Jean Shrimpton, the long-lashed, leggy-limbed Sixties supermodel is on a lot of people’s minds at the moment. Together with the fashion photographer David Bailey, they produced some of the most iconic fashion imagery of the decade. His namesake designer, Christopher Bailey of Burberry has cited the couple as one of the inspirations for his A/W ’11 collection of plaid overcoats and flat caps, and a biopic of the pair has been shot with the beautiful time-traveller, Karen Gillan in the supermodel’s role. It’s for BBC4 and it’s called We'll Take Manhattan, telling the story of the 1962 fashion shoot where they met and fell in love.
Wow – so we’re all going to be Sixties-upped to the max this autumn, bundled up in our jackets, and wallowing in nostalgia watching Sixties period telly. Sounds perfect. HOWEVER! There is a fly in the ointment, and that seems to be that the dynamic duo, photographer and muse don’t actually get along that well in reality. What? Surely not! Well, listen to this:
Ms Shrimpton has been complaining in the press that at the time he made her famous, Bailey never paid her for modelling, all the while he ‘made a lot of money out of me’. In response to this, Bailey has said that the Shrimp is being ‘silly’.
‘Oh, that's all b------s. She's just silly. I gave her half the film money. I'm not going to say nasty things about Jean, because I love her. But, you know, some women get a bit odd as they get older,’ he said. Charming!
Jean 'The Shrimp' Shrimpton back in her heyday and Burberry Prosum A/W '11
Dear oh dear. Even if it seems to have gone a teeny bit sour now, it is still a wonderful yarn. They met on a shoot for a Cornflakes advert, and then fell madly in love. He launched her career as one of the most in-demand mannequins of her era (when she did managed to command quite good fees, sitting for the likes of Vogue) then they both married other people and went about their business.
We’re just looking forward to watching the film with a vat of tea and biscuits when it’s on telly this autumn.
- Naomi Attwood