Striking a Pose: The Enchanting Tale of Barbara Goalen, Britain’s First Supermodel

In the glamorous world of fashion, where names come and go like the seasons, few have stood the test of time. One such name is Barbara Goalen, a woman who not only redefined beauty standards but also paved the way for future models.

Barbara Goalen, born in 1921, possessed a striking beauty characterized by her dark hair, pale skin, and a statuesque height of 5’8″. However, her physical features were not the sole reasons for her exceptional presence. She emanated grace, poise, and an enigmatic charm that captivated all who encountered her. Barbara exuded an aura of elegance that mesmerized observers.

Barbara’s venture into the realm of fashion followed an unconventional path. Prior to her modeling career, she fulfilled the roles of a debutante, wife, and mother of two. Only after her marriage ended in divorce did she step onto the runway, a bold move for a woman in the 1940s.

Barbara’s entry into the modelling world came at a time when Britain was recovering from the scars of World War II. The country was in desperate need of hope and beauty, and Barbara provided just that. With her stunning looks and sophisticated style, she quickly became the face of British fashion.

She worked with some of the most esteemed fashion houses of the time, including Dior, Balenciaga, and Givenchy. Her uniquely British elegance and her iconic hourglass figure made her the perfect muse for the New Look style that was sweeping the fashion scene.

What set Barbara apart was not just her beauty, but also her professionalism. She was known for her punctuality, her dedication, and her determination to get the perfect shot. She wasn’t merely posing in front of the camera; she was telling a story, bringing the designer’s vision to life. This professionalism, coupled with her charm and grace, made her one of the most sought-after models of her time.

Barbara Goalen’s career in fashion was relatively short-lived. She retired from modelling in 1954, choosing to focus on her family. However, her impact on the industry was profound and lasting. She paved the way for future British supermodels and showed the world that beauty and elegance could be found in post-war Britain.

Below are some photos that offer a glimpse into the glamorous world of Barbara Goalen as a model in the early 1950s. Immerse yourself in these captivating portraits and witness the timeless allure of a young Barbara Goalen.

#1 Barbara Goalen in a form-fitting side-wrapped dress designed by Susan Small, 1950.

#2 Barbara Goalen in a beautiful tulle evening gown with glittering sequined bodice by Susan Small, 1950.

#3 Barbara Goalen in black and white check shirtdress under an orange jacket fitted like a waistcoat in front and swinging loose behind by Robert Piguet, 1950.

#4 Barbara Goalen in black poult jacket, bloused, belted and high-collared, over mauve-and-white checked shirt and wine-red boater, by Victor Stiebel, 1950.

#5 Barbara Goalen in evening dress by Susan Small, 1950.

#6 Barbara Goalen in evening dress by Susan Small, 1950.

#7 Barbara Goalen in filmy white organdie dress with a low-backed bodice glittering with sequins and a tiered skirt dipping behind by Harald, 1950.

#8 Barbara Goalen in fitted navy blue wool suit with horseshoe neckline filled in with matching vest, skirt is made up of two petal-shaped pieces, by Christian Dior, 1950.

#9 Barbara Goalen in hand-knit dress in white spintex, beautifully pleated in rib-stitch with low back and two straps across by Angèle Delanghe, 1950.

#10 Barbara Goalen in lace dress and manteau by Balenciaga, 1950.

#11 Barbara Goalen in pale silvery faille dress with silver belt and black tulle petalled hat by Molyneux, 1950.

#12 Barbara Goalen in shirtdress of bright navy chiffon with the pleats stitched down by Christian Dior, 1950.

#13 Barbara Goalen in tailored Cavalry Twill suit with Persian lamb cravat by Deréta, 1950.

#14 Barbara Goalen in velvet dinner dress from Harvey Nichols, 1950.

#15 Barbara Goalen in white-sequined embroidered bodice with jet black accents and black faille skirt worn with black velvet hat and gloves, all from Debenham & Freebody, 1950.

