The 1960s was 'The' decade - from The Beatles to The Mini Skirt and dubbed The Swinging Sixties, it set a whole new tone for the world. With a sexual and political revolution, the Sixties sparked excess and flamboyancy across the globe. It witnessed a man on the moon, the assassination of JFK, Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech and England winning the world cup! It partied through Carnaby Street, Kings Road and Woodstock. Mods and Rockers clashed, Twiggy was the model-of-the-moment and Brits literally took over the music scene.
After last week's focus on the Fifties, today we jump into the 1960s. A little bit rad, a lot rock and roll and seriously swinging, the Sixties was the decade of culture, where attitudes relaxed and the conservatism of the Fifties was long gone.
Huge social and cultural movements led to dramatic changes in the film industry during the Sixties and a 'New Hollywood' was born. An era which looked to the risque - sex and drugs - to excite audiences made films like Barbarella an icon. However, at the lighter end of the scale sits one of the decade's most popular films, Breakfast at Tiffany's, another cult classic which is still very much loved today.
Music, literature and the arts
The Sixties was a legendary decade for music, from the establishment of Motown Records allowing R&B and soul music to gain mainstream popularity, to The British Invasion - where bands like The Beatles (Beatlemania) and The Rolling Stones dominated the music scene. Rock music also had a moment, from surf rock (The Beach Boys) to folk rock (Bob Dylan). King of the art scene was Andy Warhol with his iconic pop art pieces, and people were reading everything from To Kill A Mockingbird to A Clockwork Orange.
Quite the decade for fashion, the Sixties was off-the-chain good - from The Beatles in neat little suits, to the Mary Quant mini and later, the hippy (in bell-bottoms and tie dye), it was a revolutionary time in dressing. Worldwide style was very much influenced by British culture in the mid-Sixties, with Mary Quant on the King's Road, Biba in Kensington, Mods on Carnaby Street and London Bohemia later on in the decade, Britain was the trend-setting nation. Hair was also vital to looks during this time, with girls creating huge beehives and chignons or wearing shorter, sharper cuts a la Twiggy, while the boys went for mop-tops (as sported by the Beatles) or longer side-parted hair with side-burns as the decade wore on.
Early on, Jacqueline Kennedy was the style icon with trends maintaining the refined femininity of the Fifties. Pastel suits with short, boxy jackets, pillbox hats and simple geometric dresses or shifts were her style. Towards the middle of the decade, Mary Quant created the mini skirt with an A-line shape, and it changed everything. Around the same time, French designer, Andre Courreges, introduced the ‘space look’, with trouser suits, white boots, goggles, and box-shaped dresses. By the late 1960s, futuristic fashion gave way to exoticism, romanticism, psychedelia and dabbling with drugs which led to the birth of the hippy.
At first, suits in the Sixties were bright and colourful as opposed to the pale-toned shades of the previous decade, but by the middle of the decade the Mod was created, and Italian-inspired suits, polo shirts and parkas were made popular by a sub-culture of British scooter-riding youths (who clashed famously with their opposition - the rockers). Later on, the creative atmosphere of the decade prevailed and the dandy emerged. Synonymous with the Rolling Stones hanging out on the King's Road, these flamboyant and adventurous dressers wore frills, velvet, cravats and jazzy prints.