Sixties City

and influencers of Sixties fashions

Mary Quant

John Bates - Pantsuits, catsuits, string dresses and see-through minis. Designed clothes for 'The Avengers' Diana Rigg ( see right ). Formed company Jean Varon in 1964 with a wide range of fashions including some of the shortest minis of the Sixties.

Geoffrey Beene - Men's and women's wear in soft, easy care fabrics, sequinned fabrics, chiffon and taffeta. One of the first designers to mix patterns and textures. Generally preferred dark and neutral colours

Pierre Cardin - Futuristic fashions, space-age catsuits and bodystockings, Beatle suits and cut-out dresses. Moved into menswear in 1961. Used brightly coloured and patterned garments. High buttoned and collar-less jackets and zippered smock styles in lieu of jackets. His customers included The Beatles. Launched his space-age collection in 1964, some made entirely of metal and plastic. His female models were dressed in shiny vinyl, skin-tight catsuits, high-legged leather boots and even space helmets. Collars, when used, were typically oversized and cut-outs were very revealing. He designed the high-necked lace blouses for the 1965 film 'Viva Maria' which led to a revival in the Edwardian look.

Bonnie Cashin
- U.S. designer specialising in Chinese styles, Leather, canvas and suede with ethnic influences, best known for popularising the 'poncho'.

Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel - Classic Paris high fashion and the tailored 'Chanel suit'. Also a range of sports style fashions and the famous 'Chanel No5' perfume.

Ossie Clark - Youth fashions influenced by op-art. Hot pants, Maxi Coats, Gypsy dresses, motorcycle jackets, metallic leather and snakeskin. Later in the decade, flowing romantic evening wear and Latin-inspired fashions. Clark had designed for the Woodlands 21 boutique, having his fashions featured in Vogue. He started his own company, Quorum, in 1965 with partner Alice Pollock which was to become one of Chelsea's most successful boutiques. Quorum was bought by Radley in 1968 but Clark continued to design for the new company, later specialising in crepe, satin, jersey and chiffon.

Andre Courreges - Miniskirts, pantsuits and see-through space-age designs. He opened his own fashion house in 1961 after 12 years designing for Balenciaga. Like Mary Quant, he has some claim to having pioneered the introduction of the mini skirt in 1962. His most famous designs were the 'Space-Age' collection of Spring 1964 which strongly featured silver and white PVCs with bonded seams. The collection included silver PVC 'moongirl' pants, white catsuits and monochrome striped mini skirts and dresses. He is also famous for his use of the mid-calf length, flat-heeled 'Courreges' boot - an iconographic symbol of Sixties fashion. A more reasonably priced ready-to-wear collection was produced in 1965. ( see pattern top left )

Marc Bohan ( Design director - Christian Dior ) - Paris high fashion elegance. Marc took over the reigns at Dior in 1960 after the departure of Yves Saint Laurent.

Elio Fiorucci - Miniskirts and general youth fashion. Italian shoe designer who exported many Sixties London fashions to Italy, opening a store in Milan, 1967, specially for London products.

Anne Fogarty - One of the first U.S. designers to produce bikinis and launcher of the 'Paper Doll' dress, with high waist, low neck, short-sleeved bodice and full skirt.

Rudi Gernreich - Sports and swimwear, revealing designs. Rudi designed ready-to-wear clothes for Los Angeles boutique JAX until 1964 when he started his own company, striving to provide a range of clothes which allowed complete freedom of movement. He is credited with introducing the topless swimsuit in 1964, which consisted of a high waist held up by thin straps which passed between the bare breasts. He gave up the company in about 1967 to concentrate on freelance designing and to devote more time to his passion - dance clothes.

Hubert de Givenchy - Cocktail and evening dresses. Most famous for the clothes he designed for Audrey Hepburn, particularly her wardrobe in the 1961 film 'Breakfast At Tiffanys'. He is generally known for sack dresses, low-cut cocktail dresses with matching boleros, duster coats and coloured gloves.

