Thursday, 30 July 2009

Model Style: The Shrimp

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

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

as this

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.


  1. Terence Stamp looks much more dashing in this photo than in his portrayal of Sgt Troy, but I suppose that was by design, as he was the "cad". I watched the movie the other night, by strange coincidence.

  2. super duper Rose. of course I love Shrimp- the first model name I knew-all those Vogue mags of my mother's got to me. She would occasionally tell me that I resembled her- I think since- as a mere child and stood 5 feet tall-this was to boost my ego-I was terribly self conscious of my height. I did have the bangs down pat- so I continue to wear the bangs (I fear for this very reason)God bless Mum. la

  3. I saw him on the No. 9 bus in Knightsbridge a year ago. That took the shine off a bit!

  4. la.. doris day/jean shrimpton. You're hiding your light under a barrel!

  5. Rosie,well-I didnt say in any way did I resemble those dolls and since they dont favor each other in any way- Go figure.I have also been told I resemble... But that doesnt mean I do, No matter how hard I wish. Isn't it funny how people find resemblances? I do it all the time. Do You? say yes and I will feel better. My dad use to say- Yes, you have 2 eyes, a nose and a mouth- and least he never made fun of the third eye, that would have hurt. Lights out. G.

  6. I would love to spot a sixties survivor on a London bus, along with all us plebs.

    My favourite pictures have to be the scarf one, the fedora and the mysterious glancing out of the convertible one, it reminds me of my wee car in another age. Gamine eyes and sixties eyeliner, good mix.

  7. Somebody told me the other day I reminded him of Susanna York, the actress. I was prepared to be flattered but at the same time I always actively disliked her nose and mouth. I don't really know what I meant by my comment actually. I didn't even get the biblical reference right doh.
    Mothers do say stuff I agree. Love your cyclops joke! Rosie

  8. Thanks so much for your link, Rose :)
    I'm trying to get into your dreams and Shrimp really is wonderfulll... Everyone's images were fantastic's!!! Cheers!

  9. Clarity, glad this post had good vibrations for you!

  10. Foquinha, still dreaming of being Esther Williams..

  11. A picture perfect face.
    Doesn't she own an inn in Cornwall now?

  12. Yes, for twenty years she has had The Abbey in Penzance, now with a michelin starred restaurant attached. Clever girl!

  13. funny- a friends mom recently told me i look like her xD


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