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The 60s - 1960s fashion

1960s Fashion – Music and passion were always the fashion..” 

60s big



Quad was one of the many fashion boutiques that sprang up in London in the late 1960s, when the emergence of youthful and ambitious British designers revolutionised the fashion world and became synonymous with the counter culture fashions of the time.


The advent of the 'boutique' ~ a retailing concept that radically changed how clothing was made, marketed, displayed and sold ~ endorsed an identity of individuality, freedom and rebellion which reflected the tastes of the designer or owner. Boutiques also experimented with innovative interiors, promoted creativity and informality between owners, staff and clientele and, of course, defined a new and exciting style of dressing.


Iconic names and places such as Mary Quant, Biba, Paraphernalia and Tuffin and Foale became synonymous with the King’s Road and Carnaby Street while other boutiques such as Countdown, Blast Off, Top Gear, Change Down, Glad Rags, Clobber, Quorum, Ad Hoc, Lord Kitchener's Valet, Palisades and Barricades evoked the spirit of freedom and originality and ensured that London became the quirky capital of cool in the 60s and early 70s, with its radical and ultra-modern new looks...encouraging young designers to start their own boutiques while inspiring other fashion capitals to change their outlooks.


Quad was part of this new boutique culture ~ prevalent alongside more established names, it produced fabulously unusual and iconic clothing which, in keeping with the times, was romantic, dreamy and inspired by history.



Boutiques remain a vital part of fashion retail ~ whether as an individual enterprise or incorporated into a larger setting ~ and are still cherished and coveted for their independence, character and unique designs. The epitome of trend-setting during the 60s and 70s, Quad’s inimitable fashions fit the contemporary mould while still evoking a particular style idyll reminiscent of revolutionary fashion shapes which typified the all-conquering ‘swinging London’ scene and, as such, are now adored, collected and very sought after.



BIBA and Beyond 60s London Boutique ~ Jimi Hendrix - military fashion


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In the 60's Paco Rabanne was in demand as a costume designer for the cinema, theatre and ballet. In 1965 he started his career as a designer by presenting a collection of 12 contemporary dresses which he called "the Unwearables". These included his first plastic dress.


In 1966 Paco Rabanne opened his own outlet at the age of 32, where he earned international repute for his metal-linked plastic-disc dresses, sun goggles and jewellery made of plastic in primary colours. Paco Rabanne's dresses made of small plastic tiles linked together by chains, stole the show in Paris. Throughout the 1960s he dazzled and amazed with some of the most beautiful fashion we have ever seen.


Paco Rabanne has created some of the most beautiful, outstanding, and iconic designs, he is known for pushing the boundaries, thinking beyond the mainstream, and challenging convention.


Paco Rabanne, exciting, beautiful, different.


Old Style: Paco Rabanne 1968




Paco Rabanne Metal Dresses (1969 Original Footage)



Beautiful 60s fashion, Paco Rabanne Metal Dresses and 1969 Fashion. 





60s London & 60s fashion. ~ Wiki - Paco Rabanne ~ Paco Rabanne on Pinterest  ~ BIBA The 1960s on Pinterest

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Amazing vintage footage... A window on a beautiful world, a beautiful way to look at fashion. London in the 1960s and the beautiful fashion shops with it.



People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around - the music and the ideas.


~ Bob Dylan


The most wonderful time to be in the art world was in the sixties, because it wasn't a business - there was no business of doing art.


~ Arne Glimcher



BIBA and Beyond ~ Beyond Biba Trailer ~ 60s style dresses  ~ The 1960s on Pinterest


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Here's a nice clip - Lord Kitchener's Valet was a very successful high-end boutique in London (Soho) in the late 60s. Mostly featuring antique military jackets. What is so funny is how much of this is still so fashionable today....


When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.


 ~ Jimi Hendrix




The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.


~ Jimi Hendrix


1960s Fashion 

60s style dresses


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60s style dresses - 60s style

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 1960s Fashion ~ Focus on Design      

While the flamboyant and outlandish fashions of the Swinging Sixties exploded through the music scene, another style revolution was taking place ~ more demure, elegant and refined, but no less central to 60s style and its embodiment of cutting edge fashion design.

The elegance of Jacqueline Kennedy (a style icon throughout the decade) was reflected in fashions of the early 60s: aside from her Oleg Cassini coats and neat pillbox hats, she And 60s style itemspopularised fitted suits with short, boxy jackets and oversized buttons in diverse colours that were smart and chic. Simple but flattering geometric dresses (shifts) were also in style and for evening wear, full-skirted, often low cut gowns with close-fitting waists were popular.