Janet Reger - London born designer who worked in Zurich until the late Sixties when she returned to London and marketed her products through Fenwick stores.

Betsey Johnson - Pantsuits, miniskirts and t-shirt dresses

Bridget Riley - Op-art artist and designer whose work was widely used in dress and fabric designs

Jacques Heim - One of the designers credited with the introduction of the bikini. Owned a chain of boutiques selling sportswear between 1946 and 1966.

Emanuelle Khanh - lacy, frilled dresses and blouses, long collared jackets

Emilio Pucci - Sportswear and psychedelic skirts, dresses and pantsuits

Mary Quant - Miniskirts, tights, skinny-rib sweaters and wet-look PVC. She produced designs for Butterick Patterns ( paper patterns ) in 1964 to enable her styles to reach a larger market amongst the less well-off. Mary is largely responsible for establishing London as the Sixties centre of fashion, particularly the King's Road area of Chelsea.

Paco Rabanne - Plastic and metal discs, day-glo space-age designs. Between 1964 and 1966 Paco designed fashion accessories on a freelance basis for Balenciaga, Givenchy and Dior. He launched his body jewellery in the Spring of 1966 on forming his own company. Generally known for clothing in chain-mail style, made from plastic and metal tiles or discs, held together with wire. By 1968/9 his designs included ostrich feather dresses with aluminium bodices and others made in paper and silver leather.

Zandra Rhodes - Fantasy evening fashions in vivid colours and bizarre patterns. Printed and painted silk and chiffon garments with art-deco motifs, zig-zags etc. Prior to forming her own fashion house in 1968, she had already designed a paper wedding dress which sold for less than two shillings ( ten pence ) during the brief period of popularity enjoyed by disposable clothing.

Michelle Rosier - Space-age and wet look designs

Vivienne Westwood - Opened a shop in the Kings Road in the late 60s with Malcolm McLaren
( of Sex Pistols fame ). Better known for 70s 'Punk' and 80s 'New Romantic' fashions.

Yves Saint Laurent - Safari and pea jackets, smocks, pantsuits, see-through designs. He opened his own fashion house in 1962, having had to leave his previous position at Dior in 1960 to fight in the Algerian war. He launched the 'Mondrian' look in 1965 and a collection that was inspired by pop-art in 1966, establishing his chain of 'Rive Gauche' boutiques which provided new fashion ideals for the richer youth of the period.

John Stephen - Suede waistcoats, kaftan jackets, velvet flares, 'groovy' wigs

Terence Conran - ( right ) The major force in raising design awareness during the Sixties. He opened his first 'Habitat' store at 77 Fulham Road in May 1964, concentrating on modern furniture and accessories.

Douglas Millings - Beatles' suits and men's fashion.

Giorgio Armani - Worked as a designer with Nino Cerruti from 1961 to 1974

Barbara Hulanicki
- Started her business by mail-order in 1963 with her husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon. Due to a phenomenal response to their newspaper advertising, they opened their first 'Biba' boutique in 1964, selling mini smock-dresses, mix'n'match fashions, rubberised raincoats, floppy hats and lengthened and dyed rugby shirts which were worn as mini-dresses, many of which were decorated with op-art designs. Their favoured colours were muted purples, dull reds, sepias, blues, greys and pinks. They moved to larger premises in 1965 and again in 1969 when they opened a department store in Kensington High Street, selling men's, women's and children's wear ( even purple nappies! ). They also sold a variety of foods and household goods but the expansion of the range seemed to be the start of Biba's fall from youth popularity, eventually closing down in 1975.

Roberto Capucci - Flamboyant use of Mediterranean colours and sculptural forms. He famously produced garments made of sealed plastic filled with coloured water.

Cristobal Balenciaga - Highly fashionable in the fifties, the house of Balenciaga carried on through the Sixties with famous name designers producing loosely tailored suits and sculptural evening wear. Balenciaga retired in 1968.

Laura Ashley - Country style clothing and furnishing fabrics. Laura started with a cotton drill apron in 1961 - almost an anti-fashion house featuring inexpensive tucked and frilled dresses in coarse cotton and lacy shirts with leg o'mutton sleeves. She opened her first shop in Kensington in 1968.

