Gloria Schiff, a fashion editor at Vogue, a philanthropist and one half of a pair of glamorous twins in midcentury New York society, died on May 2 at her home in Manhattan from complications of congestive heart failure. She was 90.
Schiff and her sister, Consuelo Crespi, caught the eye of a fashion photographer in New York when they were 15, and they began modeling and appearing in newspaper articles that highlighted their lives as gorgeous, impeccably dressed identical twins.
In 1947 they were the first models for Toni Home Permanent, which allowed women to give their hair a permanent wave at home. “Which twin has the Toni?” became a famous ad slogan, asking consumers to pick out the one with the home perm versus the beauty parlor treatment.
Schiff became a public relations assistant to Helena Rubinstein, the cosmetics heiress, and then became a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar under Diana Vreeland, the editor often referred to as the high priestess of fashion.
When Vreeland was named editor-in-chief of Vogue in 1962, Schiff moved to Vogue soon thereafter. Schiff oversaw photo shoots with the magazine’s star photographers, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, and rose to become senior fashion editor.
Although both twins were married and led glittery social lives — Schiff in New York and Crespi, who became a countess, in Rome — their primary relationship was with each other. Their immersion in each other’s lives ended in 2010 when Crespi died at 82 after a stroke.
“I was very angry when Consuelo died,” Schiff told Vanity Fair. “We were so close for 82 years. That’s longer than any marriage.”