16
Feb 18

Tales Of (Not) Finding Fashion From The Sixties

Introduction

It feels like I have been to SO many vintage fairs and events over theSixties shopping horror stories years (longer than I care to remember, in fact!) I truly love going to them, and I generally have a lot of fun checking out the fantastic fashion from the sixties and soaking up the atmosphere.

However, not all vintage events have been so enjoyable! Some have been a letdown, like fairs with fewer traders than advertised.

A handful, however, have been downright shocking. Here are a couple of the most notable horror stories associated with my retro roaming.

(Names and certain details withheld to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent…)

The scam?

I was on Facebook recently when I saw details of a vintage kilo sale in Leeds city centre. It was at a rather upmarket location which normally housed posh dinners and designer clothes. Of course, it was one I’d walked past a lot of times but never visited. The page gave a link to where you could buy kilos in advance, as well as pay for entry.

At this point, alarm bells didn’t ring – it did seem a little strange that the organisers were asking people to pay the entry fee in advance, with no option to pay at the door. With all the fairs I’ve been to, people can have the choice of either-or. I brushed away my misgivings, assuming that it was just because of the size of the venue. I clicked on the link, and paid my £1.50 by debit card.

Luckily (bearing in mind what transpired) I decided not to pay £12 for a Image of money being handed over with a red cross in the cornerkilo upfront. As it was an organiser I’d never come across before, I thought what they meant by ‘vintage’ might be different to my definition. Would there be a chance of finding any 1960s treasure, or would it be all lumberjack shirts and Levis?

The day came, and I arrived at the venue in good time. No sign on the door saying there was a kilo sale today, but I opened the door anyway.

It was locked. Shut. And there was no doorbell.

So I walked around the back of the building to see if there was another way in. None whatsoever.

I went back onto the Facebook event page to check whether it had been cancelled or moved, but the page appeared to have been deleted!

Running out of ideas, I even tried checking out the Events page on the venue’s website – nothing. As a last resort, I rang the venue to see if anyone was around – bear in mind that this was a Sunday! All I got an automated message saying their answering machine was full.

I got the message too, and came home.

Trying to get to the bottom of it, I searched Google and found that there was meant to have been a kilo sale organised by them the day before in another city – this was down as ‘cancelled’. Future events all over the country (though noticeably not the one in Leeds) had also been cancelled.

Finally, I messaged the organisers through the page selling the tickets (which hadn’t been taken down) to find out what had happened. To date, I have not received a reply.

And to this day, I have no idea what happened. Was it a scam to get What happened?!people to hand over money upfront for nowt? Did the venue even know there was going to be an event that day? It truly was a mystery…

You call this ‘vintage’?!

Last year, I was back in London for the weekend. On my itinerary, there was a new-to-me vintage shop I’d heard about online. With promises of regular ‘£1 sales’ and items ranging from the 1960s to the 1990s, I was looking forward to checking it out.

The shop was not easy to get to. I got lost several times around East London, walking in the wrong direction and having to constantly check Google Maps for help. At one point, the map led me through a park!

Finally, I got to the shop. Tucked away within a small semi-industrial unit, the yellow sign was full of promise. I stepped forward full of anticipation.

As soon as I turned the corner, I was speechless. My first encounter was with rails of jumpers and denim jackets outside – they looked like items that had been rejected from a charity shop. Stained, torn, dirty – they looked like utter tat.

Things didn’t get any better when I walked into the unit. Some of the ‘vintage’ stuff advertised had labels that looked all too familiar to those on today’s High Street. Quite a few items didn’t even look as if they’d been inspired by vintage fashions.

When I finally found something that looked decent quality – a black and Pile of old tatty clothing white gingham shirt – I was full of relief.

The relief seeped away when I got to the light. Closer inspection of the shirt found it had little rust marks at the yoke.

In short, there was nothing at the shop that could be salvaged or recrafted using my level of sewing skill. I left empty-handed and disappointed. And I got lost getting back to the tube station…

Conclusion

Not all vintage events are the same – some can be hugely disappointing, as well as costing time and money. Unfortunately, the popularity of vintage has attracted some less-than-scrupulous people who only want to make a few quid out of it before moving onto the next big thing.

