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  • She epitomized the Swinging '60s and, 50 years later, the iconic model's unique style continues to inspire. She talks to CLARE COULSON about fashion, fame and her moment of lightning with David Bailey

    When Penelope Tree received her invitation to Truman Capote's Black And White Ball in New York in 1966 – the party of the '60s – she instantly dismissed the dress code. "I knew that I wanted to be all in black. Forget white!"

    The 16-year-old collaborated with designer Betsey Johnson to create a risqué, slashed-to-the-bust tunic worn over a pair of black knickers and tights, teamed with a pointed mask. At the party, Tree was a sensation; her distinctive look – referenced in Hedi Slimane's

    Cape by Alexander McQueen; shirt by Vionnet; jeans by Burberry Brit; boots by Gianvito Rossi; ring by Pippa Small

    STYLE RÉSUMÉ

    Name: Penelope Tree

    PROFESSION: Model and style icon

    MY GO-TO LABELS: Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, IRO, Collette Dinnigan, Pippa Small, Chloé

    MY FAIL-SAFE PIECES: Well-cut pants, jeans, floral-print dresses

    Photographs by JERMAINE FRANCIS

    Left: Tree in a Yves Saint Laurent cape, circa 1970

    The Edit
    credits

    Photograph: © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

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