1960s fashion and its influence on the fashion world today
Updated: 3 days ago
The seventh decade of the twentieth century has brought creativity, beauty, and humanity to such an extent that it can be considered not only a turning point but also the achievement of the development of free-thinking and freedom of choice of people.
The sixties of the last century are called “the golden years” of the whole world for a reason. Namely, after two great wars, ending in the mid-1940s, the world kept recovering for decades. When the sixties finally came, those were the years when people could finally relax and start creating. That being said, many social and fashion changes became radical and visible. With the relaxation which was also ushered in by the end of the Great Depression one can see the need which arose for venting the creative energies, expression through artistic creations, and that became a much-welcomed storm which took over the fashion world.
In this article, Vivien Lauren will take a look back at 60s fashion while mostly dealing with the topic of trends popular in this decade that still exist and can be spotted on today’s fashion scene. Alongside that, we shall take a closer look, dive deeper into the influence Mary Quant, Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn had then and see if they have it today.
Jackie Kennedy, and Audrey Hepburn on the one hand wore numerous styles, imprinted in lots of media coverage, movies, news media, photos which has been a platform for even those not much acquainted with the technicalities of fashion itself, to admire and gravitate towards the recognition of these characters as muses of Fashion, Fashion icons whose style has stubbornly traversed across the decades, bridging across different centuries.
On the other hand, Mary Quant, well, she was an inventor, creator of timeless Fashion. Whilst almost every woman holds her creation in high regard, and has at least one in her closet, her name is not so commonly known.
Mary Quant – the discovery of a mini skirt
Many young ladies today do not know who Mary Quant is, but each of them, almost positively, has a piece of clothing Mary created in their closet. Mary brought the mini skirt to the fashion scene in the mid-sixties. With that being said, it’s inevitable to notice that the sixties liberated women in many things, so fashion became freer. The mini skirt was only the first piece of clothing of that sort that made its appearance but was then worn only by the bravest women. Today, a mini skirt is considered one of the essential pieces any woman should have in her closet. It brings those senses, of confidence, freedom, and with the myriad of the mini skirt’s varieties, a self-statement of one’s own fashion. A celebration of the true feminine strength.
"I designed the miniskirt that caused so much havoc in the Sixties – the miniskirt that was such fun but has travelled well to today." -Mary Quant
The Mary Quant model of the mini skirt became very quickly accepted and spread like an epidemic. In other words, you didn’t live in the sixties if you didn’t own one. The pop culture of the 60s influenced what people would wear and listen to in the future. Balloon dresses, long socks, handmade leather bags, and different elegant fashion designs are well-known characteristics of this decade. Mary herself was also one of those trend setters who helped usher in this pop culture.
Mary was inventive, independently opinionated and a savvy, commercially minded person. Mary Quant was arguably the most iconic fashion designer of the 1960s. A design and retail power head and pioneer, who also made popular the super-high hemlines and other irreverent looks that were critical to the development of the scene of the 'Swinging 60s'.
It is one commonly found characteristic though isn’t it amongst these trail blazers. They tend to be viewed as heavily independently opinionated, pushing hard against main stream thinking of the norm. That’s not just in the world of, nor of the swinging sixties Fashion. Coco, Gabriel Chanel who had her own part to play in creating irreverent looks, freeing women from the corsets and so on, was also viewed in the same light. Though her work went back to the 1920s where her epitome creations led to her timeless designs, trademark Chanel suits and the little black dress. All the while her real vision and emphasis was on making clothes that were more comfortable for women.
Chanel was not the only one, along similar paths also marched the likes of Prada, Yves Saint Laurent Dior, and more.
Mini retro evolution
So, the 1960s inevitably gave us many vibrant trends, the miniskirts and shorter hem-line dresses, A-line coats, leggings, and square-heeled boots. Each new season has come with some new apparel that defines the decade, but elegant women’s fashion is still stubbornly dictated by trends of the past, the 60s fashion playing a major role.
