Fashion Drawing & Illustration: 1960s
Before the late 1950s and 1960s, teenagers were expected to dress and behave very much as their parents. The 'Swinging Sixties', however, saw the emergence of a new youth market as teenagers rebelled against the aesthetics and values of their parents' generation and established their own trends in fashion and music.
Amongst other things, the mini-skirt was introduced, and couture was seen as very old-fashioned. London - not Paris - was leading fashion now, nurtured by the city's fashion schools and colleges, who were providing creative environments for crops of young, talented designers.
The daughter of Welsh school teachers, Mary Quant (born 1934) gained a diploma in Art Education from Goldsmith's College, London. There she met Alexander Plunket Green, who later became her business partner and husband. Apprenticed to a milliner, Quant began to make her own clothes. These were influenced by the Chelsea beatniks she knew and dance outfits she remembered from childhood lessons.
In 1955, at a time when 'fashion wasn't designed for young people', Quant opened Bazaar, a boutique on the King's Road. She devised eye-catching window displays to attract customers. Her clothes were made up of simple shapes combined with strong colours like scarlet, prune and green. Prices were low compared to those charged for haute couture.
Famed for popularising the mini skirt, in 1966 Quant was awarded an OBE. In the early 1960s her designs were bought by the chain store J.C. Penney to be mass produced for the American market. The Quant label began to appear worldwide on accessories and make-up.
Figure 1. This design has a liberty bodice, long narrow sleeves and a front vertical zip. The skirt is very short and trimmed on the edge with a yellow colour. The same colour tights are worn. There is a small baby collar and a very narrow belt with a front buckle. Mini skirts and dresses were a highly fashionable new trend in the late 1960s and continued for quite a while after this.
Figure 2. This bold design for a putty aubergine mini dress is made with a small liberty bodice with a full mini skirt attached to it. The top of the dress has a cow neck in yellow material inside and on the outside is beige with yellow.
There is a matching head scarf, belt and cuffs. Mini skirts and dresses were a highly fashionable new trend in the late 1960s and continued for quite a while after this.
Figure 3. In this design Mary Quant decided to ignore the waist and added a very short frill skirt attached to the body of the dress creating the 'mini' effect. The sleeves are very short and bounded by glace kid red leather. The main dress is made out of pink Jersey wool.
The collar and the front slit are all bounded by the same glace kid leather as the sleeves, the leather has brass eyelets to enable the threading of shoe lace type ribbon. Mini skirts and dresses were a highly fashionable new trend in the late 1960s and continued for quite a while after this.