It was the unlikeliest of meetings: a 1960s fashion icon being offered help by a Fraserburgh loon after her car got stuck in the snow.
But that chance encounter marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Twiggy and Bill Gibb, the Scottish fashion designer who became one of the biggest names in the industry after an unlikely career path took him from the Broch to the bespoke boutiques of London.
The story has emerged through the efforts of playwright and author Mike Gibb, who is working on a new book about under-appreciated and forgotten figures from the north-east.
He highlights the extraordinary life and times of William Elphinstone Gibb, the eldest of seven children who was born in New Pitsligo in 1943 and stamped his mark all over fashion and design.
The youngster, who studied at Fraserburgh Academy, was given a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art in London, but left before completing his degree course to start his own business and blaze his own trail.
And it culminated in a scene, straight from a Richard Curtis movie, between two of the most totemic and inspirational figures of the Swinging Sixties.
Twiggy, who is known more formally as Dame Lesley Lawson DBE, enjoyed a successful career as a model and a screen, stage and television actress.
Her role in Ken Russell’s The Boy Friend in 1971 brought her two Golden Globe awards and, by that stage, she had already formed a high opinion of Bill.
Yet she has revealed how they linked up in improbable circumstances.
She said: “Bill Gibb was my friend and I loved him. He was also one of the great fashion designers of the 20th Century.
“We met by chance one very snowy day in London in the late 1960s. I came down from my flat, which was in Notting Hill, one morning to find my car, a Mini, completely snowed in.
“I didn’t know how I was going to get it out of the snowdrift, when this man came towards me and said, in a lovely, soft Scottish accent: ‘Can I help?’
“He then proceeded to dig my car out of the snow. It turned out that he lived a few doors along the road so he invited me in for a hot cup of tea.
“My knight in shining armour was Bill. I loved him immediately and we became close friends from that day on.
“He also made me some of the most beautiful clothes. He was so talented, and his designs were gorgeous and very romantic.
“I think there are still a couple of the outfits he made for me in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
“When I did a series of concerts in the 1970s, finishing at the Royal Albert Hall, he made me the most beautiful costumes, which I still have.
“We lost this sweet, gentle, talented man far too soon (Bill died of bowel cancer in 1988, aged just 44), and I will always miss him.”
Mike Gibb has admitted that he didn’t expect to receive such a positive response from Twiggy when he started researching his latest work, which follows on from last year’s acclaimed Forgotten Heroines of the North-East.
But he has also gained assistance and encouragement, not just from the former model, but members of the late Mr Gibb’s family and friends.
He said: “This new book focuses on seven men, four of whom emanated from the Fraserburgh area.
“One of these was the eminent fashion designer Bill Gibb and, in this regard, I have been fortunate in enjoying terrific help and support from people in the Broch, including Bill’s sister, Patsy Davidson, and the staff at the Fraserburgh Heritage Centre, which boasts a display of his work.
“(Former Fraserburgh Academy pupil) Isobel Gregory also sent photos of her and Bill from during their school days.”
He added: “During my research, I discovered just how important Twiggy had been in helping to get the fledgling designer established and how close the two of them subsequently became.
“Therefore, because I have never been lacking in brass neck, I decided to approach the lady, now Dame Twiggy Lawson, for a quote.
“She graciously responded and provided me with a unique insight into how they met and it will be in the book, which will be published in the autumn, with all proceeds going to the Bianca animal shelter in Sesimbra in Portugal.”
In addition to Bill Gibb, the new book will feature three other men from the Fraserburgh district: international industrialist Thomas Blake Glover, pioneering physician Hugh Mercer, and Reverend James Ramsay, who was one of the most dedicated campaigners in the abolition of the slave trade.
This quartet will be joined by renowned composer James Scott Skinner, Sunset Song author Lewis Grassic Gibbon and Lord Provost Alexander Nicol, the founder of the VSA charity, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary.