Iconography: Jean Shrimpton
December 12, 2016
Needless to say, the following statement has been made painfully obvious; everyone is a supermodel. The word is no longer a title or holds career status but rather a category of exposure (aka a minimum of 250k Followers).
Before the word was thrown around like a piece from an H&M designer collaboration, there were models who defined the time so specifically, they became symbols. Jean Shrimpton is one of a handful of contenders for the title of first supermodel (along with Gia Carangi, Twiggy, Janice Dickinson, etc.). The doe-eyed waif that launched a million bangs, Jean, nicknamed "Shrimp" was named "the most photographed in the world". She also commanded higher rates than any model working in the early 60's. Jean Shrimpton came to personify what glamour meant at the time. Everything we eventually came to associate with models, started with Shrimp. A walking, living embodiment of the untouchable lifestyle identified with high-end fashion. Her long-term romance / muse relationship with famed photographer David Bailey became fodder for fashion controversy and urban legend. Their relationship added fuel to the flaming assumption that photographers slept with their muses. Bailey once called Shrimpton "the cheapest model in the world" because only a half of film was needed to get the right shot.
The Shrimp went on to further define the English, 60's aesthetic with her personal style. Slick, mod and yet still a level of unexpected sophistication beyond her early 20's.