Sixties Survivors #7: Twiggy

I’ll bet you never expected to see Vogue Magazine featured on The Pondering Pig, let alone a Vogue Magazine with Twiggy on its cover in her thermal underwear.

The year is 1966, and it’s cold out there on the magazine stands of Paris and Montreal. She needs her thermals!

Lesley Hornby, AKA Twiggy, is turning 59 on September 19, and it’s as good a time as any to welcome her to the Pondering Pig Sixties Survivors Club.  She’ll be only 59, but she got an early start.  She was probably 16 when this cover shot was taken.

I think her birthday is a moment to ponder the predominance of all things British in the sixties. The Beatles, the Stones, and their British Invasion ilk dominated the charts for years.  British artist David Hockney was, after Warhol, the most successful fine artist of the era.  Sean Connory, as James Bond, ruled the box office world wide.  British actors in general ruled the Academy Awards.  Here are two mid-sixties years as an example, winners in upper case:

British 1964 Academy Award Acting Winners and Nominees:  REX HARRISON in “My Fair Lady”, Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole in “Becket”, Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove, JULIE ANDREWS in “Mary Poppins”, PETER USTINOV in “Topkapi”, John Gielgud in “Becket”, Stanley Holloway and Gladys Cooper in “My Fair Lady”, Edith Evans in “The Chalk Garden”

British 1965 Winners and Nominees: Richard Burton in “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold”, Laurence Olivier in “Othello”, JULIE CHRISTIE in “Darling”, Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music”, Tom Courtenay in “Doctor Zhivago”, Frank Finlay, Joyce Redman and Maggie Smith in “Othello.”

Let’s see, what else?  Well, both Pop Art and Op Art invented were invented in England.  Here is the the first Pop Art collage, created by Britisher Richard Hamilton in 1956:

I already mentioned fashion.  I remember how even San Francisco hippies of the era sought out stores that featured mod styles.  For example,  a men’s clothing store on Polk Street called The Town Squire sold leather jock straps and other odd fashion items to San Francisco’s closeted gay population – now, suddenly hippies overran the place.  We all wanted to look like Mick Jagger or Brian Jones and that was the only place in town where you could find the clothes that fit the look.  There was a cheap shoe store on Market Street called Flagg Brothers.  It sold a line of Chelsea boots, known in the States as Beatle boots, for $12 to $15.  Maybe they didn’t last so long, but they looked Carnaby Street, and they sold out regularly – all walking to the Haight-Ashbury district.

Twiggy, The ‘Face of 1966’, was at sixteen the world’s most famous supermodel, and she was wearing chic clothes by Mary Quant.  We were wearing chic boots by Flagg Brothers.  I didn’t know any guys who sported a Beatles cap but our local dolly birds looked mighty cute in them.  And then, with the arrival of The Who, even the Union Jack became a fashion item.

I don’t have time tonight to think about what it all means.  I have to pack for a trip to Southern California.  I’ll be gone all weekend and back in the Pigsty Monday.  But I’m sure there is much to learn.  I, for one, never quite got over my love affair with the country that produced the Beatles, Twiggy, and other lesser beings – such as Charles Dickens and Shakespeare.  I remain an Anglophile at heart.   Could someone please think long and deeply and report in?

Meanwhile, a nice polite wink and nod to Leslie Hornby on her 59th.


9 thoughts on “Sixties Survivors #7: Twiggy

  1. Very nice. I find myself remembering where my head was at & what I was doing back in the mid 60’s. I’m 61 now but a big piece of my brain and heart is still 19/20 years old. I remember Twiggy (Is that when we started learning about anorexia, bulimia, etc.?)I was glad for your review of the films & stars (mostly British!)of those years, too. Anyway, I enjoyed the visit back to our younger years.


  2. Lot to say about Anglo-land, but I’m Brooklyn born and New York farm raised.
    I like to be in America!
    O.K. by me in America!
    Ev’rything free in America
    For a small fee in America!

    Automobile in America,
    Chromium steel in America,
    Wire-spoke wheel in America,
    Very big deal in America!

    I like the shores of America!
    Comfort is yours in America!
    Knobs on the doors in America,
    Wall-to-wall floors in America!


  3. Jinx, You’ve surpassed yourself in lyricism. At first I though these were actually lyrics from “West Side Story”, then I realized, “No these are original.” Yes?


  4. That darn cat! Always making wisecracks and thinking up ironic poems just when we need to be serious about things for once. You be careful or I’m going to write a long screed about Natalie Wood cleaning the catbox.


  5. I was visiting my cousin, Vinnie, in Hell’s Kitchen back in about ’55. He was telling me about this guy named Steve that was writing song for a musical and needed some lyrics for a Pureto RIcan scene. He was working this USA angle and it just wasn’t hitting the note, as we say in Tin Pan Alley. Went sort of like this:
    I like it here in the USA
    It’s all ok in the USA
    People are nice in the USA
    …then there was a part, something about head lice or tumblin’ dice…

    You get the picture. Some real pap.

    But me being the good cousin and all around aesthetic-type, I knocked out them lyrics for old Steve. Even did it gratis. I got no use for a Tony award. I also suggested he get together with Art Laurents and have it be about a modern sort of Romeo and Juliet. Originally it was gonna be based on Beowulf, like that would sell.

    And, Pig, if you’re gonna be critical of my rhymes, at least make it Rita Moreno cleaning the catbox.


  6. The Beatles were the first, I think, to be honest about what they were saying to the point where they started saying things not normally said. As a kid I can clearly remember being struck by the sound of John’s voice and what he was saying. What a treasure were the Beatles. They were really what made britain cool. They had that connection to art and they were the ones that were always into new things, discovering and experimenting. We were playing, with our bodies, our minds, our senses and imaginations. It was fun. Does anyone remember fun?


  7. The Town Squire was the best place in all of San Francisco to buy clothing! I spent well over 30K a year there from 1968 to the mid 1970’s. A lot of the Rock bands bought there cool stage clothing there too. I sure miss the place and it was a big part of what made San Francisco the place to be!


  8. Pingback: September 19, 1949 – Global Women's History

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