Duran Duran’s Original ‘Rio’ Girl, Mona Lisa of the New Wave Era, Finally Found After 42 Years

Retired fashion model Marcie Hunt, pictured right, was the inspiration for artist Patrick Nagel's iconic illustration.(Photo: Capitol Records, Vogue Paris) Retired fashion model Marcie Hunt, pictured right, was the inspiration for artist Patrick Nagel’s iconic album illustration.

In the words of Simon Le Bon: Hey, woo, look!

Forty-two years after a defining decade dissipated Illustrator Patrick Nagel was commissioned by Duran Duran to create one of the most iconic album covers of all time for RioThe Mona Lisa of the new wave era has finally been found.

A post shared on Instagram

The big reveal was announced by Monica Moynihan, a Nagel historian and art dealer who runs the Patrick Nagel Arts website and Instagram. The cover girl’s mysterious identity was actually revealed by another Instagrammer, @nagel_angel, who Moynihan said “deserves all the credit” and “spent $$$ and countless hours” on a Hungry quest like a wolf to hunt down the original woman with the cherry ice cream smile.

And it turns out that in an alternate ’80s universe, Rio could have danced in the sand while wearing eyeglasses, creating another beautiful scene.

Marcie Hunt in Angelo Tarlazzi fashion in the French edition of Vogue, February 1981.(Photo: Vogue) Marcie Hunt in Angelo Tarlazzi’s fashion outfit in the French edition of Vogue magazine, February 1981.

@nagel_arts has discovered the original source image of the album cover – a multi-page editorial for Angelo Tarlazzi in the magazine’s February 1981 issue French Vogue magazine – and another fan, Sarah Bastos, later identified the porcelain-skinned, raven-haired beauty as fashion model Marcie Hunt, who can be seen on various magazine covers of 80s below.

Nagel’s technical art assistant, Barry Hahn, confirmed on Instagram that Tarlazzi’s stunning photo of Hunt – wearing a floral blouse, patterned cat-eye glasses and a fedora hat resembles Duran’s bassist John Taylor. but still instantly identifiable by her invitation. , grinning – was indeed the torn paper his old boss had used.

Marcie Hunt on the September 1981 cover of Vogue magazine.(Photo: Vogue) Marcie Hunt on the cover of Vogue magazine, September 1981.

Marcie Hunt on the cover of Tatler magazine.(Photo: Tatler) Marcie Hunt on the cover of Tatler magazine.Marcie Hunt on the cover of Marie Claire France magazine.(Photo: Marie Claire) Marcie Hunt on the cover of Marie Claire France magazine.

According to Annie Zaleski’s book 33 ½ about Rio album, Duran Duran’s manager at the time, Paul Berrow, was attracted to Nagel’s edgy, stylized work while flipping through an issue of dissipated, so he commissioned the artist to create two covers for what would become the Birmingham band’s breakthrough LP. One selection, of a woman reclining lazily with a yellow flower in her hair, was eventually used for the single artwork “My Own Way”. However, as Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes told Zaleski, it was “love at first sight” when the band members saw a second, stronger image of a girl with a bare shoulder Glamorously staring into the camera lens, shining and truly showing off all she’s capable of. “We all immediately said, ‘Yes, that’s right,’” Rhodes recalls. That’s the cover’”.

Renowned graphic designer Malcolm Garrett, who is famous for his striking, minimalist album art for the Human League, Culture Club, and especially the Buzzcocks, then added design elements and typography to evoke the classic holiday feel of 1950s cigar boxes. “We all looked back and smiled at the girl,” Rhodes told Zaleski of the end result. “It seemed to represent everything we wanted at the time. It was uplifting. It was fun. It was modern, colorful, bright and optimistic, but there was something in it. that you don’t know what’s going on.” .”

The same artwork captivated music fans of the first generation of MTV, conveying the album’s ambitious promises of champagne-fueled, jet-setting, travel-filled adventures. boat. Of course, that’s a theme that carries over to the album’s tropical Duran Duran music videos, in which Nagel’s seductresses seem to come to three-dimensional life. A part of Rio The era’s appeal to the band’s largely female fan base was undoubtedly its pro-female image. Duran Duran music video roles — the sassy Bond heroine who caught drummer Roger Taylor in a fishing net in “Rio,” the tigress who wrestled Le Bon in “Hungry Like the Wolf” — always portrayed strong, confident women, which was a welcome contrast to the usual video vixens starring in other exploitation clips of the time.

“Women [in our videos] are manipulating we! In ‘Rio’ or ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’, we’re chasing Surname. They are people with power,” John Taylor explained to Lyndsey Parker of Music Times in a 2022 interview celebrating the 40th anniversary of the “weird, erotic” album. “They’re on a pedestal — as they should be So.”

As for why it took more than four decades to identify the real Rio, Nagel, who gave few interviews during his short life, died less than two years after the incident. Rio released the album, at age 38, in perhaps the most ’80s way possible (he had a heart attack after attending the famous “aerobathon”).

Hunt has retired from modeling and now leads a much more reclusive life; According to her Instagram, which was last updated in 2021 and describes her as a “former top model in Paris,” she and her husband of three decades have owned and operated the Dos Lagos Vineyards winery in Napa over the past 12 years – this gives new meaning to Rio-era Duran lyrics “mouth is alive, water is like wine.”

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