Model – or rather ‘mannequin’ in the teminology of the day – Barbara Goalen was chosen by the Sunday Times Magazine as the personification of the style of 1952.
The issue marked changes in ‘Britain at Work’ over the 25 years since Queen Elizabeth’s coming to the throne in 1952 in an article titled ‘The New Elizabethans’ (30 January 1977).
In that year, Goalen had been part of a 40,000-mile world tour over four weeks to promote British fashions and exports.
Goalen was born on the first day of 1921 and died in 2002. She was renowned for her wasp waist and her aloof looks. Her measurements were 33 inches (for her ‘charlies’ in her own words), 18-in waist and 31-in hips; she tipped the scales at under eight stones.
Goalen’s modelling face was marked by arched eyebrows and she was the ideal mannequin for Dior’s New Look – ‘mink and diamonds’.
Despite her international success, she would be the leading super model in today’s terms, Goalen gave up modelling in 1954 when she married Nigel Campbell, a Lloyd’s underwriter. In the 1960s, she gave out fashion advice in the pages of the Daily Telegraph.
The National Portrait Gallery has four photographs of Goalen ranging from 1949 to 1952, by Norman Parkinson (one with Wenda Parkinson, Parks’ wife since 1947) and John French. A fourth image from Keystone Press shows Goalen next to a portrait of herself by James Proudfoot.
The cover of Illustrated here shows an image from the shoot chosen by the Sunday Times Magazine. (There is a certain irony here in that the advent of free Sunday supplements sparked by the Sunday Times, was a big factor in killing off the general interest weeklies such as Illustrated.) Illustrated headlines Goalen as modelling the ‘London Look’. Inside, two photographers are credited, Peter Waugh and David Olins. (Some websites have identified the photographer as Richard Avedon, but this seems unlikely.)
Illustrated rival Picture Post also featured Goalen cover on its cover in 1952, in this case with a photo by John French.