Jean Patchett, a leading fashion model of the 1950's whose face was one of the signatures of a highly glamorous era, died on Jan. 22 at her home in La Quinta, Calif. She was 75.
The cause was emphysema, her husband, Louis Auer, said.
In a photograph in profile by Erwin Blumenfeld for the famous Jan. 1, 1950, cover of Vogue, Ms. Patchett's immaculate red mouth, penciled left eye and natural beauty mark became shorthand for an entire decade.
Although she worked frequently with the photographers Louise Dahl-Wolfe and John Rawlings, Ms. Patchett was most frequently associated with Irving Penn, especially after a 1949 photograph he took of her chewing pensively on a string of pearls as she sat in a cafe, a picture that came about spontaneously. In later sessions, Mr. Penn would give her the suggestion of a story -- meeting a beau in a crowded theater, perhaps -- and as Ms. Patchett stretched her neck longer and longer in search of the imaginary boyfriend, he would click off image after image.
She was ''a young American goddess in Paris couture,'' Mr. Penn said on Monday. Ms. Patchett was among a handful of photographic models who dominated that era, a sorority that included Dovima, Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker, Evelyn Tripp and Lisa Fonssagrives, who was married to Mr. Penn.
Ms. Patchett arrived in New York in 1948 from her family's home in Preston, Md., on the Eastern Shore. As she told the writer Michael Gross for his book ''Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women'' (Morrow, 1995), she moved into a Methodist rooming house for women, for $13.50 a week, and signed with Harry Conover's agency. Within a month, however, she had left for the new Ford modeling agency. That September she had her first Vogue cover.
By the time she retired in the early 1960's to raise a family, Ms. Patchett had appeared on more than 40 magazine covers, Eileen Ford said.
In a period when models could be deliciously snooty, Ms. Patchett was more modest: not the girl-next-door type, but not as sophisticated as Ms. Parker, either. She was punctual and polite, often saying ''yes, ma'am'' and ''no, sir.'' When she introduced herself to an editor or a photographer, she said: ''I'm Jean Patchett. You don't darn it. You patch it.''
Asked how Ms. Patchett dressed in that period, Mrs. Ford said, with some pride, ''We all shopped at Loehmann's.''
Ms. Patchett was pursued by many men, many of them wealthy. She was seen frequently at the Stork Club and was a regular at the Friday lunch that the club's owner, Sherman Billingsley, gave for models.
When Mr. Auer, a banker, met Ms. Patchett in 1948, he was living at the Yale Club. ''A couple of models I knew who lived at the Barbizon said, 'We've got a girl for you,' '' Mr. Auer recalled. ''We met at a luncheonette near the old DuMont studios.'' Soon after they started going out, Mr. Auer gave Ms. Patchett the nickname Pancho, which stuck. They married in 1951.
Ms. Patchett continued to model regularly until 1963. In the early 1980's, she and her husband moved to La Quinta.
Thanks to a stunning use of light, this photograph could double as a painting. Model Jean Patchett wears a pale pink velveteen bathing suit with a high Empire waist and finished with romper pants. The entire room is infused with the blush hue, and the floor virtually absorbs its color. Horst P. Horst's romantic photograph appeared in the December 2, 1955, Vogue
1. Balancing Siamese cat, 1958.
2. Wearing long haired fur, capeskin gloves by Superb, and black velour cap by Hattie Carnegie, ca. 1953.
3. At famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy's apartment, 1950.
4. Wearing satin evening gown and rhinestone choker, ca. 1951.
1. Before leaving her East side apartment for a busy day, 1955.
2. Wearing a Siamese silk plaid bare and bouffant sun dress by Everfast, ca. 1951.
3. In portrait, 1950.
4. Wearing a tweed winter coat from the Paris Collections, ca. 1951.