Twiggy, the 1960s “Cinderella” was the ultimate star of the Swinging London
1966. A 16 year old girl called Lesley Hornby enters the London-based salon of the famous at the time hairdresser Leonard and gets her hair cut into a pixie. She agrees to have her photo taken by the photographer Barry Lategan, so the hairdresser can hang it on his salon’s wall. “Never planned to be a model. It was like a distant dream, but I thought I was much too thin and too small and too shy. Then fate took a hand and changed all that”.
Twiggy represented a more boyish, youthful type of beauty and her distinctive look defined the British fashion scene of the 60’s
A few days later, fashion editor Deidre McSharry asks to meet her and gets more photos from the stick-thin wide-eyed girl, books her modeling jobs and calls her “The Face of ’66.” Her then boyfriend, who also acted as her manager, convinces her to change her name into Twiggy and the legendary fashion icon of the 1960s is born.
Twiggy, who looked like she came out of a Margaret Keane painting, represented a more boyish, youthful type of beauty and her distinctive look defined the British fashion scene of the decade, with young girls trying to imitate her clothes, her hair and her make-up. Her endless legs, huge eyes, fake eyelashes and personal style set her apart from the rest of the models and instantly made her one of the most popular and recognizable faces in fashion magazines worldwide.
But what made her look even more beautiful was her giggly and fun personality; Twiggy did not take herself and her newfound fame too seriously, was down to earth and acted just like every other carefree teenager of her time, even though her life could not resemble any less to a typical young girl’s one. The public went crazy for her and speculations about her weight went on and on for years. Twiggy, who was estimated to weight no more than 50 kg, was accused of promoting an unhealthy body image for women but claimed that she was eating anything she wanted. “Chocolates, cakes, bread, potatoes, anything”!
“The Twiggy phenomenon”, as she was characterized, did not only rest upon her modeling career, but also attempted to express her artistic side through singing and acting, both of which were met with great enthusiasm. Where her heart laid upon, however, was fashion designing, and thus Twiggy releases her first clothing line in the beginning of 1967, called Twiggy Dresses, which sold out instantly, as she was the rising star of the so called Swinging London.
Shockingly, in 1970, just a few years after being discovered, Twiggy decides to retire from the modeling world, stating that “You can’t be a clothes hanger for your entire life”, and focuses on her singing, acting and designing career. During the 1990s, she launches a career as a TV presenter in Twiggy’s People and gets her autobiography published under the title Twiggy in Black and White, which instantly became a bestseller. Today, Twiggy is internationally seen in the TV show America’s Next Top Model as a judge next to Tyra Banks and has dedicated her life in philanthropy and animal activism, proving that the ultimate human beauty is inner one.
_ Chrysa Darsaklis