Her career began with a haircut in 1966 and culminated, this year, in a damehood. Twiggy — the National Treasure from Neasden, the girl once known as Lesley Hornby who became a global star — turned 70 yesterday.
And yet it seems like no time since, working on Cosmopolitan magazine aged 20, I was enthralled to hear how my then boss Deirdre McSharry launched Twiggy into the limelight.
Early in 1966, having been told she was too short at 5ft 6in to become a model, Twiggy had her long locks chopped off at the House of Leonard, London’s smartest salon.
Within weeks of being named the Face of 66 by the Daily Express, Twiggy appeared in Vogue and soon became the icon of a decade
Early in 1966, having been told she was too short at 5ft 6in to become a model, Twiggy had her long locks chopped off
A few days later, McSharry, then fashion editor of the Daily Express, spotted a photo of the girl with the crop on the salon wall.
She invited Twiggy, still a schoolgirl, to tea and within weeks she appeared in the paper, announced as The Face of 66.
Soon she was in Vogue, being photographed by every renowned snapper of the time — from Richard Avedon to Cecil Beaton — and the fashion icon of the decade was born.
Twiggy continued modelling for a wide range of magazines, before moving into acting. She starred in the musical The Boy Friend (right) in 1971
The small screen was never beneath Twiggy despite her widespread fame — as her cameo in The Muppet Show in 1977 demonstrates
How ironic that model Jean ‘The Shrimp’ Shrimpton, darling of Vogue, declared: ‘I’m not jealous [of Twiggy], why should I be? I’m sure her success will be ephemeral. She doesn’t please men. I do.’
Shrimpton was barely heard of again, while Twiggy has never disappeared from view.
But she never stopped being her down-to-earth self and that, perhaps, is her secret.
Women who grew up with her like that.
Twiggy starred with Robin Williams (left) in 1986 film Club Paradise. She posed with her daughter Carly (right) in a 1980s photo shoot
Twiggy played Elvira in Blithe Spirit (left) in 1997. She was pictured with pigs for Channel 4’s Big Breakfast programme (right)
What she did do, so skilfully, was reinvent herself each decade, to the point where her estimated worth is around £40 million.
And as these pictures show, her diversity has been extraordinary.
After retiring from regular modelling in 1970 she became a film star, singing, acting and dancing her way to two Golden Globes in The Boy Friend.
How many people remember these triumphs?
What she did do, so skilfully, was reinvent herself each decade, to the point where her estimated worth is around £40 million
A mother, and grandmother, happily married for more than 30 years to second husband, actor Leigh Lawson, she says: ‘I’m enjoying getting older, except when my back plays up a bit’
In the Eighties, she acted with Robin Williams in movie Club Paradise and debuted on Broadway, receiving a Tony nomination for the musical My One And Only.
Later, her portrayal of Elvira in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit also received critical acclaim.
Not that the small screen was beneath her — as her cameo in The Muppet Show demonstrates.
A mother, and grandmother, happily married for more than 30 years to second husband, actor Leigh Lawson, she says: ‘I’m enjoying getting older, except when my back plays up a bit.’
Happy birthday, Twiggy. One of us. Well, almost.
Twiggy posing for her M&S clothing range that was recently launched for autumn in 2017