The swinging sixties as it has become known carried on where the ’50’s had left off. Continued increases in disposable income were fuelling customer demand and the younger generation were increasingly taking the lead in fashion styles.
Previous decades had seen a core fashion style with minor side trends spawning from it. But the sixties brought complete new styles vying with each other at the same time. The speed of changes in style also accelerated markedly. Traditional cardigans continued but were ‘brought up to date’ with the addition of a beret and a large collar to distinguish it from ‘what mother used to wear’. Skinny ribbed sweaters became fashionable in a drive to break up bland lines and patterns. Some styles such as the sack dress continued into the sixties. The twist, a dance craze launched into mainstream culture in 1959 by Hank Ballard brought with it a flowing skirt that saw kick pleats front and back which were inverted pleats allowing freer movement of the knee.
Again celebrities were pioneering fashion but now it was Jackie Kennedy, first lady of the US and not a film star who drove fashion, particularly through her pink suits and trademark pillbox hat. But alongside the haute couture designs the liberated woman was using the bikini popularised in the film The Beach Party, and by 1965, Mary Quant’s mini skirt, to make a social statement as much as a fashion statement. Though the recognition of the ‘mini’ was slow to gather pace, by the second half of the decade it’s popularity had come to define the period.
By the middle of the decade the centre of fashion culture had moved to London, particularly Carnaby Street and Chelsea’s Kings Road. As skirts grew shorter colours grew louder. Coupled with geometric designs the bright colours had a geometric effect and were christened as a Mondrian dress byYves Saint Laurent in 1965. Also during this time PVC skirts were becoming popular as younger people strove to show independence of though from ‘big brother’. Music was now driving fashion and models such as Twiggy were becoming as well known as the Beatles or Rolling Stones.
As the decade moved into the second half this musical influence again shifted fashion designs as the hippy movement grew. Strong colours continued turning designs into a kaleidoscope effect the antithesis to the counter culture of bell bottomed jeans and cheesecloth shirts.
As the decade drew to a close there was plenty of colourful fashion designs to hand onto the 1970’s , a decade again that developed it’s own inimitable style.