In 1960, Jean Shrimpton brought the fashion world to a halt. Unlike the more voluptuous models of the 1950’s that came packaged with stiff aristocratic poses, this leggy British brunette broke the modeling mold entirely with her super slender frame and unparalleled natural beauty paving the way for fellow free-spirited waifs such as Twiggy and Penelope Tree. Her heart shaped face, full pout and wide doe-eyed stare (surrounded in signature cat eye makeup) captivated the world’s attention launching her as an adored iconic figure synonymous with London’s Swinging Sixties, while simultaneously being dubbed as one of the world’s first ever super models.
Said to have been discovered by the great David Baily, Jean became his muse (and lover) and in 1962, the pair shot a 14 page spread together for British Vogue that broke traditional fashion rules and transformed the way fashion editorials would be viewed and perceived forever. From there, Jean went on to shoot a slew of covers and spreads for the world’s top fashion magazines such as VOGUE, Harpers Bazaar and Vanity Fair by photography greats Brian Duffy, Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton and Terry O’Neill.
A first of fashion’s ‘movers and shakers’, Jean captured the world’s attention with her bold fashion choices – like inadvertently launching the miniskirt by arriving in Melbourne, Australia with a hemline that ended at a (scandalous) 10 cm above the knee. With a concise sense of personal style, she could be seen sporting bold graphic prints as well as mixing menswear with womenswear. Her long sleeved mini dresses pointed cut out loafers, men's watches, a-line shifts, peter-pan collared blouses as well as boxy dress coats and brightly colored tights made her the poster child for 1960’s fashion. Even now, decades after her reign as “It girl”, the name Jean Shrimpton will forever conjure visions of the ideal 60’s beauty.
Written by Olivia Palermo