A Marvellous Collection of Photos of Dame Lesley Lawson aka Twiggy

"I looked through my camera and this face looked back at me and I just just went 'wow'. It was the effect of her looking back at me, I can't find the adjective to describe it. I think it was the eyes, she had such presence. She was gawky but she had a sort of elegance." Barry Lategan

Twiggy by Lewis Morley 1967

In August 1966 in the Pendennis Diary column in the British newspaper the Observer there was a small item about Twiggy the Neasden-born model who had just rocketed to fame:

There’s a power behind every throne. Justin de Villeneuve is the power behind Twiggy. Twiggy is the heir-apparent to Jean Shrimpton. And David Bailey is the power behind Jean Shrimpton – but we won’t go into that now.

Twiggy weighs 6½ stone and is just back from Paris, where she modelled the Cardin collection and posed for three covers of Elle. She’s off to New York in the spring, for £1,000 a week. Six months ago she was at school in Kilburn. She’s 16.

“I met her when she was 15,” said Mr de Villeneuve, a 27 year-old East Ender. “I saw the potential there. She’s very kookie, very twiggy. I’m sold on her.” He’d just turned down a film offer for Twiggy from Antonioni. “It wouldn’t have been right for her image. Twiggy’s like a little boy – she’s a teenage Garbo.”

Twiggy was wearing light orange boots, dark orange sailor-boy trousers, and a striped mauve and orange tee-shirt. (There certainly was a lot of orange.) She likes dogs, sewing, Batman and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, when the head fell down the stairs.

But Twiggy wasn’t saying very much: “I’m frightened I might say something wrong.” “Well, you say what you want to say, baby,” said Mr de Villeneuve. “Modelling’s better than school,” said Twiggy. “Isn’t she sweet?” said Mr de Villeneuve. “Isn’t she sweet?”

Twiggy sits cross-legged in an exotic tent constructed in Justin de Villeneuve’s home 1972 Justin de Villeneuve

1966, Barry Lategan

She was plain Lesley Hornby at the time, a thin and pretty 16-year-old shampoo girl from North West London who became the world’s first supermodel after her picture made it into the papers. In an interview in the Guardian the photographer Barry Lategan once remembered when Twiggy came into his Baker Street studio:

I looked through my camera and this face looked back at me and I turned round to Leonard [the hairdresser] and just went ‘wow’. It was the effect of her looking back at me, I can’t find the adjective to describe it. I think it was the eyes, she had such presence. She was gawky but she had a sort of elegance. Some people cower in front of the camera, but she became who she was.

One of Lategan’s photographs was seen by Daily Express journalist Deirdre McSharry and it appeared in the paper headlined The Face of 66.

The photographer can even claim a role in selecting the name that identified her for the rest of a career which took in acting, presenting and music as well as being an international icon.

Her boyfriend said ‘stop biting your nails, Twigs’ – short for Twiggy. I said ‘if you ever go professional you should call her that name’, so I suppose I’m partly responsible.

Doreen Spooner, 1966

King’s Road, London.June 1966 photo Stan Meagher

with Sonny and Cher (left) in Beverly Hills, 1967. Ralph Crane

Twiggy, Battersea Park, London; with the model riding on a moped;
photographed by Ronald Traeger (1937 – 68); printed by Tessa Traeger; published in British Vogue, July 1967

King’s Road, London.June 1966 photo Stan Meagher

1966, A facial portrait of model Twiggy wearing a fashionable and quirky white bonnet hat which has daisies attached and also wraps round her chin, whilst she smiling at the camera (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

1967

Sixties Fashion – A portrait of model Twiggy wearing a knitted yellow top and blue trousers in 1967. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Twiggy 1966 Paul Popper

Twiggy 1966 Paul Popper

1967 Paul Popper

Vogue, November 1967

Sara Crichton-Stuart and Twiggy, wearing navy blue dresses with bright yellow and orange accents by Daniel Hechter for Bagatel Vogue Oct 1966 photo Ronald Traeger

Paul Popper

New York City 1972

Twiggy On a photoshoot, London 1966 photo Burt Glinn

Twiggy earring by Trifari, hair by Ara Gallant, New York, April 3, 1967 by Richard Avedon

White Weddings British Vogue, February 1967 by Norman Parkinson

Twiggy 1967 by Ron Falloon

1967 by Ron Falloon

1966, by David Steen

1967 peeking through the curtains of the Paris shop Torrente.

1979, Harry Langdon

1972 by Justin de Villeneuve

Justin de Villeneuve

1970, Justin de Villeneuve

New York 1967 Photo Bert Stern

Bert Stern 1967

1966 by Barry Lategan

1967, Bert Stern

3rd March 1966

1967

October 1970

Vogue Jul 1967 Ronald Traeger

1967, Richard Avedon

1967

Ronald Traeger for Vogue, 1967

Vogue December 1974 Photo Barry Lategan

English model Twiggy wears a pair of shoes made for her by legendary British shoemaker George Cleverley, early 1970s. Cleverley exclusively produced shoes for men, but was persuaded to make an exception for Twiggy. (Photo by Justin de Villeneuve/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1966. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

with  manager-boyfriend Justin de Villeneuve 1970

24th August 1968, with her partner Justin de Villeneuve 

January 1967 at Bertram Mills Circus Olympia

vogue 1993 By Steven Meisel

Vogue, 1967 Photo Cecil Beaton

Photo Helmut Newton, VOGUE 1967 

Twiggy with David Bowie 1973 Album Pin Up cover Photo Justin de Villeneuve

1966 Ronald Traeger

Richard Avedon, 1968

Bert Stern