The 60s Mini Dress
The Swinging Sixties. Whether you liked the sophisticated androgynous and smooth look of the Mods with Twiggy as your fashion guru, or the Jane Birkin-esque rock 'n roll simplicity of a black dress or even the floaty floral dresses of a more peace-&-love hippie crowd, the 60s era, rest assured, has the perfect mini dress for you.
Mary Quant & The Birth Of Iconic 60s Dresses
1964. Mary Quant raises the hemline of the skirt - it jumped from below-the-knee poodle to upper-thigh pelmet, marking the beginning of a new era for women. These were young, single, working women who wanted to have fun and be themselves ( just like us, right?) and who now could, for the first time, afford to do so. Shops like Bazaar in Chelsea and Biba in Notting Hill offered, not only jobs, but a wide range of hip clothes that attracted hundreds of young teenagers and women in their early 20s.
Style became what young people wore in the streets of London (Carnaby Street and King's Road were considered actual fashion parades); everything from miniskirts to knee-high boots took the world by storm, but it was the flirtatious dresses that made their mark.
The Mod Dress
Centred around bright, bold colours, block prints and geometric patterns, such as Union Jack flags, polka dots and stripes, Mod dresses bought the fashion industry to life. If it's the classic Mod retro look you desire, the pinafore dress is for you. A wardrobe staple for many girls back in the 60s, these garments tended to be sleeveless and worn over black polo neck sweaters or flowery shirts. However, still part of this same Mod style family is the scooter dress too. This usually has a bit of pleat to the skirt and is not as short as a micro-Mini - ideal to jump on and off your Lambretta!
The Micro-Mini Dress
Legend has it that Mary Quant called the mini-skirt after her favourite car, a…? Well, a Mini! But how do you call a dress when the hem goes shorter than 3" above the knee? We have the answer for you - it becomes a micro-mini (clever!). Now the micro-mini dress was made famous by 1960s models such as Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy but also pop singers like Sandie Shaw and Cilla Black, and it took fashion to another level, breaking even more boundaries and pushing limits. Whereas the miniskirt would normally sit four inches below the buttocks, the micro skimmed just below the crotch and certainly made a statement back in the day. Of course, girls everywhere couldn't wait to get their hands on this rebellious look that has continued to wow throughout the decades.
The Space Age Mini Dress
Short, shift or A-line dresses with eye-catching designs were all the rage, that, we know now, but, when Apollo 11 landed on the moon for the first time on July 20 1969, space age clothing became a must-have fashion trend heavily influenced by French designer André Courrèges. Boxy shapes, PVC, leather, neon and metallic colours hit the high street and everything from metal plates to wire and string was used to create outrageous, off-the-wall designs.
The Edwardian Dress
In 1966, the space age was gradually replaced by the Edwardian age - mini dresses came in velvet with frilled collars or lace-collars and matching cuffs, wide tent dresses, replacing the more geometric shift dress of the early Mod girls.
The Angel Dress
As the flower power movement got underway towards the end of the 60s and the idea of multiculturalism also became very popular, a lot of style inspiration was drawn from traditional clothing in Nepal, India, Bali, Morocco and African countries. Angel dresses became a hit with nature-loving, free-spirited hippies and many modern aficionados of 60s dresses. Made from flowing materials and with large trumpet sleeves reflecting exactly such influences, angel dresses skimmed the body and featured bright, psychedelic prints.
The Baby Doll Dress
While some dresses became edgier and shorter, others embraced the cute girly look that was popular at the time. Baby doll dresses, not only offered a young schoolgirl charm but were extremely feminine and easy to wear.
The Biba Dress
Ok, this might be cheating, but how could we not reserve a little special place in our vintage hearts for this super hip shop on Abingdon Rd. ( and Kensington Church St. later on) and the dresses that it made available for hundreds of art deco darlings and teenagers in London? And it wasn't just them who shopped in there, for the Biba shop was such a commercial success (ahem, at least at first...) that Brigitte Bardot and Yoko Ono were known as regular visitors too! Founded by Polish fashion illustrator-turned-designer Barbara Hulanicki in the 1960's, the iconic shop had humble beginnings as a mail-order boutique that sold knock-offs of clothes worn by icons of the day.
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