Sunday, March 9, 2008

Dachshunds in Pop Culture: Susanne Erichsen

Woof! Did someone say dachshunds in fashion? Susanne Erichsen (Dec 30 1925 - Jan 13 2002) was a German beauty queen, model, and fashion entrepreneur. She was the first Miss Germany after World War II, and became a successful model after her pioneer work in pageantry. Winning the Miss Germany title of 1950 not only gave her a crown, but also a credit for 200 free cigarettes a month. She is considered one of the world's first supermodels.
She made such an impact in the American fashion world, that she inspired a common term at the time, as coined by Americans: Fräuleinwunder. Loosely, the term stood for the young, attractive, modern, confident, and desirable German women of the 50s.
But to say that she led a wholly glamorous life is far from the truth. When the Red army marched into Berlin in 1945, she was shipped off to a camp in the Ural Mountains, and did everything from mine coal to carry bricks on a Russian construction project. Newly married, her husband was sent to the Russian labor camps as well. She never saw her first husband again, and spent 2 years in the camps before returing to Germany.
We don't know the name of her pretty red longhair dachshund.
Find out more about Susanne Erichsen at this translated German wikipedia link.

Modeling Christian Dior in 1954

Cover art from her autobiography (A Mink and a Crown)

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