On a happier note, have a look of these reviews of some of my favourite events:

Festival of Vintage (back again on 20th and 21st April 2018)
Haworth 1960s Weekender (returning on 30th June and 1st July 2018)
Saltaire Vintage Fair (next one on 24th March 2018)

Have you had any nightmares at a vintage event? Share your experiences in the comments box below!


09
Feb 18

1960s Fashion Magazines – Sweet Style From Honey

Introduction

In a previous post, I talked about 1960s fashion magazines. THE mostGet the Honey look! popular fashion magazine of the time was Honey. It was a prominent publication throughout the 1960s and beyond.

This post will be about Honey itself, including it being the first magazine to extend its’ reach beyond the pages. It also promoted a lifestyle and a look – ‘the Honey look’ – for its’ readers.

Early days

The first issue of Honey came out in April 1960. Unlike most magazines at the time, this was a glossy monthly publication rather than coming out weekly.

Launched by Fleetway Publications, Honey was founded by Audrey Slaughter. Jean McKinley was identified as the editor by the fifth issue. The tagline from October 1960 was ‘For the teens and twenties’ – their target audience.

The teenage and twenty-something female audience was a new one at the start of the decade. Before then, there was very little fashion or magazines specifically focussed on them. The expectation was that they’d move straight from leaving school at fifteen to planning (and dressing for) their future lives as wives and mothers.

By 1962, the tagline on the front cover had changed to ‘Young, gay and get-ahead’ . A reflection of the changes to come…but confirmation of the type of reader they wanted. Honey was aimed at aspirational and affluent young women – the ‘dolly bird’ that was at the centre of the fashion scene.

The articles included horoscopes, careers and relationship advice, and of course the latest beauty and fashion trends!

Sixties heyday

At its’ height, Honey sold about 250,000 copies a month. The price was 2 shillings (about £1.64 today). Other magazines, such as Petticoat and 19, were launched in 1966 and 1968 respectively to compete with it.

In 1965, Honey Boutiques opened to take advantage of the magazine’s success. This was really the first time that a young female look was commercialised in this way.

The first boutique was within Schofields department store in Leeds, and another 26 had opened in the UK by the end of the year. There ended up being over 100 branches in cities including Birmingham, Manchester and London.

Within the boutiques, customers could get the clothes featured in Honey’s pages. Shop assistants – known as ‘Honey girls’ – gave advice on make-up and hair too. This was a forerunner to the personal shoppers in some shops and department stores now. Famous faces were spotted too at the boutiques, including Cathy McGowan.

As the sixties went on, Honey reflected changes in the world as well as fashion. Campaigning articles dealing with more serious issues such as the Vietnam War and racism were included.

The Seventies and the end

Honey was still well read into the 1970s. The content and the readershipA person reading a popular magazine from the 1960s moved away from the teenage market.

By 1980, however, sales began to fall. September 1986 was the very last edition of Honey. It was then merged into 19, which itself stopped being printed in 2004.

A return?

Confusingly, there is now another magazine called Honey. However, this is an American one and more focussed on celebrities and music, particularly hip-hop and modern R&B.

Conclusion

Honey was truly a magazine of its’ time. The life advice combined with the fashion and beauty guided the reader into the desired ‘Honey look’ as well as a ‘Honey attitude’.

I’m still on the lookout for original copies of the magazine, and will update this post with any new insights once I get my hands on one!

Please share this post on social media if you enjoyed reading it!


02
Feb 18

Sixties Fashion For Women – The Backlash!

Introduction

The change in women’s fashion in the 1960s was seismic and brought in Opposition to Sixties fashiona wave of youthfulness. Sophisticated styles from the 1950s were replaced by bright colours, mini skirts and clothing more suitable to the working and social lives of young women.

However, not everyone approved of the new sixties fashion for women. More conservative countries saw this change in clothing as a threat to traditional values. To them, clothing was more than just what you wore – it signified your role in society.

Today, this post will look at this backlash against 1960s fashion for women, both in the UK and abroad.

Shock of the new

To get what was going on, it’s best to briefly look at the context in which post-war fashion developed.

During World War 2, women were expected to take full part in the war effort, working in factories and farms to keep the country going while men were fighting. Square shoulders, trousers, and platform shoes gave the image of strength and resilience in tough circumstances.

