Monday, 1 August 2011


"I'm comfortable in my own skin, I've never thought there was any intrinsic value in looking young for your age"

We've had Mad Men, a twin-set clad Katie Holmes for The Kennedys and the BBC's current hit The Hour  providing us with retro delight recently.  In fact, we've been rather spoilt.  Then, whilst I'm foaming at the mouth over the new series of Downton Abbey appearing on the horizon, along comes the announcement that Doctor Who star Karen Gillan is to play '60s model Jean Shrimpton in a new BBC film.

Gillan, who plays Amy Pond in the hit series, will swap lumberjack shirts for structured shift dresses to star in the biopic of fashion photographer David Bailey, with whom Shrimpton embarked on a four-year love affair with after meeting him on a photo shoot.  The next couple of photos are from the set of the new BBC Four drama.

While the redheads might not be the ultimate sisters in style, porcelain-skinned Gillan harbours an affection for thigh-high hemlines, which is fitting as Shrimpton, now 68 ( and not a huge fan of publicity), was credited with launching the miniskirts to the masses during her heyday in the '60s.

We'll Take Manhattan is going to be the name of this docu-drama, about the famous love affair that takes place between photographer David Bailey and Jean herself.  For those not in the know, Bailey used Shrimpton as his model for a 1962 photo shoot for Vogue magazine in New York. Shrimpton was considered a bold move for the photographer but the resulting shoot defined the style of the 1960s. The story that is told in this drama is about that time and how the two fell in love along the way (awwwww). Also rather exciting is the luscious actor set up to play David Bailey....Aneurin Barnar.

The wonderful Shrimpton, who you may have spotted in last month's Vogue Beauty supplement has always been a model I admired, partly because she turned her back on the industry in her early 30s and partly because how elegant she remains to be, rarely giving interviews.  In the most recent piece I could find she said, "I never liked being photographed. I just happened to be good at it." And she was a revelation.

Here is a shot from her heyday including one from New York, 1962, by David Bailey – in a 14-page editorial meant for Vogue. The New York shoot went against the industry standard of pretty and extravagant sets and styling and instead, took place around Lower East Side and Harlem without any of the usual entourage. (David handled his own film, Jean did her own hair and make-up, and they travelled in taxis around the city) – Its gritty style placed the city’s tough streets in counterpoint to Jean’s delicate frame, this is what I think we'll be seeing more of in the drama.

A great photo of Shrimpton and Bailey taken in 2006.
P.S. If you want a super holiday in the UK, I would highly recommend Jean Shrimpton's beautiful Abbey Hotel in Cornwall.


  1. Cannot wait to see this! I hope Karen Gillan doesn't disappoint!

  2. Hmm yes, fingers crossed! She looks pretty good though doesn't she?x


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