Daydreaming In Retro
Daydreaming in retro, rose tinted glasses captures light, The world is viewed in colour, there is no black and white, Neon trees dancing like free spirits, golden silence,Happiness clouded in political liberation, Womens rights at an all time high, Colour and rights collide as one, Let us see the world in multicolour, Daydreaming in retro.
Up until 1966 the 60’s decade clung onto 50’s trends where prim midi- skirts still trailed the calves elegantly and a mini skirt was still unheard of. Although the mini was in use during the Bronze Age in Nordic settlements, the mini was not established until 1966, where infamous designer Mary Qant popularized ‘short,short skirts’. Associated with ‘Swinging London’ culture the birth of the mini-skirt was a rejection of social norms established by the older generation and rectified the stifling fashion preferences of decades past.
For the first time the youths were in control of the fashion market and designer Mary Quant believed that fashion should be about youthful freedom of expression and shorter hemlines conveyed her distaste towards aesthetic oppression. In 1965 Mary Quant took the ‘mini’ from the 1964 designs by Courrèges and liking the shorter styles she made them even shorter for her boutique Bazaar. She is rightly credited with making popular a style that had not taken off when it made its earlier debut. Although Mary Quant popularized the mini, models like Twiggy embodied the mini’s carefree, deliberately provocative nature causing many teens to view her as a pin-up or fashion icon. In the modern age Twiggy is seen at the forefront of the 60’s revolution and is credited for normalizing the carefree sensuality of the mini-skirt in an ‘uptight culture’.
Known as the ‘Chelsea’ look the mini was worn with tights which replaced the 50’s hoisery of choice ‘stockings’ which was now reserved for bedroom wear. Tights were geometric, colourful and bold and reflected the liberation of youth culture who deliberately made ‘extreme’ fashion choices to rebel against anti-establishatarianism and ‘family – values’. Fashion was beginning to become available to all cultures regardless of ‘financial’ or ‘social status’ where the break down of regimented class fractions made ‘fast’ fashion readily available.
The break down of class united all individuals respective of status and all in the name of fashion. Fashion was no longer a ‘need’ but defined by ‘desire’ and consumer culture boomed during this period. The proliferation of disposable income among teens and ‘tweens’ meant that fashion was no longer directed at the older generation but youths become the target market instead. The mini was ‘youthful’ and soon the older generation marched in their droves to purchase their own mini to give off the illusion of being younger than they were.
But the mini was not just a retaliation against normcore values of the 50’s but was also a rejection of patriarchal values. The patriarchy viewed mini’s as an excuse for ‘rape culture’, controversially claiming that it was a ‘trigger’ and that they were ‘asking for it’ despite it being a medium of fashion expression. During the 70’s the mini was replaced with ‘gypsy-skirts’ which men preferred as women were covered and not ‘naked’ to the male eye, a belief that was outspoken during the reign of the mini skirt. Yet the ‘mini’ never wholly fell out of fashion with Debbie Harry and feminist Germaine Greer wearing it as a symbol of ‘patriarchal’ liberation. Liberated from male control women were now ‘independent’ earners who had the freedom to make their own fashion choices with or without male consent.
My interpretation of the 60’s mini
Favouring an autumnal palate the 60’s was synonmous with colourblocking. Colours like burgundy and mustard or mustard and blue were a popular choice although bolder choices like ‘cobalt blue’ and canary yellow were associated with the psychedellic movement that underpinned the latter part of the 60’s. The ethos of the psychedellic movement has transcended into the modern day catwalk whose ethos is the more ‘loud’ the outfit is the more recognition you will receive.
Although I drew a line at psychedellic prints, I used retro-colourblocking to tie into the 60’s love of clashing colours. Pairing a mustard suede mini with a rust turtleneck, burgundy chelsea boots and a burgundy/plum pea coat the 60’s mini has been updated for the modern era, whose love of layering is more proficient now than it was 55 years ago. Ditching the geometric tights I created a transitional look that can be worn from autumn to winter with a few subtle changes. To create a winter look simply add opaque black tights and a faux fur scarf for a warm but luxurious look.
Location: Berwick Street Soho
Gloves: New Look
Turtleneck: Pretty Little Thing
Suede mini: Pretty Little Thing