60s-style-dresses-8.jpgHowever, the epitome of 60s style undoubtedly belongs to the brilliance of its fashion designers, the iconic 60s style dresses they created and their outstanding influence that has since permeated a multitude of collections. The roll call of revolutionaries to be relished and revered includes Mary Quant, Barbara Hulanicki, Ossie Clark, Jean Muir, Emilio Pucci, Guy Laroche, Oscar de la Renta and Yves St Laurent ~ fashion pioneers whose contribution to 60s style remains legendary.


Mary Quant is one of the most influential designers associated with 60s style dresses and ranks alongside luminaries such as Chanel and Dior. Already possessing an avant-garde, modish look with her new razor-sharp haircut, she introduced the boundary-crossing mini in 1965 (popularising an earlier Courrèges design), with a hemline and a shape that was to revolutionise fashion. Her remit was to make youthful, simple clothes in which one could move more easily ~ so hem lengths simply got shorter (and shorter!) in line with her customer’s requirements (a design that she credited to ‘the girls on the King’s Road’).  In 1963, she won the first Dress of the Year award for an outfit that best represented the most important new ideas in contemporary fashion.


60s-style-dresses-011.jpgHer position at the heart of London’s stylish fashion quarter was instrumental in rocketing the mini from street fashion to major international trend, with top models working the iconic leggy looks in A-line dresses or sleeveless shifts of cotton, Crimplene and lace-adorned velvet or the micro-mini ‘Angel’ dress. The model Twiggy (the ‘mini-girl of the mini-era’) shattered the previously perceived ideal of beauty with her gamine, doe-eyed image and slim figure and Quant’s genius was to capture that zeitgeist of 60s style by clothing her in dresses that showed off the designer’s talent for the contemporary which distinguished British designers as a breed apart. The mini is one shape that will never date:  it encapsulates 60s style dresses absolutely, and works as well with today’s essential, ubiquitous opaques as it did with Quant’s innovative coloured tights. Simply fabulous!


On the subject of ‘mini magic’, YSL’s Mondrian dress (inspired by the Dutch artist), a wool shift printed with primary block colours, became one of the dresses epitomising 60s style and generated an array of copies. Indeed, it looks as modern now as it did in 1965.


60s-style-dresses-767.jpgPierre Cardin, André Courrèges and Paco Rabanne introduced futuristic fashion and space-age silhouettes, (Rabanne’s metal mini dress was truly ahead of its time), and Emilio Pucci pioneered psychedelic patterned prints ~ while the likes of Jean Muir, Barbara Hulanicki for Biba, and Ossie Clark continued to fly the flag for designs that were smart, beautiful and desirable.


60s-style.jpgMiss Muir was known for her precision cut and considered herself a craftswoman ~ disciplined, skilled and dedicated, and her formidable attention to detail belied her statement minimalist shapes. She was one of the first designers to produce ready-to-wear with a couture aesthetic and while she didn’t officially invent the ‘little black dress’ (a look immortalised in 1961 with Givenchy’s creation for Holly Golightly), she did perpetuate its all-round use with other dark signature colours. Muir was the doyenne of the little dress, engineering seriously elegant clothes for grown-ups. The ineffable elegance of her designs, renowned for their quality and deceptively simple but sinuous lines, continue to impress with their timeless, effortless chic while her label still attracts new admirers and clientele who wish to look demure in Muir.


Biba opened its first shop door in 1964 ~ its stylish décor, lavish decadence and hatstands of gorgeous garments in dark, jewel coloured velvets, tie-dye, feathers and felt became a melting pot of fabulous fashion and cool creativity, attracting the glitterati of the day. Artists, film stars and rock stars rubbed shoulders with the beautiful young clientele who epitomised trendy 60s London and devoured Barbara Hulanicki’s stunning designs. From her original sleeveless gingham shifts and her faux fur trimmed maxi coats, to her billowing chiffon dresses and richly-coloured mini dresses ~ often expressing her ornate William Morris aesthetic (her vibrant, purple and yellow zig-zag print mini dress with fitted waist and slightly flared skirt has been displayed at London’s V&A) ~ the Hulanicki name remains synonymous with evocative design. Indeed, her 2009 30-piece collection of 60s style dresses for Topshop flew off the rails and she continues to collaborate on collections for the high street. Her original 60s and 70s Biba designs helped to iconically define an era and are coveted by fashion collectors worldwide, and still infinitely wearable ~ not bad for someone whose first shop stocked a solitary brown pinstriped smock!