Anthony Price - Glamorous evening wear and the designer of the clothes for The Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter' tour of 1967, while working as a designer for Stirling Cooper producing fashions for Miss Selfridge. He also later designed for Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music.

Valentino Garavani - Decorative evening wear and tailored day wear. He showed the first collection from his newly-formed company in 1960, gaining huge recognition for his sophisticated, Hollywood-style evening wear. In 1967 he presented a 'No Colour' collection produced entirely in creams, buffs and whites, in contrast to the highly fashionable psychedelic colouring of the period. By 1969 he was producing designs heavily influenced by op-art.

Charles Jourdan - Brightly-coloured suede and leather shoes. He also designed for leading fashion houses including Dior and Cardin.

Calvin Klein - Started to make inroads on the fashion scene in the late Sixties with his tailored sportswear, starting his own business in 1968 with partner Barry Schwartz. Peajackets, turtleneck sweaters and long-line slacks.

Karl Lagerfeld - Flamboyant evening wear and furs. He worked for Patou until 1964, later designing on a freelance basis for Chloe and Krizia. He also designed shoes for Charles Jourdan and furs for Fendi from 1967.

Jean Muir - Tailored and fluid matte jersey womenswear. Regarded by many as 'The Greatest British Fashion Designer', Jean started at Jaeger from 1956 to 1961 when she left to produce her own range of fashions under the 'Jane and Jane' label. This became part of the Susan Small organisation, later to be owned by Courtaulds. She opened her own company in 1966 producing comfortable and elegant women's wear including smocks, peasant dresses, shawls, draw-string waist dresses and two-piece suits.
For more information, click here to see the great site dedicated to Jean and her work hosted by her nephew, Robin Norton.

Roger Vivier - Evening and haute couture shoes, also freelance footwear design for fashion houses.

Bill Blass - American sportswear and traditional designs with softened lines. Use of ruffles in 60s designs

Donald Brooks - Luxurious evening pants and voluminous pyjamas, chemises, unadorned dresses, trimmed coats and stoles.

Stephen Burrows - Leather

Caroline Charles - Worked with Mary Quant in the early days and started up her own business in 1963. Mini skirts in cotton and flannel, tunics, pants and, later, long flowing fashions.

Clive ( Clive Evans ) - Opened his own boutique in 1961, specialising in haute couture and ready-to-wear daywear.

Sybil Connolly - Hand woven woollens, tweeds and mohairs. Evening and daywear.

Oscar de la Reuta - Designer for major fashion houses, working for Balenciaga, Lanvin-Castillo, Elizabeth Arden and Jane Derby. Started his own business in 1965 specialising in extravagant, opulent designs. Mainly elaborately-trimmed evening wear, particularly gypsy-style designs.

Alberto Fabiani - Married rival designer Simonetta in 1953 and opened a Paris house together in the 60s. Couturiers and accessory designers, tailored suits and evening dresses, evening culottes.

Dorothee Bis - Opened a boutique in 1962 with Elie & Jacqueline Jacobson-designed 'adult' versions of young girls clothes. Knee socks, peaked caps, cut-out dresses, trouser suits and crocheted sweaters and dresses.

Luis Estevez - U.S. West Coast designer specialising in glamorous evening wear.

Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin - Formed Tuffin & Foale in 1962, designing for the young, ready-to-wear market which was bought extensively by London store Woollands. Best known for lace dresses with cut-outs under the arms.

Frederick Fox - Milliner who opened his own business in the mid-60s, designing hats for Hardy Amies, John Bates and the royal family.

Andrew Grima - Jewellery designer who opened a business in Jermyn Street in 1966

Ralph Lauren - 'Ivy League' styles and expensive neckwear, including 'kipper' ties.

Simone Mirman - Milliner who designed for Dior, Saint-Laurent and Hartnell, including hats for the royals.

Rose Vernier - Milliner who designed for Amies, Creed, Morton and Mattli.

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