Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Style Icon: Jean Shrimpton

When I think of the 60s,there are three faces that always come to mind.  Twiggy,  Veruschka and Jean Shrimpton.  I believe that they are most representative of the decade known as the swinging 60s, but to me, the absolute definitive face of the era is Jean Shrimpton.

Jean Rosemary Shrimpton was born on  November 7, 1942 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.  She was an icon of Swinging London and is considered to be one of the world's first supermodels. During her career she appeared on the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Elle, Ladies' Home Journal, Newsweek, and Time magazines.

Shrimpton graduated from Lucie Clayton's modeling school at 17 and began modeling in 1960. During her career, Shrimpton was widely reported to be the "world's highest paid model," the "most famous model," and the "most photographed in the world." She was also described as having the "world's most beautiful face." She was dubbed "The It Girl," "The Face," "The Face of the Moment," and "The Face of the '60s." Glamour named her "Model of The Year" in June 1963.  She differed from the aristocratic-looking models of the 1950s by representing the coltish, gamine look of the youth-oriented movement in 1960s London, and she was reported as "the symbol of Swinging London."  With her long legs and slim figure, she was nicknamed "The Shrimp".  She was also known for her long hair with bangs, wide doe-eyes, long wispy eyelashes, arched brows, and pouty lips.
 Shrimpton also helped launch the miniskirt.  In 1965, she caused a sensation in Melbourne, Australia, when she arrived for the Victoria Derby wearing a white shift dress designed by Colin Rolfe which ended 3.9 inches above her knees. She wore no hat, stockings or gloves and wore a man's watch, which was unusual at the time.  Shrimpton was unaware she would cause such reaction in the Melbourne community and media.  Her career reached its zenith when she was chosen as the cover girl for Yardley cosmetics and became “The Yardley Girl.”

Shrimpton was once engaged to photographer David Bailey. They met in 1960 at a photo shoot that Shrimpton, who was then an unknown model, was working with photographer Brian Duffy.  Duffy told Bailey she was too posh for him, but Bailey was undeterred, and he and Shrimpton subsequently had a relationship for four years, ending in 1964. During the affair, Bailey was still married to his first wife Rosemary Bramble, but left her after nine months and later divorced to be with Shrimpton.  Shrimpton's first photo session with Bailey was in 1960. She started to become known in the modeling world around the time she was dating Bailey. Shrimpton has stated she owed Bailey her career, and he is often credited for discovering her and being influential in her career.  In turn, she was Bailey's muse, in which his photographs of Shrimpton also helped Bailey rise to prominence in his early career. Shrimpton's other celebrated romance was with actor Terence Stamp. She married photographer Michael Cox in 1979 at Penzance register office. They have a son Thaddeus and own and run the Abbey Hotel in Penzance, Cornwall.

Further reading is available at Amazon.com:


  1. I've heard you mention Jean Shrimpton before, JC, and you're totally right--Poppy Parker looks just like her! I wonder if there was any inspiration!

    Great info, as always!

  2. Yes, David Buttry mentioned last year that Jean Shrimpton was one of his inspirations for Poppy Parker! You can definitely see it! Interesting post, I may even pick up an autobiography now!


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