7 Famous Fashion Designers of the 1960s

You probably remember them; the great fashion designers of the 1960s. 

If you are a baby boomer, those were your teenage years and it’s certain that many of you have a tinge of nostalgia for the swinging sixties . . . the era of kohl-rimmed eyes and false lengthy lashes; micro-mini dresses, space-age suits, and shiny patent boots; fashionable stuff that defined the face and style of the times.   
They were great fashion designers of their time and so influential in the fashion scene that they easily 'called the shots' in style….

The fashion of the 1960s centred more on London and not Paris as some might believe. It was a new look, a total deviation from the fifties style of dressing. It was further divided into a number of sub-cultural trends, prominent among whichever the other styles can be are these three:
  1. Mods – modern chic look in dramatic urban styles
  2. Hippie – a generally unisex look, flowing clothing, tie & dye fabrics, lots of flowery prints
  3. Biba look – floppy hats, clothing with Gothic tones, a lean towards 20’s style; very dark eye, nail, and lip make-up.
Key fashionistas of the sixties include:
  • Twiggy
  • Mary Quant
  • Jackie Kennedy
  • Brigitte Bardot
  • Nancy Sinatra
  • Edie Sedgewick
  • Jean Shrimpton

Famous and Sought After Fashion Designers 


1. Biba 
Founded by Barbara Hulanicki, in the 1960s, Biba lines (which eventually included makeup) was aimed at teenagers mostly and consisted of what we may refer to as today’s high street fashion. Her colour palette was "muddied colours of brown, sepia, grey and plum" . . . dark but rich. 

Biba's "swinging London look" were affordable couture recreations and include the following styles: 
  • Mini-skirts
  • Long tight sleeves
  • Maxi skirts
  • Catsuits
  • Gingham print dresses
  • Triangular headscarves
  • Swanky wellies 

Today, if you find an authentic Biba dress, it may sell for as much as $1000

 Brighton Museum and Art Gallery celebrates BIBA

2. Givenchy 
Though he rose to fame in the 50's Givenchy’s fashion creations and elegant styles still reverberate in today’s scene.

This fashion designer's creations were so refined; it helped to define the 1960s refined style of the chic and sophisticated dressing of movie stars. We all remember the elegant Audrey Hepburn . . . She was mostly dressed in Givenchy's clothing whether on or off-screen.
Givenchy's most famed designs include Audrey Hepburn’s style, The Little Black Dress, which she wore in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany’s". 

3. André Courrèges 
Courrèges was a French fashion designer who made his 'debut' in the Parisian fashion world of the 1960s with his futuristic, youthful but "high fashion label".  

His fashion creations include: 
  • Triangle shaped shift dress that was THE defining silhouette of the 1960s 
  • Well cut pants
  • Halter tops
  • Short skirts
  • Hip-hugger pants
  • Sequined jumpsuits
  • White mid-calf boots
  • Vinyl trimmed coats and suits
  • Cigarette pantsuit  

It is claimed that he is the designer that created the mini skirt.  Authentic Courrèges pricey high fashion creations are difficult to find today, but cheaper copies of his works may be found if you can ‘wade’ through vintage clothing hunts.

4. Pierre Cardin 
The originator of the fifties bubble dresses, Pierre Cardin is a very famous 60s fashion designer who created innovative, contemporary designs that bordered on the unusual and futuristic. 

It was he that embraced the use of hammered metal jewellery, industrial zippers, and plastics in his creations. His famous styles include: 
  • Thigh-high boots
  • Collarless jackets
  • Bright coloured mini shift dresses
  • The unisex cosmos suit
  • Skinny double-breasted suits
  • Slim trousers
  • Space-age designs 

5. Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent, an influential fashion designer from Algeria, has had a great impact on the European fashion industry right from the early 60s till date, and it’s not uncommon to find that celebrities and models still gush over his designs even though he passed on from brain cancer in 2008.

YSL contributed to many of the sixties fashion trends. Some of his most popular clothing styles include: 
  • Mondrian shift dress
  • Peacoat
  • Safari jacket
  • Women tuxedos
  • Blazers
  • Sheer blouses
  • Jumpsuit 
  • Women smoking jackets  

Photographic Original Press – Yves Saint Laurent 1960s

6. Emilio Pucci 
This list will be incomplete without the mention of Pucci, "The Prince of Print" whose designs were mostly recognized for his trademark “psychedelic look” - electric colours, bold geometric prints, and 'clean' racy cuts.

Pucci contributed to the '60s trends like no other. Fashionable women and important personalities Jackie Kennedy and Sophia Loren wore his styles and a great fan of his clothing line, Marilyn Monroe, was even buried in one of his clothes. 

His popular designs include: 
  • Palazzo pantsuits
  • Silk headscarves
  • Body-hugging mini-skirts
  • Silk jersey clothing
  • Psychedelic 'op-art' tights – a form of printed leggings
  • Cropped Capri Pants
  • Poplin shirts
  • Space-age inspired air hostess uniforms  

7. Mary Quant
No, Mary Quant didn’t invent the "mini" as many vintage fashion enthusiasts tend to believe. Rather, she gave the style its name by popularizing it in the 60s!

Many of us have the Quant look 'embedded in our minds'. The silhouette ensconced in a mini skirt or a mini shift dress; patent boots, coloured opaque tights, a bob style haircut, prominent and dark eye makeup and false lashes. 

To replicate the Mary Quant look today is a breeze and you'll find a good number of fashionistas adopting the 1960's "quintessential" Mary Quant style. Her designs were pricey and many a woman found them un-affordable. Nonetheless, she was regarded as one of "London’s swinging"  group. 

Her designs include the following: 
  • Star style
  • Colourful raincoats
  • Boots with detachable tops
  • Mix and match separates 
  • Tight mini-skirts
  • Hot pants 
  • Lounging pyjamas
  • Dresses/Skirts with matching colourful tights 

1967 Mary Quant fashion show

Finding an original Mary Quant outfit outside of the UK would be like searching for a needle in the haystack, but replication can be achieved by looking out for the right pieces to create the perfect ensemble.   

21st Century Interpretations of 60s Fashion Designs

Today, finding these famous fashion designers' originals is certainly difficult, judging by the fact that they 'styled' and set the trends for many of us fashion-conscious youths over half a century ago. 

However, it is so good to know that interpretations of their designs are easy to spot in most boutiques, malls, and high street shops . . . That is if you know what to look out for.  

If you love the vintage-inspired look, Shop Dresses at ModCloth! 

Here is a video to inspire you on how to wear the Mods 60's. Enjoy! 

Mods 1960's Style for today's vintage enthusiast

No comments:

Post a Comment