Coming out in April is a compilation of photographs David Bailey, one of England's most famous photographers, and arguably one of the worlds most famous commercial photographers shot of Jean Shrimpton. The photos were shot in January of 1962 in New York City by David who was at the time her lover (their love affair would span four years). NY JS DB 62, due out in late April was Bailey's first time in New York and at the time he was just starting his career as a successful photographer at British Vogue.
The idea behind the shoot was 'au natural', Bailey didn't want this to be a big 'to do', more of a 'girl on the street' take on things. It was a bitterly cold day and Shrimpton is photographed throughout carrying a teddy bear. Organically shot around NYC in freezing weather, she did her own hair and styling to further add to the authenticity. The first shot is a rather iconic one, I find it especially inspiring.
Speaking about her now, Bailey refers to Joan Shrimpton as a natural type of beauty with whom he has seen only one rival, Kate Moss. A natural relateable type of beauty, that is real.
For her part Jean Shrimpton was a supermodel before there was such a title, really the first. She graced the covers of (amongst many others) Vogue, Elle, and Glamour, made the cover of both Life and Newsweek and was written up in many magazines from Esquire to Ladies Home Journal, and McCall's. She is particularly known for having made waves when in 1965 , she arrived at the Derby Races (for a commercial job) in Melbourne wearing a miniskirt length dress with no gloves, no hat and no stockings. For the fashion conservative Melbourne women this was a huge faux pas and she was dealt harsh criticism and disapproval, the story reached national news. The weather being upwards of 90 degrees, Jean dressed for that, this being the mid-60's though, fashion was at a real turning point, and skirt lengths were VERY controversial. Coming from more liberal England, Shrimpton didn't even anticipate the swift reaction, and upon having to dress "more appropriately" the following day by orders of her sponsors she said: "I think you should dress to please yourself,". Admitting that she had been disciplined by her sponsors, she ruefully observed: "I feel Melbourne isn't ready for me yet. It seems years behind London."
Soon after the incident, mini-skirts became all the rage world-wide.
The controversial dress.
Below, shots of Shrimpton throughout her modeling career: