Saturday, November 13, 2010

The World of Modelling and how to get the London Model Girl Look

The Lovely Jean Shrimpton, John French

'The World of modelling and how to get the London model girl look' by Lucie Clayton, published in 1968 was a pivotal book for me, I found it on one of the bookshelves in our family home when I was around ten or eleven, and became instantly fascinated by the wonderful photographs and images within it's pages, I am sure that this book was partly responsible for my love of photography and retro fashion.

 Jean Shrimpton, former Lucie Clayton girl, after a hugely successful modelling career, she married photographer Michael Fox, in 1979, they own and run the beautiful Abbey Hotel, in Penzance, Cornwall.

Jean Shrimpton, 1966

By the time I got hold of the book it was the late 1970's and it was the first time I was aware of reading about the great fashion photographers and the models of the sixties, the book had chapters on skin care, how to apply make up and the importance of good deportment.  Sadly I don't know what happened to the book and I am currently in the process of trying to get hold of a copy.

Lucie Clayton teaching deportment

Lucie Clayton originally named Sylvia Lucie Golledge founded The Lucie Clayton Charm Academy, a finishing school for well heeled young ladies and débutantes in 1928, most of the models in the thirties were young society ladies and débutantes who graced the pages of publications such as 'The Tatler', Lucie was so successful in offering modelling instruction, she opened 'The Lucie Clayton Model Agency in 1938.
 Fiona Campbell-Walter in 1954 another successful Lucie Clayton Girl.  Fiona became Baroness Fiona Thyssen and appeared in an iconic documentary with Alan Whicker, shortly after the documentary aired, she realised that being the wife of one of the richest men in the world was not all it was cracked up to be, she divorced Thyssen, she has remained friends with Alan Whicker ever since.

 Fiona Campbell Walter with John French

 Fiona Campbell Walter with Anne Gunning

 In the sixties the academy became a grooming school, producing young ladies skilled in  flower arranging, cookery, deportment, make up, hair care and most importantly how to get in and out of a sports car!

Some of those subjects were maintained in the curriculum of the Lucie Clayton Secretarial College after it opened in 1964, and in 1972 shorthand classes "were followed by lessons in dinner party planning and invitation etiquette".

In more recent decades the courses offerings "reflected the wider career options open to professionally trained young men and women with advertising, finance, marketing, human resources and office management training all making a mark on the timetable" and the school merged with St James's College in 2003.

The school building was transformed into Lucie Clayton House in 2007, offering "bachelor pad" small apartments and flats for couples with no children. On each landing "pictures of Lucie Clayton pupils arranging flowers, or learning how to type, a poignant reminder of the building's past" are displayed.

Joanna Lumley, another former Lucie Clayton girl, I remember reading in the book, (it was published in 1968) that Joanna showed great promise!

Tania Mallett, former pupil, by John French, she went onto appear in Goldfinger

Other successful models in the sixties that had the look;

Grace Coddington, Once Vogue Cover girl, Now American Vogue's Creative Director.

 Grace Coddington, Patrick Litchfield

Celia Hammond, Terence Donovan, Celia now runs 'The Ceilia Hammond Animal Trust' for unwanted and abused cats, dogs and other pets, in London.

 Celia Hammond, Vogue Cover

 Celia Hammond, Terence Donovan

Pattie Boyd the former wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton.

Jill Kennington, now a successful photographer.

Pauline Stone, Former wife of actor Laurence Harvey and Hard Rock Cafe tycoon Peter Morton.

 Sandra Paul, married the British Conservative minister and former leader of the Conservative Party, Michael Howard.

 Nicole de la Marge, the most versatile face of the sixties.

The Iconic face of Twiggy, she broke the mould in more ways than one, with social classes blurring in Sixties Britain, you no longer had to be 'posh' to be a successful fashion model, Twiggy is still going strong,  she is currently the face of Marks and Spencers.

Twiggy For Marks and Spencers


  1. Oh goodness, I loved this. That photograph of Grace Coddington is lovely. Do you know if Jean Shrimpton still owns her small hotel in Cornwall?

  2. These images are brilliant and I would love to read that book. Lucy must have been a very astute woman as she turned out such great models who have obviously gone on to successful careers and some married very well!

  3. What a nicely written post. I do love the 'dressed up' look of fashion photography from the 1950s through the 1960s.
    I do appreciate the fact that today's top fashion models come from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. It makes fashion more visually interesting.
    But I don't appreciate the trash talking, drug taking, tantrum having, blood diamond accepting, dictator schmoozing models of today. I shall not name names.

  4. Interesting post & wonderful pictures as usual.I'm always awed at Jean Shrimpton's doe eyed beauty.Never get tired of looking at her.
    Thanks Dash for mentioning Celia Hammond's association.The small team really do a lot to ease the suffering of many many animals.I'll spare you all the horrors they face everyday & try to mend.It'll break your hearts.All help appreciated I'm sure.

  5. I love learning about these models and what some of them have gone on to do with their lives. Being an animal lover and owned joyfully by three cats, I was especially happy to know of Ceila Hammond's work on behalf of animals.

  6. Lovely post.
    I would love to read this book, I loved all the 60's models starting with "the shrimp" and then Twiggy they all influence the way I try to look even today .. xx

  7. I LOVE looking at your blog - the Shrimp, Julie Christie, Biba - you are illustrating my past life!

  8. Gorgeous pictures. It's so hard to pick a favourite. I love Jean Shrimpton, Pattie Boyd, Tania Mallett and Nicole de la Marge. Hope you've had a lovely weekend xx

  9. Things were soooo stylish and elegant back then - I was only a child but I remember the fashion scene really well.

  10. Fantastic post! I love vintage everything... except the way they used to slouch their shoulders forward. Ms. Shrimpton's closeup shot was taken the year I was born... it's so odd the way lives overlap. All those people whose lives we never touch, and yet we know who they are/were.

  11. I did the Lucy Clayton course in the mid sixties, at New Bond Street, happy memories and such fun talks by Vidal Sassoon and David Bailey all so swinging sixties.


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