Twiggy, the famous model, reluctantly embraced a new look by adding a pixie hairstyle to her elfin-like face and big blue eyes. This unique style, replicated over the decades, became iconic.
Even though Twiggy’s youthful style transformed the fashion industry, she recently shared that she didn’t initially want the androgynous buzz that defined the Swinging Sixties look. She was too shy to refuse the work of a famous hairstylist in a fancy salon.
As she celebrated her 74th birthday on September 19, let’s go back to the 1960s when Twiggy first inspired the famous baby doll styles that we still see today!
In 1966, Twiggy, whose real name is Lesley Hornby and was born in Britain, wanted a stylish new look to kickstart her modeling career. Even though she was told she was too short (standing at 5-foot-6) for the tough fashion industry, she was determined.
On her way to turning 74 on September 19, Twiggy remembered getting her shoulder-length hair styled at London’s House of Leonard. There, she met the famous British stylist, Leonard Lewis (known professionally as Leonard of Mayfair). Lewis was trying out his new short crop haircut and was looking for models to showcase it.
In a recent interview on Jessie Ware’s podcast “Table Manners,” Twiggy, the former style icon, shared that she never actually wanted to cut her hair short.
She went to the salon for a shampoo and set, but Leonard, the stylist, suggested trying his new haircut on her. Twiggy was growing her hair and hesitated for a moment, but being in a fancy salon in Mayfair, she felt a bit shy to say no. So, she nodded in agreement.
The next day, she went back to the salon and spent seven hours there. Leonard cut her hair, colored it, and then cut it again. It was a crazy experience, and even though Twiggy wasn’t initially after the androgynous look, she soon realized why Leonard became famous as a stylist.
After Leonard perfected Twiggy’s stylish blonde haircut, he had British photographer Barry Lategan take her pictures. Leonard displayed the photos in his salon, and a journalist from the Daily Express, Deirdre McSharry, saw them while getting her hair styled by Leonard.
Twiggy explained, “That’s how it all happened…When that haircut started, when that photograph was taken, that was the pivotal moment.”
The pixie cut made her big blue eyes stand out, and she highlighted them with mascara on her lower lashes. Twiggy mentioned in an interview with Vogue that the inspiration for her distinctive doe-eyed look came from playing with makeup at home. She had a rag doll with spiky eyelashes, so she bought false eyelashes and created what became her signature “look.”
When Twiggy was young and not at her strict school, she rebelled by wearing makeup and short skirts. She and her friends used to play with makeup on the weekends since their school didn’t allow it. This is how she started experimenting with makeup, and her distinctive eye makeup became a big part of her famous look.
A few weeks after the photoshoot for the Daily Express, some black and white pictures that became iconic were published, along with the headline “Twiggy–The Face Of ’66.” This marked the beginning of her modeling career. The next month, she had her first photoshoot for Vogue, and her life became very busy.
Twiggy, setting the trend for mod fashion, became a role model for many women. Even while still a teenager, she became the first celebrity that Mattel used as inspiration for a Twiggy Barbie.
Over the next several years, Twiggy’s name became synonymous with the trailblazing British designer Mary Quant, who revolutionized fashion with short hemlines, freeing the female leg.
After only a handful years of modelling, Twiggy retired in 1970 and explored stage and screen acting, along with singing.
Her movies include starring roles in 1971s The Boy Friend–a performance that earned her two Golden Globes–and Club Paradise (1986), where she played the lead alongside the late Robin Williams.
The America’s Next Top Model judge also worked on a fashion line exclusive to Marks & Spencer and ppeared on several of the brand’s billboard ads.
In 2011, she released the album “Romantically Yours,” that features cover songs like “Blue Moon,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” and “Right Here Waiting.” Her only daughter, Carly Lawson (born 1978) is a guest vocalist on some of the tracks.
Still on the frontlines of fashion, the stunning woman was ambassador for L’Oreal and she partners with other brands as a designer.
These days, Twiggy keeps busy with her own podcast, “Tea with Twiggy,” where she has personal chats with her famous friends every week.
Despite all her accomplishments, Twiggy, who is one of the most well-known faces of her time, believes her success is best measured by the strong bond she shares with her amazing daughter.
After her father, actor Michael Witney, passed away when she was only five, Carly, her daughter, was raised by Twiggy and her second husband, Leigh Lawson, whom she married in 1988.
“My number one priority is family. It always has been, even when Carly was little. If something didn’t work for Carly, I wouldn’t do it,” Twiggy said. She is also a grandmother now. “We did everything together, and that’s why we’re so close now. The other day, Carly said, ‘I can’t remember a time when you weren’t there, Mum,’ and that’s because I was always there. Even when I traveled, she came with me.”
Twiggy is the envy of many women for being able to pull off that pixie cut from the 1960s! She looked, and still looks, gorgeous!
What are your memories of the Swinging Sixties? What is the most daring hairstyle you’ve tried?
Please share this story and let’s show Twiggy some love on her birthday!