60s-style-01_20140128-183347_1.jpg60s-style-02.jpgFinally, to Ossie Clark ~ a major figure on the scene and another innovator of 60s style who produced the most desirable dresses, often in collaboration with print designer Celia Birtwell. His design style in the mid 60s was heavily influenced by pop-art and Hollywood glamour and while he may have attracted major attention from the fashion press with that ‘light bulb’ moment at his degree show (an illuminating design that boosted his career), he’s renowned for his vintage designs ~ exquisite, flowing and sensuous maxi dresses in both fabulous plain colours and in bold flower prints, smocks in soft chiffon, wrap dresses, halter-necks and tea dresses in stunning patterns ~ and has influenced the likes of Anna Sui, Tom Ford and Manolo Blahnik. Ghost’s diaphanous gowns are certainly reminiscent of Clark’s vintage pieces and his original and collaborative vintage collections remain highly regarded and sought after, very often seen on celebrities at red carpet events.


The shining lights of 60s fashion design left their mark and their legacy with a glorious imprint of 60s style dresses that continues to inspire, excite, innovate and endure; as they say, style never goes out of fashion.






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1960s Fashion


Grace-Slick-60s-outfits_20140126-042243_1.jpg1960s Fashion – The Sounds and Styles

Music and passion were always the fashion..”  ~ but it was during the 1960s that music and fashion became forever entwined and redefined for a new generation who eagerly embraced the pop culture that marked out the Swinging Sixties as a decade unlike any that had gone before.


This was a time of upheaval in politics, fashion, attitudes and music and while the ‘teenager’ may have been 50s borne, the 60s delivered a new-found sense of freedom as society moved away from the conservative values of the previous decade and discovered colour, flamboyance, style and ownership that gave rise to a multitude of groundbreaking fashion trends. These new looks not only mirrored the social movements of the time, but were particularly influenced by the iconography of the popstars, music, dances and the burgeoning festival scene. Music led the way in ‘alternative’ fashion for the young and the restless, the ‘in’ crowd and the trendsetters, and designers began producing clothing suitable for those eager to find their own identities. The first major fashion movement of the 60s emerged from the ‘British Invasion’ ~ the Beatles phenomenon (and their much emulated ‘Liverpool Sound’), the Rolling Stones and many others who were enjoying immense popularity.


1960s-fashion.jpgIn the early to mid 60s, the London Modernists (the Mods) shaped a look for a British subculture of young women and men ~ a counter culture movement which became widely imitated and identified by their classy, tailored suits, Levis jeans and slim button-down shirts contrasted with their trademark anoraks. Both female and male Mods dressed very similarly and both had a sense of ‘alternative cool’ with their instantly recognisable customised scooters and mopeds  ~ and bands such as The Who, The Kinks and The Small Faces were to emerge with a faithful following.  By contrast, the Rockers of the time were still heavily influenced by 50s rock and roll icons, bringing black leather again into 1960s fashion. The decade also gave birth to drainpipe jeans, for women and men, an item that has remained forever in fashion (having latterly evolved into the ‘skinny’ jeans trend we are seeing again today).


TV music shows of the time featured a plethora of groups and artists from the established crooners to the up and coming rebels that were ready to revolutionise the music scene. Boy Meets Girl, Juke Box Jury, Ready Steady Go! and Shindig! were among the latter, alongside the iconic juggernaut that was Top of the Pops (first aired in 1964), a show that would later become the nostalgia-laden popfest for millions. They showcased the main chart toppers and heart-throbs of the day, among them Cilla Black, Lulu and Sandie Shaw who all played their part in defining the fashion of the era ~ and the Beatles and the Stones whose definitive 60s outfits were to have a huge influence on fashion (and music) which still endures ~ from sharp suits and Nehru jackets to velvet, brocade and ‘jazz band’ chic, via leather drainpipes, billowing blouses, that white ‘dress’ and iconic pop-art logos.

