March 3, 2017
Throughout Women’s History Month, which takes place annually during the month of March, Rizzoli is proud to present a selection of innovators, trailblazers, and liberators, all of whom bucked the social constraints of their times to become champions of women. Whether breaking into male-dominated fields or fighting against expected norms, these brave women laid the groundwork for generations of girls and women to fight for and fulfill their personal goals, whatever they may be.
Brazier at work in her Lyon restaurant’s kitchen
Eugénie Brazier is the mother of modern French cooking. She opened her restaurant, La Mère Brazier, in 1921 and went on to earn six Michelin stars—the only woman to do so until 2009. She became—and still is today—the inspiration and mentor for modern French cooking and leading French chefs, such as Michelin-starred chef Paul Bocuse. Brazier’s amazing abilities in the kitchen turned La Mère Brazier into the most famous restaurant in France—a magical gastronomic experience that drew notables such as Marlene Dietrich and a number of French presidents. Learn more.
Catharina “Toto” Koopman
Catharina “Toto” Koopman—a half-Dutch, half-Indonesian Vogue cover girl and fixture of the Paris fashion and café society—lived with an independent spirit more typical of the men of her generation. Her intelligence—she spoke 6 languages—and irresistible charm led her to become a spy during WWII for the Italian Resistance, which resulted in her imprisonment in a concentration camp by the Nazis (she had previously been caught and escaped—twice). When the camp was liberated, Koopman was nursed back to health by her former lover, Randolph Churchill, and eventually found solace in Erica Brausen, the German art dealer who, with Koopman’s help, launched the career of Francis Bacon. The two women lived out the rest of their lives together, despite homosexuality being a criminal offense in Britain at the time. Learn more.
© Gregg Delman
When she discovered ballet in 1995, Misty Copeland and her five siblings were sleeping on the floor of a shabby motel room she shared with her family. Beginning her ballet studies at the late age of thirteen, she was performing professionally in just over a year. By 2000, Copeland was invited to join American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company and later became the company’s second African American female Soloist—the first in two decades. In June 2015, she was promoted to principal dancer, making her the first African-American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history. Copeland, who was often told her strongly-defined muscles did not fit the “ideal” ballerina body, is breaking down ballet’s racial and physical barriers, raising awareness for diversity in dance and for a more positive self-image. Learn more.