Willy van Rooy

One great model of the Sixties and Seventies  is Willy van Rooy.  She was a muse to Yve St. Laurent and David Bailey.  Newton loved her  sultry Dietrich mystery.  She inspired many classic photo shoots which have been preserved by miniMadMOD60s, with the cooperation of Ms. van Rooy.


Willy is a wonderful jewelry and clothing designer and a gifted story teller. Her fascinating blog can be seen here. Well worth a look, if you like model and fashion history and a glimpse into the artistic and modeling world of  late Sixties and Early Seventies.

Click the link to NY TIMES to read more and see more pictures

Willy’s Story in NY TIMES

Photo Montage by Angora Sox

MMM60s: First of all, we would like to thank you for sharing your photographs and stories with us. It is not often one gets such an intimate glimpse into that vivid and wildly romantic era. We understand that because of your visibility on MMM60s, you were recently contacted by Italian Vogue to participate in a photo shoot.

Willy: Yes I got an email to ask if I would be available and interested to do a shoot for Italian Vogue the 9th and 10th of June. The photographer would be Steven Meisel. I was a bit nervous and nothing was for sure but I answered that I would be thrilled. I kept my fingers crossed. I have learned to not make myself any illusions and I figured I would probably be an extra and appear in some picture in the background… Still, I was excited about it and just to work with Meisel is already a trip.

I am only 5.7″ and I do know now my measurements because I had to give them to Vogue, 35- 27-36. Not as thin as I used to be, but carry the same weight always, somewhere between 116 and 122 pounds.  They asked me for some recent snapshots.

Self Portrait

MMM60s: We saw the test shots, they are really good. You look amazing! Who took the pictures?

Willy: I took them myself. You know I don’t know why they came out so good, I was really surprised. Make up makes a lot of difference. I really did only 12 pictures around the house. You know when you do it yourself, you click the button but than have to run to your place and strike the pose and you have no idea what it looks like. That’s why I was surprised they came out so well, no Photoshopping, only the levels to make them nice and light.

MMM60s: I’ll say. You look incredible. Are you thinking of getting back into modeling?

Willy: I think if something is bound to happen it will. Of course I do all my best to keep my mind lucid and free so things can happen. Anyway it is very important to know what one really wants but once you know the doors will open by magic. You know that just a few days before I got the email I was talking with my friend, Rory Flynn, who was a model too in the 60’s and 70’s, and now is a head shot photographer, that we both should go back to modeling and that we could have fun making a whole day of pictures of each other and then find an agent (still with the illusion that they are really waiting for us).

Willy in Paris 1975 in an outfit for Pierre Dalby. Designed by WILLY VAN ROOY

And then out of the blue comes that email and I was working for Italian Vogue! It is a sort of miracle. Of course, I realize that it would be totally impossible for me to be a commercial model unless I would really be allowed to look like a grandmother, no glamour or beauty, and only with the very best people. Then it becomes interesting because you know they wanted you because they saw something that inspired them.

Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia

MMM60s: So how was the booking? How was it working with a fabulous photographer again?

Willy: To work with Steven was a great pleasure. You know you are going to look great because you know he wants to make a good picture and you also know he can. Everybody was very kind and what a setup! There were at least 60 people and tents and dressing-room-cars and toilets and an incredible catering and many people walking around doing something.

The make up was by Pat Mc Grath and her artists, and Jeffrey did mine. He was very funny! All the hair was by Guido and his equipe and several young stylists supervised by KARL TEMPLER the Vogue editor, I know he is one of the fans of your site. All this was done in a big cemetery and of course all the clothes were black. Beautiful clothes, D&G, Chanel, Dior, YSL etc.

Autographed picture from YSL to Willy van Roy

MMM60s: Wow, just like the kind of clothes you modeled in the Sixties and Seventies. Were there any other models?

Willy: Linda Evangelista was there and she is very beautiful and very kind. There were three other girls, one by the name of Karen and she is soooo beautiful, too. Wow! And two very young lovely models named Iris and Guinevere as well as three handsome male models. All together, on the first day, I did five pictures, two group shots and three by myself.! I think it went well and it was a very nice day.

They even came to pick me up in a beautiful car with chauffeur who opens the door for you and in between shoots they immediately came running with a chair and a bottle of water and you see the pictures straight away ( I never dare to look at mine) they have enormous computerized machines, enfin unbelievable! .

MMM60s: Did you work a second day?

Willy: I did work the second day too and all together I was in nine pictures ,of which three of them were solo. It was fun to work with Linda, she is very kind and at a point even said to me that she it was an honor to work with me! What do you know!?

Some of the models are interested in seeing my jewelry which is great. Now I realize, though, that it is not that easy to start modeling again, for me at least. Of course to work with Steven Meisel or another very good photographer is OK.  They can make you look good, especially for magazines like Vogue and so on, which is fun but does not bring home the bacon and I am afraid I am not commercial at all. The clothes fit me perfect though, really amazing and the stylist even said they looked so elegant on me, that’s why I thought of maybe returning to the catwalk, but the heels…….We will see…

MMM60s: We think you are being too modest, Willy. You have not lost a thing. . Once again, thanks for all your very interesting input. You really brighten up the site.

Willy: My working for Vogue again is all because of MMM60s. They never would have found me if not for this site. Many people on the set there read your website and some knew all about it and follow my story and told me it was fascinating, so funny! Thank you, Linda.