Observer picture archive: Twiggy, 12 August 1966

Of photographing the model, David Newell-Smith said: “She’s a product of the photographer’s imagination. I’ve tried to suggest this by increasing the contrast to emphasise the lines of the composition, the oval shapes that blend into each other giving an overall abstract effect.”

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Pendennis diary item published in the Observer on 14 August 1966

There’s a power behind every throne. Justin de Villeneuve is the power behind Twiggy. Twiggy is the heir-apparent to Jean Shrimpton. And David Bailey is the power behind Jean Shrimpton – but we won’t go into that now.

Twiggy weighs 6½ stone and is just back from Paris, where she modelled the Cardin collection and posed for three covers of Elle. She’s off to New York in the spring, for £1,000 a week. Six months ago she was at school in Kilburn. She’s 16.

“I met her when she was 15,” said Mr de Villeneuve, a 27 year-old East Ender. “I saw the potential there. She’s very kookie, very twiggy. I’m sold on her.” He’d just turned down a film offer for Twiggy from Antonioni. “It wouldn’t have been right for her image. Twiggy’s like a little boy – she’s a teenage Garbo.”

Twiggy was wearing light orange boots, dark orange sailor-boy trousers, and a striped mauve and orange tee-shirt. (There certainly was a lot of orange.) She likes dogs, sewing, Batman and Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, when the head fell down the stairs.

But Twiggy wasn’t saying very much: “I’m frightened I might say something wrong.” “Well, you say what you want to say, baby,” said Mr de Villeneuve. “Modelling’s better than school,” said Twiggy. “Isn’t she sweet?” said Mr de Villeneuve. “Isn’t she sweet?”

The Guardian and Observer archive has more than 200 years of articles and images available to view. Find out more about how to access them.

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