Thursday, 30 July 2009
Jean Shrimpton, arguably the first supermodel and the face of Swinging London in the 60s is my all-time favourite. Her wide eyes, retroussé nose and adorable mouth gave her an ingenue quality that chimed perfectly with the new youth-centred decade.
Her predecessors like Fiona Campbell-Walter and Barbara Goalen had an hauteur that suited the haute couture of the 1950s. The contrast could not have been more marked.
In 1965 when she was 22, Shrimpton gained worldwide publicity for a reason that seems extraordinary today. At the races in Australia for the Melbourne Cup, the social and fashion event of the year, she was roundly condemned for wearing a dress 4 inches above her knee. The conservative racegoers of Melbourne were outraged but probably minded most that she had bare legs, no hat, no gloves.
However, the immediate legacy of "The Miniskirt Affair" was to make skirt lengths a media barometer of The Permissive Society and they came to be a key imageof the decade, alongside the Pill and long hair for men. Jean also reckons that her Melbourne misadventure directly inspired leading British designer Mary Quant, who began creating even shorter miniskirts. In Australia too it became a cause celebre and inspired young women here to take up the new fashion, accompanied by predictable media consternation.
This quote from www.milesago.com
She dutifully complied with the dress code the next day at the races
(Not sure where the mark on her skirt came from.. it surely wasn't there at the time)
Jean Shrimpton's career was virtually launched by high-octane cockney snapper David Bailey to whom she became engaged. Through his lens she developed an aura that was partly her own beauty and charm, partly the spirit of the times.
She just looked great in Breton hats.. it must be the full mouth and the good jawline that balanced the picture. This style conjured an air of innocence
whilst she is far more knowing here
and terrifically demure there
It's hard to believe that this is the same model
Post Bailey there was something going on with cockney filmstar heartthrob Terence Stamp.
Anyone who had lusted after him as Sgt Troy in Far From The Madding Crowd would have been unbearably jealous.
I would hazard a guess that her school chums were fairly envious of her career too.