Marie Helvin"s remarkable new look: Still sure you"ve never had a little nip or tuck?

Still sure you”ve never had a little nip or tuck Marie Helvin”s remarkable new look

1:57 AM on 20th May 2011

Marie Helvin is habitually asked to reveal the magical elixir, the secret of how she has retained her legendary luminous beauty well into her 50s.

Her answer — that she ‘keeps it simple’ with healthy eating, exercise and soap and water — has given hope to millions of women.

Perhaps some of us have reached valiantly for the soap dish in the hope the lines and sagging of middle age will be scrubbed clean away.

20011 (left) Marie looks plumper and smooth faced2008 (right) Immaculate Marie looks amazing for her age

Holding back the years Marie Helvin as she appears now, left, with plump lips and cheeks, and how she looked back in 2008, right, freshfaced

But it is, shall we say, doubtful that soap and water alone accounted for the 58-year-old model’s new look at a party in London’s Bloomsbury on Tuesday night.

Her lips were looking oddly bee-stung and curiously lopsided. Her face seemed locked frozen.

It is a look becoming increasingly common among moneyed older women — many of whom are morphing into cosmetic-surgery clones, all resembling one another.

Has Marie Helvin, as her 60th birthday looms, done what she has always publicly prided herself on not doing and succumbed to the cosmetic surgeon’s knife The evidence points that way.

Her publicist and agent have always denied that Marie has had cosmetic surgery. Yesterday, she refused to comment. But Alex Karidis, a leading cosmetic surgeon with a private practice in London, is convinced that Marie’s new look is not a result of twice-daily latherings with soap and water.

Far from it. Karidis believes it is likely Marie has had fillers in her cheeks and lips — and may even have had a lower facelift, an upper eyelid lift, a brow lift and Botox.

Which is all very odd. Because Helvin has long been a vociferous — even militant — advocate of a natural beauty regime.

Freshfaced in the Seventies, Marie Helvin, leftDavid Bailey and his ex-wife Marie Helvin, right, at a launch party

Captivating: Marie Helvin in the Seventies, left, and with her former husband photographer David Bailey, right. They split amicably in 1985 after ten years

Asked in an interview in 2008 whether she’d had Botox, she replied: ‘No. I’m a vegetarian. I don’t want to have anything injected into me that I can’t eat. I’m a real health nut. I look after myself well. I don’t believe women want to have that facelift look.

Do you think Joan Rivers has beautiful skin I don’t think so.’
A year later, she reiterated: ‘I don’t smoke. I don’t have Botox.’

Her top beauty tip for us ordinary mortals Just to keep on smiling. ‘Smiling makes you and others feel better and it makes you look younger,’ she is fond of saying. That’s all very well.

But what if your lips are so swollen you’re struggling to smile at all
Whatever the truth, no one could deny that Marie has made it her life’s work to look amazing.

Along with Jerry Hall, Helvin was one of the original supermodels before the word was invented, after being spotted, aged 15, on a visit to Japan with her Japanese mother.

She would go on to model for Yves St Laurent, Versace and Valentino, among others.
Most models eventually settle down, marry and have children, but after her ten-year marriage to David Bailey ended in 1985, Hawaiian-born Marie has acquired another sort of fame as the perennially youthful good-time girl, single and childless, who picks up and discards lovers as the mood takes her.

Former boyfriends include Drop The Dead Donkey actor Neil Pearson and Mark Shand, brother of the Duchess of Cornwall. It is not known if she has a current boyfriend.

Yet, as the years have advanced, so has her determination to keep the evidence at bay. She runs and practises Pilates to stay in shape and eats just enough to stop her 5ft 9in frame from keeling over.

She follows a ‘maintenance’ diet of no more than 1,300 calories a day to keep her weight at 9st 4lb. Twice a year she hooks herself up to intravenous drips to fill her body with vitamin C, selenium, B12 and zinc.

No invasive procedures, she insists, though she recently admitted to using a 300 device called Slendertone Face that uses electrical impulses to tone the facial muscles.

Lady in red: Marie Helvin sticks to a rigid diet and does Pilates to stay slim

Lady in red: Marie Helvin sticks to a rigid diet and does Pilates to stay slim

Her considerable efforts have certainly paid off with regards to her work. Two years ago, she posed for a set of rather risque photographs for the new collection of lingerie label Agent Provocateur.

She was also photographed for a Marks & Spencer ad campaign to promote its Portfolio range of clothing.

It was widely agreed she looked stunning. But last November, Marie was pictured at the National Book Awards at BBC Television Centre in London with suspiciously full lips.

Two months later, at the Costa Book of the Year awards in January, her smile was wonky, her cheekbones bulging.

Alex Karidis believes that by then she’d had extensive work. ‘You would expect some degree of sagging around the jaw area and neck and you don’t see that, which indicates she has had a lower facelift,’ he says.

‘But the most obvious difference in her appearance is in her lips. She has never had particularly full lips. As we age, the collagen content shrinks and lips become smaller, but Marie’s have mysteriously been getting larger and larger. The most likely procedure she has had is some sort of injectable filler.

‘Marie has always had very prominent cheekbones, but if you have naturally high cheekbones the muscles do tend to sag and drop over time,’ says Karidis.

‘In her case, her cheeks could have been lifted and, in addition, it’s likely that a filler has been injected into them.

‘Her nose-to-mouth lines are not prominent, which suggests again an injection into the area. And I suspect she has also had some work on her upper eyelids. They used to be quite full and now the area is very lifted and smooth, suggesting a trimming of excess sagging — that area can get quite crepey over time.

‘She appears also to have had a brow lift, the outer half of her eyebrow is quite raised. Her skin is smooth and I would think her regime includes a light chemical peel and microdermabrasion to rejuvenate the skin.’

Only Marie knows, of course, what she has or hasn’t had done.
‘My mother always said that Japanese women look youthful for years and then one morning they wake up and they’ve aged like 100 years,’ she said recently. ‘And she’s right. It happened to her when she was 79.’

It’s quite clear that Helvin lives in dread of that moment — and the campaign to stop it happening appears to have begun.

Let’s hope she can hold back the ravages of time. But what a tragedy it will be if such a great beauty as the fabulous Marie ends up being known as just another Botoxed sixtysomething with an ironed-out face and frozen smile.