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They Took Manhattan and then Fashion: The Dynamic Duo of Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey

They were barely known in their home country of England and were nobodies in New York. But when photographer David Bailey and model Jean Shrimpton arrived in Manhattan on a cold January day in 1962, Vogue editor Diana Vreeland greeted them like long-awaited celebrities. “But they are adorable,” Vreeland cried. “England. Has. Arrived.” Bailey was still new to the fashion world and 18-year-old Shrimpton, a recent graduate of the Lucie Clayton Modelling School was, she remembers, “as green as a spring salad.” The pair had met less than a year earlier and worked well together on a shoot for Brides. A few months later they muscled their way into British Vogue, with Bailey agreeing to do the shoot only if the unknown Shrimpton was his model. The 14-page spread was a hit with readers, so the magazine took another risk and sent the pair to Manhattan, where a Youthquake culture was growing. “Young Idea Goes West,” the shots they took during their whirlwind week there, were published in the April 1, 1962 issue of British Vogue, and made the duo famous. They travelled with no hair or makeup artist, and were instructed to shoot mid-priced British fashions against the cityscape. Instead, Bailey and Shrimpton, armed with just a camera and an old teddy bear, prowled Manhattan’s grittier side, and morphed raw street photography with fashion and high art. The resulting images, which were published in David Bailey: NYJSDB62 (Steidl, 2007), became the stuff of legend.

Photos: All images by David Bailey, 1962, and published in NYJSDB62.

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