60s-fashion-Jimi-Hendrix-01.jpgDance crazes such as the Twist, the Mashed Potato, the Swim, the Freddie, all demanded a new freedom of movement for women and evolving fashion styles reflected this ~ the 60s saw curve hugging satin sheath dresses to match the sultry sounds of Motown and R&B, and the cute swing shifts of the sophisticated Supremes and the Detroit sound. But one image that so often defines 60s outfits, almost more than any other, is the fabulous monochrome mini dress, quirky white boots, pale lips, false eyelashes on feline flicks and hair that was bobbed and bouffant or sleek and chic. Once Mary Quant had introduced the mini-skirt in 1965, everything changed and this embodiment of 1960s fashion was popularised by chanteuses such as Sandie Shaw, Petula Clark, Cilla 1960s-fashion-1960s-outfits-01.jpgBlack and Kathy Kirby. These young pop stars, who were becoming household names, wowed in sleeveless minis and groovy A-line and shift dresses with colour pop geometrics, big bright flower prints and patterned tights; and crop tops with hip-hugging trousers and bell bottoms (often embellished with sequins) were also seen on screen ~ while marvellous maxis and floaty frocks with billowing sleeves in velvet, chiffon and satin were modelled by the likes of Marianne Faithfull and Jane Birkin, hidden under floppy hats and layers of cool and sultry chic.


The achingly trendy style arenas of London’s Kings Road and Carnaby Street gave rise to an explosion of flamboyance, flair and ‘far out’ fashion in 60s outfits that saw A-lines, Angel dresses, bell-bottoms, boas, capri trousers, cravats, Cuban heels, culottes, Go-Go boots, kaftans, maxis, minis, shifts, space-age, stilettos, swing coats, tunics and winklepickers parade through the decade in a refreshing riot of batik, brocade, chiffon, crocheted lace, faux fur, frills, leather, neon, PVC, paisley, patent, psychedelic prints, stripes, suede, tie-dye and velvet. 1960s fashion continued its evolution into the later decade, influenced by the growing popularity of rock and its subgenres: surf, roots, hard, psychedelic, folk ~ and the boom in music festivals.


Festivals were flourishing and artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Grace Slick shaped the Hippie movement. A sense of empowerment and liberation became apparent in 60s outfits of the time as a bohemian counterculture took hold: clothes became loose and relaxed with brightly coloured, clashing prints and patterns, bell bottoms, tunic tops and tie-dye, velvet waistcoats, flowers, frills, headbands and beads that reflected the mood and the music, while longer, looser, hair replaced the structured beehives and bouffants. This sense of idealism, freedom and optimism was captured at a moment in time which can never truly be recreated, but which will always evoke those sunny, carefree, heady days of 60s Summers and immutable music ~ represented by the gorgeously gregarious and bohemian fashions that freed the spirit and blazed a trail for generations to come.


Joni-Mitchell-60s-outfits.jpgThe politically charged decade also saw the emergence of folk artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell who lent their working class American values not just to their outspoken lyrics, but to their look ~ soon, fans were embracing denim, military style jackets and western-inspired shirts. Jeans became the indispensable, integral item in any self-respecting music fan’s wardrobe, a discipline and a ‘rock solid’ fashion staple that still prevails.


1960s FashionWith gender definition becoming less limiting, and with the resurgence of the Women’s Liberation Movement and a new wave of feminism, the androgynous look of 60s outfits
 became more pervasive: women blended the feminine and masculine and wore Nehru jackets with miniskirts and short sculpted haircuts; while men sported polo necks, billowing shirts, decorative scarves and skirted coats, and long flowing hairstyles. The ‘dandy’ look, celebrated by Brian Jones et al, became ‘de rigeur’ with bands who rocked the outlandish, the outré and the outrageous in tight fitting trousers and double-breasted suits of crushed velvet, brocade waistcoats and frilled shirts. This look was perfectly summed up at the Stones’ Hyde Park concert of July 1969 by the ‘King of Peacocks’, Mick Jagger ~ his white voile smock with bishop’s sleeves, ruffled neck and wrists, and bow-laced front is surely one of the outfits, alongside Mary Quant’s iconic mini skirts and dresses, most redolent of the exhilaration, the empowerment, the revolution and the zeitgeist of 1960s fashion.


For the first time in history, 1960s fashion was geared towards the youth market, a trend that set the mood for the rest of the century and beyond. Styles changed more frequently than ever before (and continued to do so throughout the decade), undeniably influenced by the pop and rock stars, the ever-changing music scene and the flourishing TV and media culture that portrayed them. The music scene was the voice of the 60s generation, heavily influencing style statements that continue to impact on modern fashion in a way that perhaps no other decade has done since.



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