It Seems Like Yesterday

Jean Shrimpton was definitely The Face of the ’60s. She was ubiquitous—one of the first supermodels, her waiflike and yet modern face was on every magazine cover on the stands. The symbol of Swinging London, she was the complete opposite of the aristocratic-looking, stiffly posed models of the ’50s. Girls everywhere were emulating her style: long, flowing hair with a fringe; pouty lips; always in a miniskirt.

Nicknamed “The Shrimp,” she was British Fashion Week. I had photographed her in London and then again in Bryant Park in NYC in 1967 during British Fashion Week. I believe it was the first fashion event ever held in Bryant Park, before the wave of designers began to descend on the park each season with their designs.

This day, she patiently posed for every photographer, down to earth, not snooty; her fame had not gone to her head. She waited for every single photographer to get a picture before going for a late lunch. Other models liked working with her; she was generous and didn’t try to steal the show. She had good manners and no attitude.

We sat on the grass after the show and chatted about London and my photographing the Beatles. She mentioned how much she liked New York. I’m glad I had the chance to photograph her at the peak of her fame—she was a major player who led the way for the supermodels who came after her.

Jean Shrimpton photographed in Bryant Park, summer 1967.