Jean Shrimpton, the world's first supermodel and one of the defining faces of the 60s, talks to Alex Wade. BBC4 drama about her love affair with photographer David Bailey. . together, but Shrimpton left Bailey to begin a relationship with Terence Stamp. .. Bad sex award the contenders in quotes. David Bailey's first Vogue photo shoot with lover Jean Shrimpton (inset) Bailey and Shrimpton were briefly engaged, but the relationship was. 'They're the most peculiar women,” says David Bailey, looking at his photographs of Jean Shrimpton and Kate Moss. “I've never understood.
Magazine work soon came her way, and it was on a shoot for Vogue that she met one of the most influential men in her life, David Bailey. Shrimpton broke off a relationship and Bailey ended his marriage so they could be together. There's a force about him. But he's shrewd, too. Bailey was very important to me. I'm sure today's models are a lot more switched-on than we were.
Image rights didn't exist back then. What happened — the creation of the fashion industry — just happened.
It was the heady, early days of the swinging 60s and the couple worked tirelessly together, but Shrimpton left Bailey to begin a relationship with Terence Stamp. I was aware of him because he was so good-looking.
But it was Bailey who accidentally brought us together. Stamp seemed ill at ease, self-conscious and standoffish, but Bailey talked to him, as he always does with people, and ended up inviting him to come with us to see my parents in Buckinghamshire later that day. The beautiful duo were soon an item — to Bailey's dismay — but their three years together left Shrimpton puzzled. Certainly, there is no love lost now: We lived together in a flat in Mayfair, but he never gave me a set of keys; one day I walked into his room to talk to him and he simply turned his back on me, swivelling his chair to stare silently out of the window.
That sort of thing was typical. He was very peculiar. Night after night we'd go out for dinner, to the best restaurants, but just so that we could be seen. I felt like a bit part in a movie about Terence Stamp.
Shrimpton's dressmaker, Colin Rolfe, was given insufficient fabric, but pressed ahead regardless, making four outfits which were all cut just above the knee. The miniskirt was born — to the shock of conservative Australia at the time.
But for all the fame, the exotic travel and approaches from famous stars such as Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson — "they're the kind who can't help themselves, it's in their nature, though Jack was more subtle than Warren" — Shrimpton was not happy. She loathed the name "The Shrimp" and felt disenchanted with the fashion world. With hindsight, she says her true self only began to emerge in her next relationship, with photographer Jordan Kalfus, 12 years her senior, in New York.
It was an awakening. There was so much happening in American literature at the time. Mailer, Bellow, Burroughs, Ginsberg — they were all the rage.
Back in Britain a turbulent relationship with the anarchic poet Heathcote Williams was followed by another with writer Malcolm Richey, with whom she moved initially to Cornwall. By now, in her early thirties, Shrimpton was only too pleased to forsake modelling completely.
This guy picked me up. The girls themselves looked like mountains. That was when I realised photography could be more than a recording mechanism.
Jean Shrimpton - Wikipedia
He worked as an assistant to the photographer John French, then went on to Vogue aged 21, turning that hallowed institution on its head. Being a dyslexic East Ender must have given him quite a chip on the shoulder. At one point he grabs my arm. How long have I been married? What does my wife do?
Bailey has said that he has to fall in love with his subjects to fully capture them. And you can quite see that many of them find themselves reciprocating. Which brings us to the subject of his wives and partners. A whole section of the exhibition is devoted to the current Mrs Bailey, dark, willowy model Catherine Dyer, 23 years his junior. The others, though, are less present than you would expect.
Deneuve appears only once, sharing a frame with David Bowie. I still love her. The cachet of his name has never waned. Yet through all this he has remained an essentially pop figure.
The NPG exhibition presents the opportunity to lift him to the level of high art photography, alongside some of the photographers who inspired him, such as Cartier-Bresson.