They call me ‘Twiggy’

Author: By Laura Davis

Twiggy’s – aka Lesley Hornby – androgynous waif-like look, combined with the
classic sixties design style of Mary Quant, took the modelling world by
storm and helped changed the face of fashion. A year after she was spotted,
Twiggy fever had crossed the Atlantic. There were Twiggy dolls, false
eyelashes, and an eponymous magazine.

Appearing in all the leading magazines across her career, she has been
photographed by Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, Melvin Sokolsky, Ronald
Traeger, Bert Stern and Norman Parkinson amongst others.

“Over my career I?ve had the privilege of working with many great
photographers,” Twiggy says. “I?m very excited to see so many of these
portraits coming together at the National Portrait Gallery. It?s really
interesting to see how fashion photography and portraiture have evolved
throughout my career. I hope that this display and book will give people the
opportunity to see these pictures that have captured definitive moments in
my career.”

Growing discontented with just modelling, in 1970 Twiggy turned to acting and
subverted the stereotype of models-turned-actors succeeding solely for their
looks. For her performance in The Boyfriend (1971), she was awarded two
Golden Globes – Most Promising Newcomer and Best Actress in a Musical. She
has since appeared in many plays and musicals and was also nominated for a
Tony award.

Twiggy?s modelling career was re-launched with the successful Marks and
Spencer advertising campaign in 2005, where she appears alongside leading
supermodels of the noughties Erin O’Connor and Lily Cole. She?s also
appeared as a judge on the US reality show America’s Next Top Model opposite
Tyra Banks, and has designed a clothing line for Littlewoods.

The exhibition begins on her sixtieth birthday on the 19th September and runs
until March 2010. The display encompasses Twiggy?s life in portraits, from
early shots by Lategan to the present day. There will also be a book
released which features pictures from the exhibition as well as her private
collection of photographs and a current retrospective in her own words.

The North London girl came from working on the counter at Woolworths, and her
iconic status has not only outlived the store, but also the tired notion
that beauty equals youth.

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