The 1960s was a period of huge change in the fashion world. Whereas fashion had previously been aimed at a wealthy, mature elite, the tastes and preferences of young people now became important.
History of 1960s Fashion and Textiles
The 1960s was a decade of sweeping change throughout the fashion world generating ideas and images which still appear modern today. Whereas fashion had previously been aimed at a wealthy, mature elite, the tastes and preferences of young people now became important. At the beginning of the decade, the market was dominated by Parisian designers of expensive haute couture garments
Mary Quant opened Bazaar, a boutique on the King's Road, in 1955 at a time when 'fashion wasn't designed for young people'. Quant was influenced by Chelsea beatniks and dance outfits she remembered from childhood. Famed for popularising, if not inventing, the mini skirt, her clothes were made up of simple shapes combined with strong colours. By 1963 her success led to the opening of a second branch of Bazaar in Knightsbridge. She later launched the Ginger Group, a lower priced line designed to appeal to an even wider clientele.
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent (1936 - 2008) spent his childhood in Algeria. He was precociously talented, winning first prize for a cocktail dress in the 1953 International Wool Secretariat Contest at the age of only 17. While he was training as a cutter, Christian Dior hired him as an assistant.
Interactive: Silk Taffeta Evening Dress, by Worth, 1960
By 1960 the famous Paris couture house of Worth had dressed the world's richest and most fashionable women for over a century. The London branch supplied the British aristocracy with timelessly elegant clothes - as this example illustrates - for every occasion in the London season.
Spanning four centuries, the V&A’s Fashion collection is the largest and most comprehensive collection of dress in the world. Key items in the collection include rare 17th-century gowns, 18th-century ‘mantua’ dresses, 1930s eveningwear, 1960s daywear and post-war couture. Plus a growing number of pieces from 21st-century designers.