Vogue 1964 cover

December 1964

The Wonderful Year of Barbra Streisand

Irving Penn photo

She has a way of caressing her natural shining hair with long, pale, spiky fingers, as though she were soothing a cantankerous child. At times she swings her hair to cut off the sides of her face — like curtains or the coif of a nun. She doesn't know why she hides there, for never before in her short life has so much happened to her as in the wonderful year of 1964. The spotlight caught her — in her first blaze of musical stardom. She is the Face, she is everywhere.

As star of Funny Girl, this year she became instantly a fantastic Cover Girl. She has had three smashing record albums, including the one of Funny Girl, this year. Her rather plaintive voice has been all over radio singing "People." She won two record awards here, plus another in Holland. Finally, CBS-TV induced her to sign a contract for ten years with a base of five million dollars.

With all that, she is not satisfied — there are higher branches on the tree of success that she wants to reach. No one knows her looks, her odd, compelling beauty the way she does: the length of her neck, the slant of eyes, the round of mouth. She knows how to move her arms, her hands, with rare grace — but not too much. When she is pleased, she gives a slow sleepy smile as though moving to the interior rhythm of a pavane. At times it is her pleasure to take the languid, totally feminine, pose of a 1900 Gaiety Girl at a London photographer's studio, the photographer buried under black draperies. Contemporary as next month, she yearns for a long-ago past.