Hardly a decade shaped Germany as much as the 1960s. Birth control pills, Beatles and hippies – the 1960s were a time of unrest, upheaval and change. This mood is also reflected in a kind of fashion and cultural revolution. The conservative social order and the prudish moral concepts of the 1950s had had their day. Students turned away from the ideal of the middle-class family. The youth fought for political, social and sexual justice. Women bid farewell to the previously prevailing identification as housewives and mothers and tried to earn their own money. The introduction of the birth control pill in 1961 also ensured sexual self-determination. Musically underpinned the beatles with their songs from England from the protest against the Vietnam War. rock bands like that Rolling Stones or The Who agreed. It was never just about music, but primarily about one attitudewhich was anti-establishment. More than ever, individuality became a value.
From the mid-1960s, an anti-bourgeois and nature-loving, pacifist youth movement finally gained strength: the hippies. In 1968 the time had come – the wave of protests reached a climax worldwide: students took to the streets against the Vietnam War, the rigid sexual morality and the unresolved National Socialism. At a Ford factory in Dagenham (UK), seamstresses went on strike demanding equal pay for women and men.
Change as a constant & the birth of prêt-à-porter – a style-defining era!
In this climate, not only did the boundaries of music and society expand – but also those of fashion. A remarkable reversal took place in the fashion sector: From now on, the youth set the fashion trends, which only in the second step of the Haute Couture and Ready-to-wear were taken over. Completely different from before. Because up until then, fashion had actually been created in the privileged classes and only later became accessible to the broad masses. Clothing thus lost its role as an indicator of social status and education. Particularly exciting: Despite the completely different styles, the fashion created a feeling of equality among young people – regardless of whether they wore hippie styles or A-line dresses with platform boots. That was lived diversity! Designers, too, experimented more than ever before. Materials such as synthetic fabrics, metal or plastic were used in sometimes shrill creations.
In short: The exciting and extraordinary thing is that this decade cannot be pinned down to one fashion style, but that several strong currents existed in parallel. Fashion currents that still play a major role in our looks: The 60s with their typical clear silhouettes, retro colors and prints and – in contrast – the individual and improvised style of the hippie movement are still style-defining today. summer after summer. winter after winter.
Current looks in the style of the 60s
A new image of women: Twiggy
The new era and the political and social currents also changed the image of women: the hyped English top model Twiggy (engl. “twig” – scrawny branch) gave a clear rejection of the feminine image of women. In contrast to the well-fed ideal type of the 1950s, boyish, dainty figures were now in demand. With her androgynous body, bob haircut and striking eyelashes, the British Lesley Hornby, her real name, created a new ideal of beauty. At the age of 16 she made it onto the covers of all renowned fashion magazines. She created a new style for women: men’s shirts, bright colors, A-line cuts, minis and short hair characterized the so-called twiggy look. The cultural scene also had a major influence. Especially the art movements pop art and op art showed up in the form of eye-catching patterns on dresses, blouses and coats. Jackie Kennedy, the American President’s wife, was also considered a style icon with her modern look.
The fashionable emancipation – overview of the 1960s fashion.
Short skirts and boyish cuts set an example against the bourgeoisie. Women wore trousers and short hair. Alternatively, many women styled the so-called »beehive« (»Beehive«), the typical voluminous 60s toupee hairstyle, loved by style icon Brigitte Bardot, among others. Large, sophisticated sunglasses à la Jackie Kennedy and eye-catching eyeliner went well with this. Later, the hippies brought an unseen dress code into play with their flowing flower power looks. Men loved frilly shirts and long hair. But one after anonther …
Mary Quant and the mini skirt – a statement of self-confidence
Symbol of the sexual revolution and the fashionable it-piece of a whole generation: a skirt that ends 10 cm above the knee. Inspired by the new type of woman Twiggy embodied, fashion designer Mary Quant created the miniskirt—loved by the younger generation, condemned by the older generation. The miniskirt she invented became a symbol of the sexual revolution in 1963 after being featured in British Vogue. That was a statement and a clear distinction from the cult underskirt of the 50s, the petticoat, which was common under at least knee-length skirts. Young people in the 1960s initially wore the mini with knee socks or playful socks. Tights were only developed later – a perfect addition to the new fashion highlight.
Farewell to the waist – A-line as a silhouette
Figure-hugging and narrow at the top, wide at the bottom – the A-line conquered fashion hearts. While the waist was still emphasized in the 1950s, the new cut showed itself in an androgynous form: dresses or coats became wider and wider from the bust line down without a break. But also tops and jackets came in the new cut and tops got flared sleeves.
Iconic patterns and bright colors
We still wear and love retro patterns and colors à la 60ies today. Graphic or psychedelic prints were just as common as plain models in bright colors or muted tones. pop art and op art showed themselves artistically on dresses, jackets and coats. Those who wanted it a little quieter opted for simple checked and houndstooth patterns in subtle tones. With the beginning of the flower power era in 1968, sweeping floral or ethnic prints on flowing maxi dresses and floor-length skirts were added.
Crocheted dresses were also popular in the 1960s. Favorite model? White. The figure-hugging mini dresses with generous hole designs were worn with flat sandals or platforms.
Love & Peace & Individualism – hippie looks
In the 1960s, several currents coexisted – all with the aim of standing up against the social conventions and role clichés of the 1950s. In addition to minis, suits and hot pants, women chose bell-bottoms, making jeans an all-time favourite. Bikinis, skirts, dresses, jackets and shorts were soon made from the Blue denim fabric produced. The hippies, unconventional and individual, attracted attention with looks that symbolized “freedom” at first glance: flowing batik dresses, striking floral designs, jeans with flower appliqués and embroidery, tunics and wide flared trousers were worn barefoot or combined with clogs or sandals. Oversized sunglasses with colorful lenses and a lot of detailed jewelry were part of the good tone – including a slouch hat.
Did you know…
… that Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by the Beatles in 1960? In his “Beat Collection” he took up the style of the “mushroom heads” and created consistently black pieces with leather and fur.
… that there was another youth movement? The “Mods” were young radicals of the Lower middle class in England. They attracted attention in the early 1960s with their dandy-like looks with jackets or parkas, tight hipsters and Fred Perry polo shirts.
Style your 60s retro look – the dos & don’ts at a glance
I’m pretty sure we all have something in our closet that was inspired by the 60s. For me, at any rate, this is the most exciting fashion era ever. What do you think about that?