Beautifully British; Jean and Sienna

I love Jean Shrimpton and Sienna Miller! For most people they may not be the first names to pop into your head when considering British fashion icons but I think they are just fabulous (no disrespect to the Twiggy and Moss fans among us). I have chosen to write about these two ladies as I think they both represent the past, present and future in a very stylish way. Jean was an icon of swinging London and Sienna (although she was born in New York City) is an English rose who has been closely associated with the style of fashion that became known as 'boho chic'.

Jean Shrimpton was a model and actress who acquired the nickname "The Shrimp" (which she famously disliked) and she possessed some of the gamine features which also made a huge success of the younger Twiggy. She appeared on the cover of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Vanity Fair to name a few, as well as dabbling in a spot of acting.

In 1965, Shrimpton caused a sensation in Melbourne, Australia, when she arrived for the Victoria Derby race during Melbourne Cup week (pictured right). Jean was left to design what she wanted to wear on the day and had them made up. She hired a dressmaker, Colin Rolf, who discovered there was not sufficient fabric for her designs. He then said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. Make them a bit shorter – no one’s going to notice.” “And that’s how the mini was born,” says the Shrimp. She settled for four outfits, all above the knee. She shocked everybody by wearing a white shift dress which ended 10 cm (3.9 in) above her knees, a forerunner of the miniskirt which became a worldwide craze. Moreover, she wore no hat, stockings or gloves and wore a man's watch, which was very unusual at the time. Shrimpton was unaware she would cause such reactions among the then-prim Melbourne community and media. She was surrounded by photographers shooting upwards to make her skirt look even shorter. The men whistled and the woman gave her cross looks, but she ignored it all. Lady Nathan, former mayor of Melbourne, accused Shrimpton of being "a child" and of having "bad manners". She became a cause celebre. She appeared on the front pages of newspapers throughout the world. It created a huge controversy in Australia, with half the country for her and half against – with the young people loving it. She was to say, "All over Australia young girls started shortening their skirts." The pictures, which the British newspaper had used, had the same results back home. Suddenly the mini, which had had a half-hearted start in Paris, became fashionable. Mary Quant rode in on the back of it, immediately making shorter skirts. In the modern climate where celebrities are willing to flash their knickers (or lack of) this probably seems quite tame, but you’ve got to remember that this was just the beginning of creeping hemlines and so, what she was wearing was rather racy for the time and place! So yes ladies, we have Miss Shrimpton to thank for shorter hemlines and freedom of hair!

The fashion trendsetter was also a heartbreaker to many glamorous men she knew during her time as a world famous cover girl (including a stint as the face of Yardley of London). She was once engaged to '60s photographer David Bailey and dated actor Terence Stamp. As one of the most beautiful couples among the trendy denizens of Swinging London, Shrimpton and Stamp seemed a perfect couple to outsiders, but Shrimpton dumped him, citing his narcissism was to blame. She was also mentioned in the Smithereens song "Behind the Wall of Sleep", which contains the opening lyrics "She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965".

I love the dress in this first photograph, the adventurous shape was something very frequently used back then, it works well and adds dimensions to her tiny frame. Jean has taken something which would look rather dull and sack-like on others and transformed it.

The Shrimp effortlessly pulls this ensemble off, she looks elegant and stylish. What is it that this lady brought to otherwise old fashioned and dull clothes?

I have to admit I am a sucker for a classic fifties shape. A bold stripe, flattering neckline, nipped in waist and billowing skirt, whats not to like?

There she is again with those infamous pins out! A suit jacket with a gorgous cut paired with a flared dress, accessorised perfectly with an oversized clutch and masculine watch (I love mens watches) a lady ahead of her time.

Pretty in polka dots and fine detailing.

Jean once again looking fabulous in a black leotard, amazing head wear and wrists adorned with chunky bangles. I wonder if Beyonce and Lady Gaga are fans too.

What a great shot, Jean in leather and fur, she makes it her own. Timeless.

I love the 60s and I do think that a lot of 60s style (culture & ideals as a whole) is still apparent in modern times. Below are some amazing shots of Shrimpton looking absolutely gorgous and showing off her style.

Beautifully British

A post on the gorgous Sienna coming soon!

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