#17 Barbara Goalen in ballerina-length dress in pale caramel tulle, over it a coat of deep coffee lace fastened with a turquoise satin sash by Harald after Dior, 1951.

#18 Barbara Goalen in black lace over pleated pink tulle dress by Susan Small, 1951.

#19 Barbara Goalen in crisp white piqué dress, the skirt with rows of insertions, the tiny bolero hooks unto the bodice converting it to a day-dress by Atrima, 1951.

#20 Barbara Goalen in elegant suit of black ottoman silk with a raised horizontal rib and a front-flaring basque on the long jacket by Lachasse, worn with silk spotted veil, 1951.

#21 Barbara Goalen in gorgeous evening gown by Herbert Sidon, 1951.

#22 Barbara Goalen in greatcoat of luxurious pile fabric 100% llama at Harvey Nichols, 1951.

#23 Barbara Goalen in sleek black satin sheath with floating train of tulle in back, the satin is embossed with velvet and ostrich by Mattli, 1951.

#24 Barbara Goalen is wearing a hat with a spray of white egret feathers by Rudolf, opera glasses by Asprey, 1951.

#26 Barbara Goalen in short black velvet jacket over faille dress with bell skirt by Marcus at Harvey Nichols, 1951.

#27 Barbara Goalen in 100% alpaca cloth coat with lynx collar at Harvey Nichols, 1952.

#28 Barbara Goalen in a greatcoat in a porridgy tweed, welted and cuffed, with gold buttons by Matita, handbag by Finnigan, 1952.

#29 Barbara Goalen in a Hardy Amies town dress, photo by John French for the Daily Express, London, 1952.

#30 Barbara Goalen in liquorice-colored ribbed bouclé coat with a collar and cross-over sash of black Persian lamb by Digby Morton, hat by Rudolf, 1952.

#31 Barbara Goalen in long-haired fleecy coat in alpaca and wool at Marcel, velvet cloche at R.M. Hats, pigskin case at Elizabeth Arden, 1952.

#32 Barbara Goalen in romantic evening dress in white organdie patterned with black and gold dandelions, the bodice fans out, offset by one red rose, from Worth’s Boutique, 1952.

#33 Barbara Goalen in stone-and-white herringbone, single-breasted coat by Aquascutum, 1952.

#34 Barbara Goalen in straight-laced nightdress in fine, white lawn, softened with tucks and frills of broderie Anglaise by Janet West, 1952.

#40 Barbara Goalen in a shaggy woollen suit with sleeveless sling cape by Sybil Connolly, photo by Milton Greene, 1953.

#41 Barbara Goalen in back-belted checked Donegal tweed coat by Sybil Connolly, photo by Milton Greene, 1953.

#42 Barbara Goalen in close-fitting jacket with the look of a bodice over a halter-neck dress by Dorville, 1953.

#43 Barbara Goalen in a magnificent duo of coat and dress in champagne and chartreuse green brocade by Roecliff & Chapman, 1953.

#44 Barbara Goalen in oatmeal wool jersey dress with a side-fastened line by Henry Gowns, 1953.

#45 Barbara Goalen in pale apricot fluid velours coat, sleeve sinset with triple stitching by Spectator Sports, felt hat by Lady Vassar, 1953.

#46 Barbara Goalen in pale turquoise grosgrain dress and jacket embroidered with braid by Roecliff & Chapman, 1953.

#47 Barbara Goalen in wool coat with beaver shawl collar by Sydney Cohen, fur hat by Otto Lucas, 1953.

#48 Barbara Goalen, fashion doyenne, chooses as her personal hairdresser, Martin Douglas and René at 30 Davies Street, W.1, 1955.

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Written by Rachel Mitchell

Rachel Mitchell is a vintage fashion enthusiast with a passion for all things retro. She is interested vintage fashion styles, trends, and accessories, and provides tips and tricks for incorporating vintage pieces into modern wardrobes.

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