SOMEWHERE in the mid-Eighties, the Me generation turned into the the Us generation. Suddenly there was a rash of fashion and advertising photographs showing beautiful (teenage) mothers with (unlikely, seven-year-old) beautiful children. There was the toddler-in-Manahattan commercial for Volkswagen; the baby and executive mother advertisements for Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein's Eternity campaign. Now, babies are out. Instead we've got what might be called the 'We' generation: me and my brother. And the fashion for beautiful siblings is spreading. Madonna's brother Michael was among the first; then we got Brandon and Brenda in Beverly Hills 90210, and a new genre in budder-and-sister movies is heralded by Benny & Joon, in which Aidan Quinn and Mary Stuart Masterson star as siblings.
Uma Thurman, the star of Henry and June (no relation), is currently escorted in public not by her estranged husband, the actor Gary Oldman, or by Robert De Niro, with whose name hers has been 'linked', but with her beautiful brother Dechen - who looks like Tadzio from Death in Venice, grown up.
Thurman's latest film, Mad Dog and Glory, will be followed at the end of the year by the screen adaptation of Tom Robbins's 1976 novel, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. In this, she plays Miss Sissy Hankshaw, a cowgirl possessed both of extraordianary thumbs and a lesbian lover, played by Rain Phoenix (sister of River - and Leaf and Sky).
The fashion world, of course, has its own star siblings. Lucie de la Falaise, the half- French, half-British gamine model, is currently celebrated in New York as that miraculous creature, a star model whose temper never frays - 'though I'm beginning to freak out at the number of times my hair is being dyed'. Her brother Daniel - model, actor, performance artist in Madonna's Sex book and the subject of constant rumours about his star girlfriends (from Madonna to Tatum O'Neal) - takes care to be hardly ever spotted out in public with anyone other than his elfin sister. From Lucie's point of view, this is a useful arrangement. Her boyfriend, Marlon Richards (son of Keith, named after Brando), lives in England. And as she has chosen to live in America, who better than Daniel, her childhood companion (they spent most of their time running wild on a Welsh sheep farm) to stick around with in New York?
The de la Falaise apartment in Manhattan's West Village, decorated with embroidered gypsy throws picked up in flea markets as well as some expensive painted furniture created by Lucie's grandmother, Maxime de la Falaise, has already been photographed for American Vogue, establishing its owners as a star couple. But why spread your wings in the Big Apple only to come home to brother? Lucie - ever-practical - says: 'Because I needed to split the rent and he needed to be here to read scripts. And we both needed to have fun.' They also protect each other. 'It's kind of scary being in New York,' Lucie says. 'As soon as people know who you are, they grab hold of you and want a part of you and you fear there will be nothing left.' So who does she go to for support? Not Marlon, who, 'gets really upset on the phone and says: 'I see you everywhere but I can't see you',' but brother Daniel and the photographer Steven Meisel, who is, apparently, 'brilliant with advice on life's anxieties and has really put his stamp on me. Before I worked with Steven, people said I was too short, now they run up and say 'Hey Lucie, how are you?' '
Their mother, Louisa de la Falaise, declares herself 'worried and pleased,' by the success of her children, 'especially Daniel. My advice to him before that book (Sex) was to keep his trousers on. Thank heavens he's the only one who did. When I saw that book I was horrified.'
Kate Moss, the model waif whose 'child-woman-in-underwear' pictures in British Vogue caused a minor-scandal, is now one of the highest-paid models on the catwalk. She was discovered by Sarah Doukas (who runs the model agency, Storm, with her brother, Simon Chambers); and in turn, Kate's brother Nick, 16, still at school, still living in Croydon, was discovered by the photographer, Mario Sorrenti, Kate's boyfriend.
Nick Moss was chosen by Gianni Versace as the only male in his recent advertising campaign, photographed by Richard Avedon, to work alongside his sister Kate, and the three supermodels Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington.
'I'd never be doing this without Kate,' he says. 'I wanted to be a footballer, like most boys. Sometimes it's good and other times it's really annoying. I was walking down Oxford Street and these girls came up to me and said 'you're Kate Moss's brother', and I'm like, 'no, I'm Nick'. I don't see Kate often because she's got so big now. I'm not doing this full time. I'm going to college to do travel and tourism.'
Two other British fashion siblings are Miles and Saffron Aldridge, the children of Alan Aldridge, who created The Butterfly Ball and was known in the Sixties as 'the Beardsley in blue jeans'. Saffron Aldridge modelled for Ralph Lauren in New York for several seasons before returning to work in London, and since this photograph (right) was taken two weeks ago, she's had a baby boy, Milo.
When her brother Miles, who's three years older than her, started on his career as a photographer, she stepped in to help. 'I was already well known so my image in his portfolio was a talking point.
'Since working together, we've fallen into being friends. But as kids, Miles and I hated each other - so much that on holiday I'd have to sleep with our mother and he'd have to sleep with our father to keep us apart. At home I used to bounce on my bed deliberately, just to make his records jump.' -
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