The Swining Sixties

The Swining Sixties

Twiggy was born, Leslie Hornby in Neasdon, London, UK. A lanky, girl with boyish looks, kids gave Leslie the nickname, “Twigs”. Hornsby would never have believed she would eventually become the face of mod fashion, a national treasure, or a pop culture, icon. Her mother was a seamstress, showing Twigs how to sew her own dresses, at an early age. She looked to glam mags to get inspiration and discovered the models were, “twigs” like she was. In 1966, Twigs saved her money and yearned to get a makeover at the famed, “House of Leonard”, a celebrity styling spot. Luckily, at her awaited appointment, the owner Leonard, wanted to try a new cropped cut and color, on models. Mistaking Twigs for a model, she agreed to let Leonard do his magic. A photographer was there and took head shots of her. They hung in the famous salon and were seen by many talent scouts. It was Deirdre McSharry, a fashion journalist from the Daily Express magazine, who asked to meet with young, Twigs. McSharry arranged to have more photos taken. A few weeks later, the publication featured an article and images of Twigs, declaring her “The Face of ’66”. In it, the copy read: “The Cockney kid with a face to launch a thousand shapes… and she’s only 16! Hornsby’s career took off like a rocket. Twigs became “Twiggy”, the epitome of London’s “swinging sixties”. Her new hairdresser/boyfriend, Nigel Davies became her manager, & changed his name to a more suave sounding, Justin de Villeneuve. De Villeneuve was cocky and conquering. He credits himself for Twiggy’s discovery and her modelling success, and his version of events is often quoted in her biographies. Twiggy was soon seen in all the leading fashion magazines, commanding fees of $80 an-hour, bringing out her own line of clothes called “Twiggy Dresses” in 1967. In an interview, Twiggy says, “I hated the way I looked, so I thought everyone had gone stark, raving mad!”. One month after the Daily Express article, Twiggy posed for her first shoot for Vogue. A year later, she had appeared in 13 separate fashion shoots in international Vogue editions. Twiggy was known internationally by, 1967. She came to NYC with a reception not seen, since the Fab Four had landed there 3 years, earlier. The New Yorker featured a 100-page dedication, to her arrival. The same year Twiggy found herself modelling in France, Japan and America, landing the cover of Paris Vogue in May, the cover of U.S. Vogue three times, and the cover of British Vogue. Twiggy wasn’t always met with adoration. Some critics (even to this day) credit her for inspiring an “unhealthy” body image, for her twig-like figure. In recent years, Twiggy spoke out against waif-models, explaining that she was an underdeveloped teen, when she was modeling. She ate right and said being thin was just in her genes and starving yourself is a quick way to die. In 1970, after only 4 years of modeling, (and dumping the cocky boyfriend) Twiggy retired, at age 20. “You can’t be a clothes hanger, your entire life”, were her parting words. Twiggy didn’t fade from the public eye, though. She appeared in many films, on TV, on stage and also, recorded music. She had her own BBC show, “Twiggy’s People” and interviewed greats, Lauren Bacall, Dustin Hoffman, Eric Idle, Joan Rivers and Tom Jones. In 1973, she specially posed for David Bowie’s (an androgynous ally) album cover, “PinUps”. Twiggy has recently appeared on America’s Next Top Model, as a judge and in 2011 released a new record. Twiggy uses fashion for great causes, such as Breast Cancer Awareness and animal welfare associations. However you feel about Twiggy, we cannot deny her impact, on the fashion world, or her vintage inspiration. Today she is 63 years old and is still in the forefront of fashion, for women her age. Cheers, Twigs!

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