COOL TWIGGY FOOTAGE
ALL ABOUT TWIGGY
TWIGGY AND TOMMY TUNE
With her thin build and wide eyes, Twiggy became one of the world’s first supermodels and face of London’s “swinging ’60s” mod scene. She has also made numerous appearances on television, and her films include The Boy Friend (1971), The Blues Brothers (1981) and Madame Sousatzka (1989). More recently, Twiggy appeared as a judge on America’s Next Top Model.
1960s Fashion Icon
Born Lesley Hornby on September 19, 1949 in London, England, Twiggy first rose to fame as a model in the 1960s. She has since established herself as an actress, singer and television personality. Twiggy is the youngest of three sisters. One of her earlier nicknames during her school years was “Sticks.” But the name she is famous for was given to her as a teenager. She dropped out of school around the age of 15.
Before long, Twiggy became one of the world’s top models. She had her career breakthrough when she was named the face of 1966 by the Daily Express newspaper. With her thin build, dramatic eyes and boyish hair style, Twiggy captured the spirit of the “swinging sixties” in London’s Carnaby Street mod scene. She soon appeared on the cover of many leading fashion magazines, including Elle and British Vogue.
Twiggy was one of the first models to parlay her success as a model into other business ventures. In 1967, she came to the United States to promote her own clothing line as well as model. The trip also afforded her a chance to work with famed photographer Richard Avedon. Twiggy became so popular in America that she even inspired her own Barbie doll. More Twiggy merchandise soon followed, including a board game and a lunch box. Fans would even copy her distinctive eye look with their own set of Twiggy fake eyelashes.
Twiggy started acting in the 1970s, making her film debut in Ken Russell’s musical The Boy Friend (1971) with Tommy Tune. More movie roles followed, including appearances in The Blues Brothers (1980) with John Belushi and Madame Sousatzka (1988) with Shirley MacLaine. Twiggy also enjoyed some success on the stage. In 1983, she made her Broadway debut in My One and Only with Tommy Tune.
Over the years, Twiggy has also made numerous television appearances as well. She was briefly co-presenter of ITV’s popular This Morning program in 2001. On American television, Twiggy also served as a judge on Tyra Banks’s popular modeling-competition show America’s Next Top Model.
Twiggy became the face of Marks & Spencer in 2005. In addition to modeling for the company, she sells a line of clothing through its website. Twiggy has also been a model for Olay beauty products in recent years. She also remained a subject of great interest and fascination with several books and documentaries made about her life and career. In 2009, Twiggy: A Life in Photographs was published.
In 1977, Twiggy married actor Michael Witney. The couple had one daughter, Carly, before Witney’s death in 1983. She married her second husband, actor Leigh Lawson, in 1988. Twiggy is an advocate of animal welfare and is recognized for her support of breast cancer research groups.
London in the mid-to late-1960s was as central to the look and feel of that fabled era as any place on earth. The (the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, Cream and countless others) was, in large part, the soundtrack of the Sixties. The street scenes, especially along Carnaby Street in Soho, with the eminently picturesque Mods and hippies hanging out in their utterly distinctive gear, provided youth culture around the world with exemplars of cool that are still embraced today.
Finally, the fashions that emerged from London, as well as the models who made those fashions both hip and famous, still echo through pop culture. Jean Shrimpton, Penelope Tree and, of course, the extraordinary woman known as Twiggy (born Lesley Hornby) were for several years in the mid-1960s the heavily made-up faces of Swinging London itself.
[See TIME.com on Twiggy as an "All-Time 100 Fashion Icon."]
Today, Twiggy remains not only a fashion touchstone — with any slim young thing who sports short hair and liberal eye shadow inevitably pegged as “Twiggy-like” — but has also, incredibly, managed to stay relevant and productive for decades. Rather than simply and endlessly recycling the elements of her appeal that made her famous in the first place, Hornby went on to act in films and on stage (not just in set pieces, but in classic plays by heavyweights like Shaw and Noel Coward); recorded — and continues to record — as a singer; appeared on TV shows (like all great stars, for example, she took a turn on The Muppets); and wrote several books, including a well-received autobiography.
It sometimes astonishes people — or people outside the UK, at least — to learn that the skinny, blonde, mop-topped, teenaged model who took the fashion world by storm in the Sixties actually survived those crazy years, grew up and, incredibly, is still around.
Here, on Twiggy’s 63rd birthday, LIFE.com celebrates her career and her enduring style with a series of rare pictures — shot in California for a feature that never appeared in the magazine — by long-time LIFE photographer Ralph Crane. Captured at the very height of her fame as one of the first-ever supermodels, and during her first visit to the U.S. when she was all of 18 years old, the Twiggy in most of these pictures seems remarkably cool and sophisticated for one so young. (Perhaps not surprising, considering that she’d been one of the most famous figures — and had one of the most famous figures — in the world for the previous whirlwind year.)
In other shots, meanwhile, she looks refreshingly like a teen who is still thrilled that her life has taken her to these sorts of places, with these sorts of people. There are other Sixties icons here, after all — Sonny and Cher, for example, and Steve McQueen (wearing a shearling coat in the Beverly Hills sun, and somehow looking cool doing it).
Throughout it all, the vibe of all of these photos is distinctly, unmistakably that of the Sixties — specifically, that brief period in 1966 and 1967, before MLK and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, before Altamont, before the Manson family murders, before the decade died out entirely, when people might have been able to convince themselves that the Age of Aquarius was really just around the corner. Or, if not the Age of Aquarius, then at least a pretty groovy garden party at a mansion in Beverly Hills.
Read more: Twiggy: Rare Photos of a Swinging Sixties Icon | LIFE.com http://life.time.com/culture/twiggy-rare-photos-of-a-sixties-icon/#ixzz34M5BUFHw