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Twiggy: Supermodel of the 1960s

When I Was Ten I Wanted To Look Just Like Twiggy!

In 1967, my big sister, Melanie, brought home a couple of magazines featuring a doe-eyed model with pouty lips, pixie haircut and stick-thin figure. Intrigued, I pored through the pages. I loved the high fashion photos of this uber-thin girl/woman appropriately called Twiggy, and I thought she was just darling. I wanted to look just like her, and often daydreamed that I was her.

I already had the Twiggy figure (yes, I was a skinny kid) and I was blonde; the next step, I decided, was to get a Twiggy haircut. So my mom took me to the local beauty shop where my medium length hair was razor cut into a short bob with a ducktail in back.

My Aunt Martha, in her first encounter with my new look, decided to paint my eyes and color my lips, in an attempt to create a pint-size Twiggy clone. Afterward, Aunt Martha had me pose while she took a few snapshots with my Kodak Instamatic camera. While I was, in actuality, a far cry from being Twiggy, in the mind of a ten-year-old girl, I was Twiggy, if only for a few special hours.

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The Many Faces of Twiggy!

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Visit Twiggy's Official Website

Twiggy Magazines From my Childhood

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I still have these two Twiggy magazines from my childhood that inspired me to cut my hair in a "Twiggy" bob. Sadly, all that remains of the magazine on the right is the cover.

A Hot Day in the South

When I asked my mom for a "Twiggy" haircut on a hot summer day in the deep South in 1967, she was more than happy to take me to our local beauty shop; she always liked me better with short hair, anyway. My sister, Melanie, had already gotten her Twiggy cut, and was thoroughly enjoying its coolness and chicness.

When I returned home after my makeover, I felt like a celebrity. Lol! And my Aunt Martha loved my new look! She put mascara on my eyelashes, and told me not to blink, and I didn't. She also put lipstick on my lips and told me not to lick them, and I didn't. I was so worried about messing up my makeup from blinking and licking my lips, that I looked pretty peculiar with my unblinking eyes and fish lips!

The next day, my friend Helen, from across the street, saw my hair and loved it so much, that she got the "Twiggy" cut, too! We had lots of fun pretending we were "Twiggy twins," and the short hair helped keep us cool in the hot summer weather.

A Twiggy Fan Awaits Her Transformation!

Me before my Twiggy makeover!

Me before my Twiggy makeover!

It's the New Twiggy!

Me showing off my new Twiggy haircut and Aunt Martha's makeup job! Notice the unblinking eyes and fish lips?

Me showing off my new Twiggy haircut and Aunt Martha's makeup job! Notice the unblinking eyes and fish lips?

My Twiggy Cut's Better Than Your Twiggy Cut!

Posing with best friend Helen!

Posing with best friend Helen!

The Twiggy Triplets!

Me, Helen, and big sis Melanie--the one who Introduced me to Twiggy!

Me, Helen, and big sis Melanie--the one who Introduced me to Twiggy!

"At sixteen, I was a funny, skinny little thing, all eyelashes and legs. And then, suddenly people told me it was gorgeous. I thought they had gone mad."--Twiggy

The "Twiggy Look"

A stunner in fur!

A stunner in fur!

In reading those Twiggy magazines of 1967, one thing especially stood out in my mind: it took a full three hours for Twiggy to make her face up for a photo shoot. In order to get that wide-eyed look, she applied three sets of false eyelashes, then hand-painted bold eyelashes (she called them "twiggies") on her bottom lids. As a child of ten, three hours in the makeup chair was pretty hard for me to fathom, and I really didn't understand why it would take that long. Nevertheless, I thought the Twiggy look was the coolest thing ever! I loved her big, expressive eyes, and her vulnerable little girl look--and, her wardrobe was outta sight! My personal favorites were the mod outfits with bold designs and vibrant colors.

The face we fell in love with!

The face we fell in love with!

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Choices . . . Choices. . . .

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Adorable Twiggy

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Twiggy Steps Out

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Twiggy--the Face of '66

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Twiggy: 1960s Fashion Icon

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Twiggy (born Lesley Hornby September 19, 1949) was just a normal teenager living in England, until one day in 1966, she decided to get her hair cut and colored by celebrity hairdresser Leonard at The House of Leonard in Mayfair. Leonard was looking for models to try his new crop haircut out on, and afterward, displayed photos of Lesley's new look in his salon. Fashion journalist, Deidre McSharry, saw the photos, and was impressed. She arranged to meet Hornby, and took more photos of her for her publication, the Daily Express. When the issue emerged a few weeks later, sixteen-year-old Lesley Hornby was declared "the face of '66," becoming the first prominent teenage model.

Her hairdresser boyfriend, Nigel Davies (who changed his name to Justin de Villeneuve), became her manager, and persuaded Hornby to change her name to "Twiggy," from her childhood nickname, "Twiggs." Twiggy's career took off like a rocket, and she was featured in all the fashion magazines, most notably, Vogue. So Internationally famous had Twiggy become that Life, Newsweek, and the New Yorker even featured articles devoted to the Twiggy "phenomenon" in 1967.

