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Twiggy reveals iconic 1960s pixie haircut was an accident

Former model says the hairstyle was 'the pivotal moment' in launching her career

Sarah Young
Monday 17 August 2020 15:20 BST

Twiggy, with her doll-like eyelashes and pixie-short locks, is recognised as one of the defining faces of the Swinging Sixties.

But it turns out that the model did not actually want the famous cropped hairstyle that made her famous – she was just too shy to say no.

During a recent episode of the podcast Table Manners with Jessie Ware, which is hosted by singer Jessie Ware and her mum Lennie, the former model told the story of how she received the now-iconic hairstyle.

In 1966, at the age of 16, Twiggy – real name Lesley Hornby – made an appointment at an upscale salon in Mayfair called the House of Leonard, asking for a simple shampoo and set.

However during her visit, the owner of the salon, Leonard Lewis, spotted the teenager and asked if he could give her his “new” haircut.

While Twiggy was unsure about the idea of parting with her long hair, she admitted that she was too shy to refuse.

“I was very into my hair and for a moment, I kind of went, 'Oh I don't know whether I want my hair cut',” Twiggy recalled.

“But I was so shy and I was in this very posh salon in Mayfair. So I was a bit too shy to say, 'I don't want it done.' And I kind of nodded.”

(Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The former model said she returned to the salon the next day where she spent seven hours having her hair cut and coloured into the pixie style we know her for today.

Despite being initially hesitant, Twiggy said she ended up loving the style and after completing the cut Lewis asked British photographer Barry Lategan to take Twiggy’s photograph, resulting in the now-iconic black and white portraits which launched her modelling career.

“Leonard put it up in the salon and a journalist saw it,” Twiggy explained. “That's how it all happened.

“When that haircut started, when that photograph was taken, that was the pivotal moment.”

During the podcast, Twiggy also discussed her famous painted-on lower lashes which she said she started doing at the age of 14 to go to a Mod club in Harrow on Saturday nights.

“I went to a grammar school so it was quite strict,” she explained.

“We wore uniforms and make-up was not allowed. So on the weekends, me and my friends would sit like most teenage girls and play with make-up. And that's how that make-up evolved.”

The supermodel also shared that before she was discovered she thought that models came from posh families and were at least five-foot eight, two inches taller than her five-foot six frame.

She also said the name Twiggy started after her boyfriend’s brother gave her the nickname to annoy her.

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