See iconic model Twiggy now at 73

Twiggy, the iconic model of the 1960s, embraced her elfin-like face and striking blue eyes with a pixie haircut, creating a distinctive look that has been emulated for decades. Despite revolutionizing the fashion industry with her youthful and androgynous style, she recently admitted that she never intended to get the short haircut that became her signature. She was simply too shy to refuse the suggestion of a famous hairstylist in an upscale salon.

Celebrating her 74th birthday on September 19, let’s revisit the 1960s when Twiggy first popularized the baby doll style that remains influential today.

In 1966, British-born Twiggy, originally named Lesley Hornby, sought a trendy new look to kickstart her modeling career. At just 5-foot-6, she was often told she was too short for the competitive fashion world.

Now turning 74, Twiggy recalled having her shoulder-length hair styled for some test shots at London’s House of Leonard, where she met the renowned stylist Leonard Lewis, known professionally as Leonard of Mayfair.

Lewis was looking for models to showcase his new crop haircut. In a recent guest appearance on Jessie Ware’s podcast, “Table Manners,” Twiggy revealed that she never wanted to cut her hair short.

“I went in to have it shampooed and set, and Leonard saw me and said, ‘Let me do my new haircut on you,’” Twiggy shared on the podcast. “I’d been growing my hair, and for a moment I hesitated. But I was in this very posh salon in Mayfair, so I was too shy to say no, and I kind of nodded.”

The next day, she returned to the salon, anticipating the transformation.

“I went back the next day and spent seven hours there. He cut it, then I had it colored, and then re-cut. It was a crazy experience,” she laughed.

Although Twiggy wasn’t initially seeking the androgynous look, she quickly understood why Lewis was celebrated. After perfecting her blonde crop, Lewis had British photographer Barry Lategan capture Twiggy’s photos.

“Leonard put the photo up in the salon, and a journalist from the Daily Express saw it,” Twiggy said, referring to fashion editor Deirdre McSharry. “That’s how it all started. That haircut and that photo were pivotal moments.”

The pixie cut accentuated her large blue eyes, which she emphasized with distinctive lower lash mascara.

Talking to Vogue, Twiggy explained the inspiration behind her doe eyes: “I was always experimenting with makeup at home. I had a rag doll with spiky eyelashes, so I bought false eyelashes and created my look.”

She also mentioned rebelling with makeup and miniskirts during her weekends out with friends, despite attending a strict grammar school where uniforms and no makeup were the rules.

“We played with makeup on weekends like most teenage girls,” she said. “That’s how my makeup style evolved.”

The eyes became her signature look.

A few weeks after the shoot for the Daily Express, her photos, now iconic black-and-white images, appeared with the headline “Twiggy–The Face Of ‘66,” launching her modeling career.

The next month, she did her first shoot for Vogue, and her “life became a whirlwind.”

As the epitome of mod fashion, Twiggy became a role model for many women and, still a teenager, was the first celebrity used as a model for a Twiggy Barbie by Mattel.

In the following years, Twiggy’s name became synonymous with British designer Mary Quant, who revolutionized fashion with short hemlines.

Twiggy retired from modeling in 1970 after only a few years and pursued acting and singing. She starred in films like “The Boy Friend” (1971), earning two Golden Globes, and “Club Paradise” (1986), alongside Robin Williams.

She later judged on America’s Next Top Model, worked on a fashion line for Marks & Spencer, and appeared in their ads.

In 2011, she released the album “Romantically Yours,” featuring covers of songs like “Blue Moon” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” with her daughter Carly Lawson as a guest vocalist on some tracks.

Still active in fashion, Twiggy became an ambassador for L’Oreal and collaborates with other brands as a designer.

These days, she hosts her own podcast, “Tea with Twiggy,” where she chats with famous friends.

Despite her many achievements, Twiggy measures her success by her close bond with her daughter, Carly.

After Carly’s father, actor Michael Witney, died at 52 during her fifth birthday celebration, Twiggy raised her with her second husband, Leigh Lawson, whom she married in 1988.

“My number one priority is family. It always has been,” Twiggy said. “If it didn’t work for Carly, I didn’t do it. We went everywhere together, which is why we’re so close now. She recently said, ‘I can’t remember a time when you weren’t there, Mum,’ and that’s because I always was. Even when I traveled, she came with me.”