“Things are sweeter when they're lost. I know--because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly… and when I got it, it turned to dust in my hand.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
|Talitha: Through a grate darkly|
- Yves Saint Laurent
Last night Paul and Talitha Getty threw a New Year's Eve party at their palace in the medina. Paul McCartney and John Lennon were there, flat on their backs. They couldn't get off the floor let alone talk. I've never seen so many people out of control.
- John Hopkins, 1968
[Talitha] arrived like a gust of wind, bringing a tornado with her when she married John Paul Getty Jr. She brought something new to that family and that whole world. She was a very beautiful woman who had never even thought about being dressed by a haute couture house, despite having the means to do so; she dressed a bit like a hippie. She was very touching, and she was very pretty. Yes, she was all of that. But, above all, she was a completely free character, and that, that was very important.
- Pierre Bergé, L’Officiel, 2016.
A ‘free character’? It didn’t work out that way…
In the late 1960s, the term ‘beautiful people’ came to be applied to a wealthy, indolent crowd of perpetual party-goers, most often found in exotic locations, who enjoyed a robust pursuit of alcohol, drugs and sexual liaisons. They differed from the ‘jet set’ in that they gravitated more toward counter-culture trends and fashions. And no one was more beautiful than Talitha Getty (1940-1971).
|The photo on the Edge of Forever|
And why shouldn’t her boyfriend at one point be French aristocrat Count Jean De Breteuil, a dreadful man who seemed adept at using heroin to kill rock stars and other celebrities.
She held court in Morocco where a thin line etched in the cool sand of a midnight dune holds death at bay, but somehow the wind always breathes the lovely sweet-tang perfume of decay.
We leave Talitha Getty on that Marrakesh rooftop in blue aspic, her forever face both curious and fearful, with that thousand-yard stare held only by those who can hear darkness.