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.