HOT LONDON 1960'S FASHION
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History of 1960s fashion
The 1960s was a decade of sweeping change throughout the fashion world generating ideas and images which still appear modern today. Whereas fashion had previously been aimed at a wealthy, mature elite, the tastes and preferences of young people now became important.
At the beginning of the decade, the market was dominated by Parisian designers of expensive haute couture garments. Yet the shape of clothes was soon transformed by new ideas emerging from the London pop scene.
In Britain, musical taste and styles of dress were closely linked and it was the mod look which first popularised the simple geometric shapes typical of the 1960s. Slim fitting, brightly coloured garments were sold cheaply in boutiques all over 'Swinging London' and had tremendous influence throughout Europe and the US.
Later in the decade the hippy look, which originated on the West Coast of America, crossed the Atlantic. This was a time when designers of dress and textiles experimented with colours, patterns and textures borrowed from non-Western cultures.
From the start of the 1960s, bands like the Beatles and the Stones, the Kinks and The Who revitalised British pop. Musicians often pioneered alternative ways of dressing, as can be seen from photographs of these bands as they began their careers attired in mod outfits, complete with straight-combed hairstyles. By the latter part of the decade most had swapped these for psychedelic gear, facial hair and a growing interest in music from other continents like India.
Important American musical contributions came from Bob Dylan and West Coast groups associated with the folk and hippy movements like the Mamas and the Papas, Peter, Paul and Mary and the Jefferson Airplane. The decade ended with the free festival 'Woodstock' held in a rural part of New York state and headlined by progressive rock musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead.
This was an era when those who wore and photographed clothing for a living could become famous overnight. Lesley Hornby, known as 'Twiggy', was a sensation at fifteen years of age when her large eyes, and rake-thin, under-developed figure were hailed as the most extreme version of the mod look.
David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton transformed the fashion pages of women's magazines as Bailey snapped Shrimpton in informal poses. Others who photographed top models included John French, Terence Donovan, Brian Duffy and Ron Traeger. They filled the pages of 'Vogue' and 'Elle' with images of Celia Hammond, Penelope Tree, Verushka and Marisa Berenson (the granddaughter of Elsa Schiaparelli). Ideals of beauty became more inclusive as black models like the Americans Donyale Luna and Naomi Sims starred in fashion shoots.