Friday, 13 June 2014

Vintage Clothing: 1960s Vintage Designers and Styles

The 1960s are one of the favorite decades for vintage clothing fanciers, and no wonder. The Swinging Sixties were a turning point for so many facets of society, and it was all reflected in the fashions of the day. +Paul Phipps, an expert in vintage clothing of all kinds, refers to the ‘60s fashion as “bi-polar,” pointing out that the early 1960s were conservative, restrained and classic, before the psychedelic design aesthetic figuratively exploded with all the subtlety of a Peter Max poster. In fact, you can divide ‘60s vintage fashion into three distinct segments: the Jackie Kennedy suburban look of the early 1960s; the Mod look of the mid-60s; and the anything-goes anti-designer ethic of the late 1960s. Today, retro designers tend to emulate the two earlier vintage fashion periods, but there’s a lot to be said for all three vintage style tropes.

Early 1960s Vintage Dresses and Suits

The early 60s were characterized by the matchy-matchy syndrome. Fashion designers took the “complete look” to its ultimate conclusion, creating entire ensembles that matched, from chapeau to shoe. It was the era of the perfectly coifed suburban housewife in her pillbox hat, boxy jacket and straight skirt, accessorized with matching gloves, shoes, belt and purse. The major exception was Hubert Givenchy, whose designs for #Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) introduced the little waif look that was to become so popular and exaggerated later in the decade.  The wide, swingy skirts and dirndl designs of 1950s dresses was passé – sophistication, as characterized by slim silhouettes, tweeds and leather were all the rage.

Mid-1960s Vintage Style Fashion

Of course, fashion could only stand that kind of restriction for a few years before revolution would necessarily break out. By 1964, the fashion industry insisted that women were demanding a return to the “feminine,” and designers were happy to provide it. The swingy skirts of fifties dresses were back, though they featured both less fabric and less swing. As hemlines climbed to the knee and above, textured stockings became more and more popular. And in an effort to give femininity a real workout, Coco Chanel brought back the hair bow and the perfect outfit topper.

The fashion pendulum swung back and forth several times between 1964 and 1968. The ruffles and lace of ’64 swung to the pared-down poor boy look of ’65. Balenciaga, he of the fabulous fifties dresses for formal occasions, created a ball gown with one bare shoulder which lit up runways like wildfire. It was in 1966, though, that the real fashion revolution happened as the London Mod designers took over the pages of the fashion magazines. Miniskirts, mod tights, Carnaby jackets and fishnet stockings all characterize ‘60s vintage fashion more than any other style of the long decade.

Late 1960s Vintage Clothing

In 1968, fashion icon Twiggy hit the scene and the world would never be the same. Mary Quant took the Holly Golightly look, shortened it, brightened it and added hardware to turn the whole fashion world on its head. If London designers had declared a revolution against traditional fashion in ’65, though, consumers declared their independence of fashion designers as the decade came to a close. When it came to style, it was all about self-expression.  Men and women alike mixed and matched fabrics, patterns, colors and designers with abandon. They dug into Grandma’s attic and pulled out mom’s poodle skirts and 1950s dresses as inspiration, and created their own individual style.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! It really helps imagine how and why fashion styles came about the evolved. More please! :) Suzette


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