which consists of 20 pairs of cuffed trousers, made especially for her by Norwegian tailor, Astrid, who has a shop on  Rome’s busy Via Sistina. 

Her impeccable silk shirts, all 20 of them, are custom-made by Altertinelli of Rome. Linda’s explanation of her all-pants wardrobe: “If I dressed like Jackie in my private life, I would get too much attention on the streets. Being mobbed has certain built-in disadvantages. Pants and short hair are a route to anonymity.”

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