Barbara Goalen London, 1954

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Barbara Goalen in strapless evening dress

by John Cavanagh designer, Covent Garden Station, London, 1954


© John French


She had not intended to take up modelling, and was happily devoting herself to life as a housewife and mother when her first husband was killed in a plane crash. Finding herself a widow at 25, she decided to look for a job.”I didn’t have to work for money but I needed to for myself,” she later recalled. “I had to do something and friends suggested I tried modelling. I happened to be the right shape at the time. I was seven and a half stone and my measurements were: charlies 33, waist 18 – yes really – and hips 31.”After early appearances in the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, she was soon being dubbed “the most photographed model in Britain”, and her cool fragile beauty adorned thousands of magazine covers, newspapers and advertisements.Although her image was described as “the mink and diamonds look”, such was her elegance that when she modelled a 30-bob fisherman’s smock, pinched in with a wide patent leather belt, it looked as if it had been designed by Dior.Occasionally, however, she would turn down a job, especially if the garment lacked quality or, worse still, decency. In 1954 she was asked to model lingerie in a harem for the 300 wives of the King of Saudi Arabia. She refused, explaining “it simply isn’t done, you know”, then adding with a sigh, “but the underwear is really divine.” source Telegraph


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Barbara Goalen in strapless evening dress

by John Cavanagh designer, Covent Garden Station, London, 1954


© John French


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Jessica Stam

Vogue


© Corrine Day