The swinging 60's: trends and fashion styles

The 60's was a decade of radical change, especially for fashion, music and the way young people could express themselves. It was a time when the shape and structure of clothes was transformed and when boutiques started to open their doors to a wider public, rather than the usual elite.

Britain was at the core of this transformation, which later spread across Europe, thanks to the influence of 60's pop music, swinging London and fashion designers, such as Mary Quant, who in 1964 launches the most revolutionary piece of garment, the miniskirt. Even models assumed a different role, they're not just mannequins, they become icons with stunning looks and great personalities, an inspiration for thousands of girls.

The shape of the female body changes as well, no more curves, the new dresses are designed for an ideal skinny frame, like models Verushka and Twiggy, who's child-like body, big blue eyes and pixie haircut, became the symbol of a whole new generation. Women starts wearing pale foundation and emphasising the eyes with mascara and false lashes. Hair was usually back-combed and big, but new edgy haircuts were also invented, like the iconic wedge, from hair stylist Vidal Sassoon.

The 60's saw new discoveries, modern materials like plastic was now widely used, and designers started to experiment not just with forms, but also with new fabrics, the new clothes were made of acrylics, polyesters and PVC, new textures were created, such as shiny, wet look, see-through and no-crease. For the first time high-street stores stole the lime-light from hot couture designers, and boutiques like Biba and Quant's Bazaar provided the latest trends at affordable prices.

The clothes also adopted new bold colours, large prints and avant-garde graphics, such as geometric patterns, inspired by the latest technologies and the new sci-fi movies. The shift dress is an example, symbol of London's mid 60's swinging style, typically worn with stretch roll neck tops, colourful tights and patent shoes or boots.

The end of the 60's saw a new counter-culture that took over during the 70's, which promoted a non-materialistic way of living and thinking that also deeply influenced fashion. New ethnic, bohemian fabrics, Eastern shapes and flower prints were at the base of the hippy look, as it was flare trousers, maxi-skirts and second-hand clothing, which is now known as vintage.

United Kingdom - Excite Network Copyright ©1995 - 2022