Tag Archive | Jean Shrimpton


Abbey Road 45 years later

Abbey Road 45 years later

Something about seeing that Pattie Boyd turned 70 yesterday made me feel – not old, not nostalgic, not sad – grateful? Happy to have lived when I have?

Pattie Boyd, my childhood idol and living Francie doll.

Pattie Boyd, my childhood idol and living Francie doll.

Can’t quite put my finger on what that something is, so I’ll blog it out. She’s the girl about whom George Harrison wrote, “Something in the way she moves attracts me like no other lover …,” from Abbey Road (across which we walked on our recent trip to London). She’s the same girl about whom Eric Clapton wrote the tortured “Layla” and the adoring “Wonderful Tonight.”

She’s the girl on whose every (ghost)written word I hung as a 9-11 year old when she had a beauty and advice column in 16 magazine. Her hair and makeup tips were memorized by yours truly, amusing considering I couldn’t touch cosmetics until I turned 13.

She married a Beatle, for heaven’s sake.

Jean Shrimpton was my favorite model in those days, for sheer beauty, glamour and – just look at her.

Her highness of beauty, Jean Shrimpton

Her highness of beauty, Jean Shrimpton

But Pattie was a regular girl, accessible, with an attainable look and darling clothes. (Or so she seemed, despite marrying George, then marrying Eric and having those songs written about her.) She transcended glamour.

As frivolous as it might seem, I’m glad I was affected by her.


A few people have asked me to write about our trip, but that’s not something I really feel like doing at the moment, other than to mention the books I read on our trip – and one inspired by our trip that I ordered the last night we were in Paris.

I told myself I could not take Michael Chabon’s Kavalier & Clay with me – it weighs too much and I’d waited all these years to read it and another week wouldn’t hurt me. Kav&Clay

I was about halfway through and could finish it when I got back, I told myself repeatedly – and I already had a beat-up used copy of Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl packed – I’d been saving it for the trip since Julia told me I must read it immediately.

But the day came to leave and I couldn’t leave my comic-book-creating boys behind. I stayed up late nights on our trip to finish the tale Chabon wove so well. I won’t give anything away, but if you like World War II history, comic books or just excellent writing in any form, read it.

CalamityPhysicsBookCoverBut I didn’t let myself start Calamity Physics until our very long return-travel day – made do with magazines after the heartbreak of finishing K&C. I almost finished CP in that one day – what a great, weird book it is. After we got home and real-life ensued, it took me a few days to finish the little bit I had left.

Can’t tell you anything, really, except you’ll never read anything else quite like it. Pessl blew me away with her first novel. The first-person narration, by a college-age girl, is accompanied by self-annotation, a fascinating device and not distracting at all from the top-notch mystery that the book really is.

Just as I finished it, the book I ordered from our hotel room in Montmartre arrived. (Stayed up late the last night of our trip to find a good used copy of a 2013 book, which took some digging. I feed my addiction with used books when possible; my iPad is loaded with classics, travel books and books for work, but turning pages is part of the experience for me.)

thepaintedgirlsI’d read about The Painted Girls, by Cathy Marie Buchanan, a while back and thought I’d probably read it when it came out in paperback. But after seeing Little Dancer, Aged 14 at the Musée D’Orsay, then talking to a very nice lady from Port Arthur, Texas, at lunch at the D’Orsay (she and her husband, a retired firefighter, were at the table next to us and accents required chatting), I revised that to “I’ll read it now.”

She brought it up and said she was back at the D’Orsay to visit the statuette after reading the historical novel, based on ballet dancers near Montmartre, including Marie van Goethem, who modeled regularly for Edgar Degas and was captured in Little Dancer and many paintings.


Degas’ “Little Dancer, Aged 14”

The book is good, not life-changingly great, but solidly good and very interesting historically. Buchanan craftily weaves two true stories into one –and it was cool reading about events on the streets we’d walked and hills we’d climbed. I’m very glad I read it.

