Published 1997 chapter 3 early 1960s
It wasn’t like any other shop I had ever seen. There were no rails, just clothes hanging off wooden hat stands and wicker baskets filled with T-shirts like vests with shoe-lace necks. There wasn’t even a proper changing room and not even that much choice. The clothes changed all the time… there were no women saying ‘can I help you madam?’ just young girls with long blonde hair wandering about tidying up the clothes that littered the floor and hanging them back on the hat stands….
The book contains a lot of lists of Twiggy’s famous friends – all lovely people that she adores – and of her triumphs on stage and screen. But sometimes her voice comes through more strongly, and it is usually over clothes or in one case make-up – after 30 years she can explain why she thought Yardley was not the right name for her to be linked with, and how exactly the colours of their Twiggy lines were different from what she was actually wearing. She also had a deal with chemical company Monsanto, who were making man-made fibres then but are now more famous for GM food, and this picture is part of a campaign for Klopman Mills, another fabric firm:
The book ends before she took up the role she is now known for in the UK: being the face of the retailing giant Marks & Spencer. No doubt there will be another slice of memoir later…
Biba was one of the game-changers of the 1960s until eventually they went out of business – it was very dark in the shop, and was widely believed to be a shop-lifter’s paradise. Everyone did love the clothes, and the top illo is from one of the mail order catalogues they produced in 1968/69 so that young girls in the provinces could aim to look like that too, or at least look at the pictures.