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The 1960s are known as a decade for breaking tradition. British influences in fashion were key to some of the most inspiring trends, from the invention of the mini skirt to the look of the young fashion icon, Twiggy, from graphic mod-inspired styles to psychedelic paisley prints. The 60s are without doubt one of the most significant eras of fashion. 

Fashion trends through the decade

Copying the Grown-Ups

The early 60s trends were very much a left-over look from the 1950s – conservative and classic in both style and design. There was very much a feel of ‘dressing like the grown-ups’ for younger people. American culture was still very much an influence. Jackie Kennedy-style tailored suits and pillbox hats were very much the order of the day and Capri pants and high waisted shift dresses as worn by Audrey Hepburn were also widely popular and women began to wear more trousers and jeans. The bikini was very much on the rise due to Ursula Andress emerging from the surf in the iconic white bikini in the 1962 Bond film, Dr No. Jean Shrimpton was the first model to emerge with a different look, her slender figure and long legs, giving her the nickname ‘The Shrimp’ breaking the mould of the previously popular voluptuous figure.

Key Looks: Box jacket suits, shift dresses, pillbox hats, stiletoes, capri pants, gloves, pearls, swing coats.

Mods, Minis and The Twig

Youth fashion became big business by the early mid-60s with young people earnings at their highest since the end of the Second World War. Coupled with the start of a British explosion in music with The Beatles, The Who and The Small Faces, the Mod (or Modernists) look began to form. Men’s fashion became more expressive for the first time. Brighter colours began to emerge and hemlines began to rise with as Mary Quant, queen of the geometric print, popularised the miniskirt in 1963. New boutiques began to open and a new face emerged on the fashion scene. A young 16-year-old from Neasden in London called Lesley Hornby, better know as Twiggy (or The Twig) became the icon of the ‘swinging sixities’. She epitomised the look of the day with her cropped hair and big blue eyes, androgynous body shape and long legs.

Key Looks: Collarless jackets, miniskirts, geometric prints, culottes, plastic jewellery, go-go boots, coloured and textured tights, plastic macs, Peter Pan collars.

From Leather to Love-ins

The girl everyone wanted to be in the mid-late 60s was Emma Peel, fictional spy from The Avengers, played by Doncaster-born, Diana Rigg. She was one of the first female action heroes of the 60s and the emerging feminist movement in her leather catsuit. By the late 60s, hair had become longer for men and women, fashion became more flamboyant and unisex. Eastern culture influenced the look of many of the fashion trends, with paisley pattern fabrics, Afghan coats, kaftans and leather sandals. The California hippy movement preached free love and peace for all and asked everyone to ‘turn on, tune in and drop out’.

Key Looks:Flared trousers, Afghan coats, kaftans, capes, ruffled shirts, paisley patterns, velvet, faded denim.

Style Icons

Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Brigette Bardot, Jean Shrimpton, The Beatles, Mary Quant, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, Edie Sedgwick, Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful, Anita Pallenberg, Mia Farrow, Cher, Patti Boyd, Jane Fonda, Jim Morrison, Nancy Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Diana Rigg, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn.

Designers

Mary Quant, John Stephen, Terence Conran, Biba (Barbara Hulanicki), Givenchy, Emilio Pucci, Jean Muir, Paco Rabanne, Oscar de la Renta, Celia Birtwell, Ossie Clark, Pierre Cardin, Zandra Rhodes.

2018: 60s-inspired Trends

A-line minishirts, zig-zag and geometric prints, crayon colours, shift dresses, checks, mini dresses, pastel colours, florals, stripes, polka dots.

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Ledgard Jepson design & development

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