Karen Bjornson

A ‘Halstonette’ on the Runway Again

In a season of chic revivals, the latest is the resurrection of Karen Bjornson’s career. Ms. Bjornson will be remembered as the patrician-looking house model for Halston. She retired in the early 1980’s after marrying Timothy Macdonald, an interior designer, and becoming a mom.

With her daughters, Laura, 20, and Maggie, 17, grown, Ms. Bjornson agreed earlier this year to glide down Ralph Rucci’s catwalk. Watching the show, Michael Vollbracht, the designer for Bill Blass, declared himself smitten. He remembered her heyday as a ”Halstonette,” one of the famously leggy entourage who accompanied the couturier to the chicest parties and nightspots. ”She was Halston’s muse,” Mr. Vollbracht recalled reverently. ”She can be anybody’s muse.”

Ivan Bart, the director of IMG Models, recently chatted with Mr. Vollbracht about who might convey the breezy Blassian elegance Mr. Vollbracht hopes to revive. ”He needs a model with the sensibilities of a Pat Cleveland or a Dalma, a woman who can really work the clothes,” Mr. Bart maintained. Ms. Bjornson, who often attends the same parties as former Blass clients like Barbara Walters, seems to fit the bill. Recently, she wore a vintage Bill Blass evening dress to the wedding of Rudolph Giuliani, whose New York apartment her husband designed.

She has the haute, without the attitude, Mr. Vollbracht observed. In a recent three-hour fitting, he said, ”there were no phone calls to the boyfriend, no demands for a Pepsi instead of a Coke — there simply was no ego.”

Ms. Bjornson, who lives with her family in Darien, Conn., views a comeback with equanimity. ”I’ve been out here being a soccer mom and a chauffeur and everything that moms are in the suburbs,” she said. She may or may not stroll down Mr. Vollbracht’s runway next fall. ”I’m taking this a step at a time,” she said.

Excerpt from: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/03/nyregion/front-row.html


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