In 1967, and for many years afterward, Twiggy's naturally thin, waifish figure was a popular subject for criticism and jokes; many people felt that it promoted an unhealthy body ideal for women. But her sleek, androgynous lines were the perfect thing for displaying the latest fashions: Nehru suits, space-age jumpsuits, military-style suits and dresses, and A-line dresses with collars and neckties. In 1970, Twiggy stopped modeling, making the statement, "You can't be a clothes hanger for your entire life."

I well remember the Twiggy phenomenon--her face and figure bombarded television, magazines, merchandise, and fashion, and her name popped up everywhere! Many Twiggy jokes were cracked on game, comedy, and variety shows, as well as radio, and anyone who was deemed too thin was called "Twiggy," including me!

Twiggy & Justin de Villeneuve

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Flapper Twiggy

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Queen of Hearts Twiggy

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Chic Twiggy

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Dramatic Twiggy

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"Can you imagine wot it was like. All the girls gettin' luvly figgers and me stayin' flat as a pancake? It was no fun, I tell you."--Twiggy

Sassy Twiggy

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Fab Twiggy

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Fringy Twiggy

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Gypsy Twiggy

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What Made People Go Ga-Ga Over Twiggy?

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Twiggy Was in the Right Place at the Right Time: With the advent of the Beatles (which heralded the British invasion), the development of the space program, and the start of the Vietnam War, the world was undergoing tremendous change. No longer were curvaceous females like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield the norm. Fashions, hairstyles, taste in music, and attitudes were changing. The youth of the mid to late '60s were making their voices heard. They needed someone they could identify with, one of their own. Twiggy fit that bill to a "T". She was only 17 when overnight fame hit, and, being born in England, she was also a product of the British invasion. Most importantly, Twiggy "did her own thing," the mantra of the '60s generation. Twiggy represented youth, change, and rebellion--out with the old, and in with the new.

Twiggy Was Different: A far cry from Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield of the revered hourglass shape and glamour-girl hair, twiggy was "tubular," sporting a waif-thin frame with flat-as-a-pancake breasts. Her hair was cropped into a short, boyish pixie cut, such as a child would wear. In stark contrast to buxom female icons of the '50s and early '60s, Twiggy's frail, androgynous appearance more resembled that of a little girl playing dress-up than that of a woman. Surprisingly,Twiggy's boyish haircut and slight frame were perfect for showing off the latest fashions, with their bold lines and geometric patterns.

Twiggy's appearance at first was a little shocking; anything completely opposite from what one is accustomed to usually is. Shock turned into fascination, then admiration, and finally imitation (everyone knows that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery) as young girls stormed beauty shops, demanding the "Twiggy" cut. Twiggy had become the Pied Piper of the '60s generation.

Twiggy Looked Like a Margaret Keane Waif: With her dominant, heavily-fringed doe eyes and stick-thin figure, Twiggy looked as if she had just stepped out of a Margaret keane painting. In the 1960s, big-eye art was all the rage, and artist Margaret Keane (known as the mother of big-eye art) was the original creator of this shabby chic art form which typically featured soulful-eyed, emaciated boys and girls. Keane's creations were mass-marketed as prints and sold in department stores all over the world, as well as on the back pages of magazines. Could it be that the public had found their very own wide-eyed waif in Twiggy?

Twiggy Was Adorable: Not only was Twiggy physically pleasing to the eye--we all know how gorgeous she was (and still is)-- It was her unaffected personality that especially endeared her to the public of the 1960s. Twiggy never seemed to take herself too seriously; she could laugh at herself, even act silly and a little goofy at times--typical teenage behavior-- and people liked that. Unlike most people who skyrocket to fame, Twiggy never allowed the public's adoration of her to go to her head. We loved her humbleness, sweetness, and spontaneity.

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Braided Twiggy

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"Twiggy's androgynous look centered on three qualities: her stick thin figure, a boyishly short haircut, and strikingly dark eyelashes."

Whip It Twiggy

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Disco Ball Twiggy

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Twiggy Trivia

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Twiggy is credited with being the world's first supermodel.

Twiggy is also a talented singer. She released her first single, "Beautiful Dreams," in 1966.

Twiggy was Born in Neasden (a suburb of London), England on September 19, 1949, to Helen Lydia Hornby and William Norman Hornby.

At 5" 6" tall, Twiggy was considered short for a model.

Twiggy's measurements when she began modeling were 31-22-32, and she weighed only 91 pounds.

Twiggy's name was inspired by her childhood nickname, "Twiggs."

Twiggy was named "the face of 1966" by the Daily Express.

Twiggy's boyishly thin figure was criticized for promoting an "unhealthy" body ideal for women.

Twiggy was greatly influenced by '60s model Jean Shrimpton.

Twiggy retired from modeling in 1970, after landing her first movie role in "The Boyfriend," which premiered in 1971.

Twiggy married Michael Witney in 1977; he died suddenly in 1983.

Twiggy has a daughter named Carly (from her marriage to Witney).

Twiggy is currently married to Leigh Lawson (since 1988).

At the age of 19, Twiggy was the youngest participant in the show, "This is Your Life."

Twigy is an avid animal rights activist, as well as a supporter of breast cancer research and education groups.