Jean Shrimpton

It's 1962. New York. British photographer David Bailey is shooting his new mistress and muse, Jean Shrimpton ‒ an unknown British model wearing a chic, tawny suede Young Jaeger coat ‒ whose thick fringe, full lips and big doe-eyes are about to kick-start the swinging sixties.

How did it all begin? The young couple flew from Heathrow to New York that same year after rising star Bailey was given his first British Vogue commission, and refused to photograph anyone but 19-year-old Shrimpton. Scouted by film director Cy Enfield on a zebra crossing in London when she was seventeen, the model was yet to get her big break. Until now.

Standing at an elegant 5ft 10in with a choppy almond bob, the High Wycombe-born model poses coyly next to an iconic 'Don't Walk' sign, teddy bear in hand ‒ a world away from the life she left behind at her family's farm in rural Buckinghamshire. If you look closely, you might even feel the frisson between Shrimpton and Bailey. Many fashion insiders claim that this image was as much about the location and forward-thinking shot as it was about the couple falling in love.

The shoot, entitled Young Idea Goes West, was a defining moment for Vogue and the fashion industry as a whole: the stiff, posed model images of the moment had been shunned for more spontaneous, carefree photographs (thanks, in part, to Bailey's 35mm hand-held camera, which allowed him to follow his muse wherever she sauntered). And, the magazine never looked back. The Bailey/Shrimpton pictures irrevocably changed the way Vogue thought about model shoots, and ushered in a new wave of fashion editorials.

Soon after, Shrimpton (later nicknamed 'The Shrimp' for breaking the voluptuous, curvaceous mould of her pretty predecessors) became the world's very first supermodel, appearing on the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Vanity

Fair, Time and Glamour more than any other model of the 1960s. And, it wasn't just her professional life that blossomed after this famous shot was taken:

The image was as much about the location and forward-thinking shot as it was about the couple falling in love

within 6 months Bailey had moved Shrimpton into his North London flat with his 26 birds and two dogs. But, sadly, their whirlwind romance was not meant to be and ended after a brief engagement and string of infidelities (on both sides).

However, the model wouldn't be on her own for long. Her new found superstar status (which she famously tried to shun and still does to this day), caught the attention of many a famous admirer. English actor Terrence Stamp and poet Heathcote Williams both courted the model, but it was photographer Michael Cox that finally got her to settle down. And settle down they did, in Penzance ‒ where you will still find them to this day, running the beautiful boutique hotel The Abbey.

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