In the vibrant era of the swinging ’60s, one name stood out among the crowd, a name that became synonymous with a new wave of fashion and beauty. Dame Lesley Lawson DBE, widely known as Twiggy, emerged as an English model, actress, and singer who left an indelible mark on the world of fashion. Her androgynous appearance, defined by her big eyes, long eyelashes, and short hair, catapulted her to stardom as an iconic figure of the ’60s.

A Fashion Revolution

Twiggy’s meteoric rise began when she was named “The Face of 1966” by the Daily Express, a title that marked the beginning of her journey to stardom. Her unique and unconventional beauty made her an instant sensation. By 1967, Twiggy had already graced the covers of renowned fashion magazines such as Vogue and The Tatler, taking her fame across borders and oceans.

Beyond the Runway

Twiggy’s career extended far beyond the catwalk. She seamlessly transitioned into screen, stage, and television acting, showcasing her versatility as an entertainer. Her role in “The Boy Friend” in 1971 even earned her two Golden Globe Awards. In 1983, she made her Broadway debut in the musical “My One and Only,” earning a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Twiggy’s ability to captivate audiences was undeniable.

A Multifaceted Talent

Not content with just modelling and acting, Twiggy explored the realm of television. She hosted her own show, “Twiggy’s People,” where she interviewed celebrities, providing an intimate look into their lives. She also ventured into the world of reality television as a judge on “America’s Next Top Model.” Her 1998 autobiography, “Twiggy in Black and White,” soared to best-seller status, revealing the depth of her storytelling prowess.

An Enduring Legacy

Twiggy’s influence on fashion did not wane with time. Since 2005, she has continued to be a prominent figure in the industry, modelling for Marks and Spencer. Her impact extends to their recent rebranding efforts, where she appeared in television advertisements and print media alongside other renowned models. In 2012, she collaborated with Marks & Spencer’s designers to launch an exclusive clothing collection for the M&S Woman range, solidifying her status as a timeless fashion icon.

The Early Years

Twiggy’s journey began in Neasden, a suburb of northwest London, where she was born on 19 September 1949. She was the third daughter of Nellie Lydia, a factory worker, and William Norman Hornby, a master carpenter and joiner. Twiggy’s mother taught her to sew at an early age, a skill she used to create her own clothing. Her family history was a mix of cultures and backgrounds, including the revelation of a potential Jewish heritage in her maternal lineage.

The Modeling Phenomenon

Twiggy’s modeling career from 1965 to 1970 marked a transformative period in the fashion industry. She emerged as one of the first international supermodels and a true icon of the 1960s. Her influence was compared to that of Jean Shrimpton, often regarded as the world’s first supermodel. Twiggy’s signature look, with her short haircut, slender figure, and striking dark eyelashes, set a new standard for beauty.

The Transformation

Twiggy’s transformation into a fashion sensation occurred in January 1966 when, at the age of 16, she had her hair coloured and cut short at Leonard of Mayfair in London. Celebrity hairdresser Leonard styled her hair for a test photoshoot, which caught the attention of Deirdre McSharry, a fashion journalist from the Daily Express. This encounter led to her being named “The Face of ’66.” The world had found its new fashion icon.

The American Dream

Twiggy’s fame extended across the Atlantic when she arrived in New York in March 1967. The American press covered her arrival, and she quickly became a sensation. Twiggy’s appearances on international Vogue covers and her distinctive style, with her boyishly thin figure and unique haircut, took the fashion world by storm. She became a symbol of the ’60s, and her impact on the era’s fashion was unparalleled.

The Impact on Fashion

Twiggy’s influence on fashion during the ’60s extended beyond her appearance. Her adolescent physique perfectly suited the androgynous styles of the time. The era witnessed the rise of designs like A-line dresses, military-inspired suits, and unisex clothing, all of which she embodied with grace and style. Her photographs by renowned photographers became iconic in their own right.

A Polarising Figure

Twiggy was a polarising figure in the world of fashion. While some praised her as a refreshing change in the industry, others criticised her for promoting an unrealistic body ideal for women. Despite the controversy, she remained an inspiration to many, especially young teenagers who admired her unique style.

The Timeless Icon

Twiggy’s legacy endures, and her impact on the fashion industry remains significant. She has spoken out against the trend of ultra-thin models, emphasizing that her own slender frame as a teenager was a result of her natural build. She has proven that beauty comes in many forms, and her story continues to inspire.