When British fashion sensation Leslie Hornby – known to the world by her nickname, Twiggy – made her first visit to the United States in late April 1967, she dropped in on two American cities: New York, and Minneapolis. (Five-foot-six Twiggy weighed all of 89 pounds).
Yes, Minneapolis, thanks to Dayton’s. The trend-savvy department store was one of the first in the country to import London’s Mod look, and sales were brisk.
Twiggymania was evident in a pre-visit story on April 12. Minneapolis Tribune staff writer Marg Storhoff followed four local girls as Dayton’s beauty salon performed Twiggy-inspired hair-and-makeup transformations. It reads:
The hair, styled by Erik of Norway, was tapered and cut wet with a razor. The hair is quite long in the front so it can be swept behind the ears and is very short in back. Erik set the hair on two beer cans and then combed the rest into shape.
“It’s terrific for summer,” said Erik. “Short hair looks so fresh. It’s important for girls to try to change their looks. Long, straggly hair is out.”
The makeup focuses on the eyes with the most important feature being the ‘twigs.’ The twigs, an original Twiggy idea, are eyelashes drawn under the eye with eye liner. ‘Twiggy-izing’ makeup is accenting the crease about the eye with brown blush-on shadow and powdered eyeliner, explained Susan Wilson, who applied the makeup.
White, brush-on highlighter is used from lashes to brows. A thin line of black liner is applied close to the lashes and then several pairs of false eyelashes (‘three or four pairs’ according to Miss Wilson) are attached.
The makeup base is a neutral shade and the powder is a brush-on translucent type.
‘The whole look takes a young face,’ said Miss Wilson, ‘and it takes practice to do it right. It looks ridiculous if the makeup is applied incorrectly.’
The Twiggy-like girls will model Twiggy clothes at Dayton’s when the real Twiggy is in Minneapolis on April 22 [the show is pictured, above].
Flash-forward to coverage after the April 22nd event. From a Minneapolis Star story by Marilyn Hoegemeyer on April 23, 1967, we learned the following:
Twiggy appeared before a crowd of 1,500 adoring fans – mostly teenage girls -- in the 8th-floor auditorium at Dayton’s in downtown Minneapolis (pictured, above), at a fashion show with live music by the local band The Hot Half Dozen. (“There weren’t many men in the audience, a few employees from Dayton’s and some policemen who looked as if they had to be there,” reported Hoegemeyer.) Other revelations: Twiggy required about an hour to get her makeup applied to her satisfaction.
She responded to written questions, collected from the audience. For example: What do you like best about your job: “The money.”
Do you like being popular: “Yes.”
What do you eat: "Anything" and "everything."
Who’s your favorite American actress: “God, I can’t think of anybody. Pass that.”
What she likes least about her job: The long hours. “They’re tiring and I get hungry and then in the winter when you must model bathing costumes in the park. . .” she said, "in her broad cockney accent," noted Hoegemeyer. "She’s been modeling since for a year, wearing makeup since she was 15. She gets her hair cut every three weeks, 'or it gets a bit tatty.' She wore only one pair of false eyelashes yesterday. Sometimes she wears as many as five."
Her manager, Justin de Villenueve [pictured, above, with Twiggy], appeared in a brown suit, a bright orange shirt and matching pocket hankerchief. “He used to tease me – call me ‘Stick.’ Twiggy just stuck,” she said, holding Justin’s hand.
A few days later, Minneapolis Star staff writer Kristin Serum found a different angle to the Twiggy tale. The headline? Girls Bluff Way In To Talk With Twiggy. Here’s the tale:
Three local teen-agers, flashing red cards that said “Press,” bluffed their way into a carefully restricted press conference for Twiggy Friday.
Cheryl Halverson, 18, Kathy Frommer, 17, and Carol Croonquist, 17, editors of Bloomington Lincoln High School “Mah-Que,” breezed right in, through a mob of screaming teen-agers, along with reporters from Life, the Milwaukee Journal and the local media.
The Cockney mini-model’s visit to the Twin Cities is her only scheduled appearance outside of New York, and yesterday’s press conference at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport was the only opportunity for the press to meet Twiggy.
The three girls said their only real problem was finding the press room at the airport.
At one point, a representative from Dayton’s, sponsoring Twiggy’s appearance here, asked the girls who had authorized their presence.
They answered “Dayton’s” and the reply was accepted.
[For the image above, Minneapolis Star photographer William Seaman wrote, "Unidentified Girl in Crowd Glimpsed Twiggy. Some teen-agers screamed, some wept. Twiggy, the Cockney model with the walking-stick figure, caused a kaleidoscope of reactions at the Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport Friday. About 300 preteens staged a closely supervised mass hysteria. Girls sobbed, stampeded and waved signs behind a tight ring of policemen aided by Twiggy's bodyguard, 'The Monk.'"].
Their reactions to the press conference and to Twiggy were mixed.
Kathy thought Twiggy was bored, “probably because people ask her the same old questions all the time. It seemed as if she’d been drilled in what to say.”
Carol objected to public relations people from Dayton’s monopolizing the press conference. “Press conferences aren’t very organized and the people are too rude,” she said.
Cheryl, who later commented that Twiggy’s legs “look like spaghetti,” asked Twiggy how she keeps so thin.
Twiggy said it’s easy. She said she had already eaten two lunches yesterday, one at the New York airport and the other on the plane. “Oi don’t like planes though, Twiggy said.
Carol said Twiggy was “cute from the front, but not from the back.” She said she might wear some Twiggy clothes, but didn’t like the turquoise cotton velour mini-jumpsuit with matching tights that Twiggy was wearing at the press conference.
Cheryl said Twiggy’s “face is pretty, but her body doesn’t go with her face, and her false eyelashes are so heavy it’s no wonder she looked tired.”
Kathy thought the hysteria of the crowed that greeted Twiggy was “ridiculous. People are so stupid to idolize an ordinary, everyday teenager just like us. If I were her, I’d wonder how people can be so taken in.”
Twiggy called her reception in Minneapolis “fantastic. Oi’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.
She said fans in the United States send her “lots of stuffed animals” but “no marriage proposals so far.”
Justin de Villeneuve, Twiggy’s boyfriend and manager, warded off a question about Twiggy’s sex life. “Ask more sensible questions or we’re wasting our time,” he said.
He also refused to answer questions concerning the amount of money the pair has collected in the United States. “Ask my lawyer,” he said. The lawyer is in London.
The three girls squeezed through the crowd of reporters and cameras to collect Twiggy’s autograph, a squiggly signature followed by several “xxx’s.”
Twiggy told them she thinks American girls dress very well, “very much like London, really.”