there's something about jean
jean shrimpton's autobiography is one of our new favorite reads
November 28, 2012Column: deliberate polish
60s supermodel and all-round lovely dresser jean shrimpton needs no introduction; we've had a style crush on her for years. but her autobiography, which was written and published quietly by ebury press in the uk back in 1990, might. it's no longer in print. we were fortunate to stumble upon it while browsing for thanksgiving weekend reads in the village, and highly recommend tracking one down for yourself online.
the book covers her famous adventures shooting with the likes of david bailey and richard avedon, dating terence stamp amongst many other leading men of the time, and traveling the world for shoots with the likes of vogue, harper's bazaar, vanity fair, and glamour. a mini album of photos from the era captures the glamour of the time that we know and love. but hearing it from her perspective — as a young ingenue from rural buckinghamshire — really captures how limitless the possibilities were in swinging 60s london, even when you weren't looking for it. that's only the first half of the book. equally fascinating is what happens after she quit fashion once and for all in her 30s, moved to cornwall, married her husband michael and purchased a small inn, which she still runs today.
her enviably low-key polish throughout is where a large part of the beauty of this story lies: to paraphrase another leading lady we love, we get to see that jean was just a girl standing in front of a camera, the world telling her they loved her. and we find her all the more inspiring for it.