Montmartre and Sacré Coeur from one of the clock windows at the Museé D-Orsay – the setting for much of

Montmartre and Sacré Coeur from one of the clock windows at the Musée D-Orsay – the setting for much of “The Painted Girls” and where we stayed our three nights in Paris. (Taken with an iPhone, I might add, which did better than our Canon aim-and-shoot.)

their_eyes_frontBut now I’m reading Their Eyes Were Watching God. Once I got used to the dialect, I find it hard to put down. I started it to fill a gap in my English-degree reading. Thank heavens I did!


One last something to write about, in the photo department – and some things I noticed: My passport is expiring, so I had to go get a new picture made. Things I noticed: I often have the non-drunk drunk eyes Daddy had in many photos, and they show up well here. Ten years age you a lot. Passport photos have gone up quite a bit – 10 years ago, I think it was about $10. Yesterday it was $16+ with tax.

And check out the hair – mainly the bangs. Sixties’ influence much? Some things never change.

Pattie Boyd, Jean Shrimpton, I feel your bangs.

Pattie Boyd, Jean Shrimpton, I feel your bangs.

I’m a believer

In the seventh grade, I was still being forced (much against my will) to go to Ridgeroad Junior High makeup free. It was mortifying. All the cool girls at least got to wear their prescription liquid base from the dermatologist. Since I had maybe one pimple a month, I wasn’t even allowed that treasure, no matter how much I begged.

In between classes, it was a status symbol to pull out your prescription bottle of chalky liquid and apply liberally, all the while talking about what the doctor said during your last appointment. Alas, all I could do was glance in the mirror – and possibly use the restroom, if you get my drift. I was a blemish-free ’script wannabe.

Yardley keychain lipstick

But things began to change after Mother slipped an ever-so-cool Yardley of London three-lipstick set in my Christmas stocking. She was a pretty cool mom – totally straight moms didn’t give their daughters frosted white, frosted orange and frosted olive green lipstick. But mine did.

After that, it was Katie-bar-the-door, for a while, anyway. I mean, you can’t wear lipstick without mascara, right? And mascara is just a skip away from eyeliner, which leads to eyeshadow.

By eighth grade, I was in eye-makeup heaven. (But not base. Mother never gave in on that, and she must have known what she was doing, because I made it through high school with my one prominent zit a month.) Still don’t wear base to this day.

Pattie Boyd guided me through the prepubescent years, fashionwise, but in junior high, it was British supermodelJean Shrimpton all the way. She was glorious. She was beautiful. She was hip. She was a Yardley girl.

Pam and I began experimenting with makeup. Yardley of London was our main brand, and the summer between seventh and eighth or eighth and ninth grade – I just can’t remember after all these years – we did it all. Tiny flower-covered eyelids, little fake bottom lashes, a single heart below one eye. The coolest was covering our eyelids from lash to brow with black-and-white checks. And the coolest-coolest thing was the effect we didn’t anticipate – with eyes open, the checkerboard made a groovy optical illusion.

Very Peter Max.  I used Peter Max notebooks, by the way. Groovy.

Rosie Vela

(Side note: My 10th-grade Spanish teacher’s daughter Rosie Vela became a Revlon model and lived with Peter Max for a while. I met her at her mom’s second wedding, to which I was invited. The bride wore a micro-mini. Dig it.)

Pot o' Glimmerick

I spent a year wearing black liquid eyeliner, topped by white Glimmerick eyeliner, topped by olive green eyeliner to match my eyes. Yes, I was a triple threat.

Shortly after that, I was over it. Makeup takes too much time. By junior year, it was just black mascara (Revlon metal-wand only) and ‘30s-style plucked eyebrows.

(Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert

The incredible Garbo

ring a bell? Greta [I vant to be alone] Garbo? Their eyebrows had nothing on mine.)

I remain a makeup minimalist, and my eyebrows tend to fend for themselves these days. (Can’t see up-close well enough to do too much about them anyway, but after extreme plucking for years, they just get occasional strays anyway.)

But I do miss the merry mod days of old. I’m still a believer.