National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
When the Great Lakes Mink Association asked New York advertiser Jane Trahey to rehabilitate the fur industry after a sharp decline in the 1960s, she conceived the famous Blackglama advertising campaign. Launched in 1968, the series of posters paired Richard Avedon's photographs of such mink-garbed celebrities as Bette Davis with the tantalizing caption "What becomes a Legend most?" No identifying name was necessary. Within two years, Blackglama was the most prestigious black ranch mink in the world, the fur industry was thriving, and stars clamored to become a "legend" and take home a mink coat. Bette Davis was in the initial series of posters. The agency representative remembered her nonstop smoking in the car en route to Avedon's studio. But she was a pro. "Ten cigarettes later," he recalled, "we had captured the legend."