04 Jul Models that matter: before the word model met Super there was Shrimpton!
EXTENT: MODEL – NOUN AND VERB
INTENT: Applause for the former who’ve excelled at the latter
SUBJECT: Jean Shrimpton
CATEGORY: Model/Actress/Icon of the Sublime Order
ORIGIN: Buckinghamshire, England the 7th of November, 1942
COMPRESSED HISTORY: Raised on a farm and educated at a convent school, Shrimpton moved to London at 18, and enrolled in a typing and shorthand class. While having lunch in Hyde Park, she was discovered by a photographer and encouraged to enroll in the Lucie Clayton Charm Academy, a modeling school.
In 1960 she would meet David Bailey Shrimpton while shooting Kellogg’s corn flakes advertisement with photographer Brian Duffy. Duffy chided Bailey saying she, Shrimpton, was too posh for him. Undeterred, Bailey pursued.
Married to Rosemary Bramble, he would leave and divorce her after nine months to be with Shrimpton. Now dating, Bailey began to shoot Shrimpton; her rise started shortly thereafter. Shrimpton has stated “I owe everything that I am to him.
He taught me that I must have a mind as well as a body.” Bailey is often credited with discovering and playing an instrumental role in her career. In turn, she was Bailey’s muse, and his photographs of her helped his rise to prominence. The relationship ended with a broken engagement in 1964.
DEFINING MOMENT: 1965 – Victoria Derby in Melbourne, Australia. Shrimpton arrives wearing a white shift by Colin Rolfe which falls 10 cm (3.9 in) above her knees. No hat, no stockings, no gloves and a man’s watch; simultaneously causing a sensation and launching a global trend.
SYNONYMS: highest paid, most famous, most photographed, most beautiful, face of the swinging’60s, first model to be deemed super
LUCK vs. AMBITION: “I never liked being photographed. I just happened to be good at it.”
POST SCRIPT: Dubbed “The Shrimp”
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