As you know, fashion is returning cyclically. The sixties are still a great inspiration. Designers, and worldwide boutiques, have already had many collections dedicated to this decade. Today, all of us are witnesses that the sixties fashion is having its comeback, being called “retro” fashion today.
Designers such as Jean-Paul Gautier, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Alberta Ferretti, and many others have found their inspiration in researching this decade.
So, why are so many brands inspired by retro looks? The answer is quite simple – retro patterns and styles are timeless, classic designs, not trends. Class, Elegance, will never go out of fashion, and we have fashion icons such as Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn to thank for that.
Jackie Kennedy and her influence today
Jackie Kennedy is remembered as a style icon. Her famous outfits with a blazer and the elegant pencil skirt are widely known as a recognizable “Jackie” look. Not to mention the little hat.
After the first trailer for the movie “Jackie” appeared in the media, her style has again become virally popular among younger generations. Not that one could blame it on the passing envy of the silver screen, not on this, no, Jackie’s style was pure class, classic elegance. That is what will never go out of fashion. What the movie simply did, was serve as a mere reminder of that! This biographical movie about one of the most famous first ladies in history brought back the 60s fashion and re-instated them at the fore front of today’s fashion.
Once again, we are able to see lots of young ladies wearing elegant fashion design dresses in the 60s style, polka dots, wide boots, and handmade leather and tote bags.
Elegant fashion design and lots of simple details were crucial for Jackie’s everyday looks and appearances in public. One of Jackie’s most famous quotes:
"One should always dress like a marble column"
tells us that Jackie wasn’t afraid to show off her boldness through her style.
Audrey’s style, that, we will always copy
Even though “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” premiered sixty years ago, Holly Golightly continues to be a world-style idol why?
Audrey Hepburn, the actress who wore the iconic outfit from the movie, a sleek black dress, is still an inspiration to women around the world. Her innate timeless elegance and sophistication, both external and internal, is something many of us strive toward.
You see, Style is not only on the outward dress, the elegance begins with the natural decorum of inner grace, or it makes one appear to have it.
The pieces of clothing Audrey often wore became the things without which, any trendy outfit cannot be put together.
Gentle and classic beauty, a feminine posture adorned the legendary Audrey. Her influence can be seen even in today’s fashion and generally in the world. One of the best and most recent examples of those is the popular Netflix show “Emily in Paris.” This show honored Audrey and her style by recreating a scene similar to the one Audrey had in the movie “Funny Face.” The actress who portrays Emily in “Emily in Paris,” Lilly Collins, wears an iconic black dress, a bun, and similar jewels to the ones Audrey wore in the scene at the Daru Staircase at the Louvre.
In addition to her fashion sense, Audrey was able to act marvellously, which resulted in her being nominated for Oscars and becoming a true fashion icon of the 20th century. It is said of her that even on these movie sets, she was quite akin to deciding what pieces of her wardrobe to ensemble for her acting scenes, she was obviously so very good at it. Its therefore not about owning the most expensive pieces, but possessing the art of how to put them together, for a classic look. At Vivien Lauren, our stylists are more than happy to recommend what to put together, accessory pieces, for that timeless Classique look.
Domination of the 60s fashion
Retro trends largely dominate the fashion scene, but arguably, no decade has given aesthetic styles as the 60s have done. Taking all accounts into consideration, these styles will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future.
The wardrobe serves us to express ourselves and our styles, and the style from the 60s are there to emphasize the sophistication of the feminine silhouette. This era of women’s fashion emphasizes sensuality even on most casual occasions. This is why the clothes and trends from this age are timeless but also powerful enough to be spotted in modern women's styles.
... and isn’t it the Chanel philosophy, "Fashion fades, but style is eternal".
This article on 1960s fashion and its influence on the fashion world today, was authored by Chloe, for Vivien Lauren.
Vivien Lauren. Proud To Style.
· Chanel Catwalk, The Complete Karl Largerfeld Collections, From 1983 – 2015, Thames & Hudson,