Once the War was over and those men who survived returned to civilian life, women were pressurised into returning to their previous domestic sphere. Dior’s New Look, with nipped-in waists and full skirts, caught this new mood, and was consequentially impractical for work. The fashions of the fifties dictated women’s more restricted roles.

Opposition in the UK…

These old-fashioned gender roles were still stuck in the fifties by the time the next decade came around. In Foale and Tuffin: The Sixties, Sally Tuffin recalls an incident when she was spat at while walking down the street in the ‘new style’ of clothing.

Even Mary Quant said that the Chelsea Look she brought onto the streets in the early to mid 1950s caused uproar. When she wore shorter skirts, she was insulated from criticism to a large extent by the creative and bohemian crowd she went round with.

Despite their growing popularity amongst women, trousers were still frowned upon for formal occasions. Even in the late sixties, women wearing trousers could still be refused entry to high-end restaurants.

The miniskirt (and then the microskirt) was loved by many, but criticismImage of a minidress with a black cross over it of it came with the rise of first-wave feminism during the decade. Some feminists believed that miniskirts were moving away from offering liberation to women, and instead towards clothing that was uncomfortable and geared towards gaining male approval.

…and abroad

Of all the clothing that women wore, both the miniskirt and the trouser were the items that caused the biggest controversy. More detail about women and trousers is here, but I want to focus upon the storm that the miniskirt caused in other countries.

Several European countries banned the wearing of miniskirts in public during the 1960s. This even included the Netherlands for a brief period.

Post-independence African countries were some of the most vocal opponents of the miniskirt. Heads of state (who were all male) disapproved of all Western clothing, seeing it as getting in the way of them developing their own national identity.

There was also fear of what else the miniskirt represented – female independence and autonomy from men. Countries such as Tanzania, where the youth wing of the ruling TANU party began a campaign of physical attacks on miniskirt-wearing women in 1968, were (and still are) deeply conservative in terms of gender roles.

Having said that, the treatment of women as second-class citizens was still happening in the majority of societies across the world.

Conclusion

Opposition to sixties fashion was not just about the piece of clothing itself. In a fast-changing world, women wearing trousers and miniskirts (though not at the same time!) were seen as a challenge to traditional male authority. The response by some was repressive, to say the least.

What do you think of this post? Please leave a comment below!


26
Jan 18

Best Books Of The 1960s – Quant On Quant

(Affiliate Disclosure: Go Go Sixties is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.)

My Rating: 9 out of 10

About the book

Quant On Quant is, in my opinion, one of the best books on the 1960s. This autobiography of the British fashion designer Mary Quant was written in 1966, and tells the story of how she became the foremost designer of the late 1950s and the 1960s. This is a review of the book, which includes some of my favourite quotes from it.

The inside front and back covers of this latest edition of the book (published in 2012 by V&A Publishing) match the metallic lilac and purple of the frontsides, and detail sketches of dress designs.

Mary Quant’s voice is established from the start, with a foreword from her. She says that she was lucky to have had such a wonderful career in fashion, and didn’t realise until she looked back how hard she worked at the time.

Before all the hard work, the biography begins when Quant was sixteen and studying at Goldsmiths Colege in London to become an art teacher. This was where she met her future husband and business partner Alexander Plunket Greene.

Quate from Mary Quant about rules

As I continued reading, I got the sense that Mary and Alexander were living a very unconventional lifestyle for a young couple in the early 1950s. They lived together before having a quiet wedding at Chelsea Registry Office and a honeymoon in Ibiza.

Their relationship sounds brilliant – the book details all the fun they had together, as well as how well they got on working side by side. You get the feeling they’d be best friends if there was no romance between them.

The narrative also gives some detail of Mary’s childhood. Her parents were both teachers from Wales who had worked their way up to humble beginnings to enter their professions, and the same ‘work work work’ ethic was drummed into the young Mary and her brother Tony.

The ‘make do and mend’ philosophy around at the time contributed to Mary beginning to develop her own personal style. She recalls how much she enjoyed making her own clothes at a young age. Her Aunt Frances was a medium and spiritualist who predicted a successful future career as a fashion designer (as well as meeting Alexander!)

Quant reveals how lean times were before her boutique, Bazaar, was opened in 1955 with a £5000 inheritance Alexander received on his 21st birthday (the equivalent to over £130,470 now!) together with another £5000 contributed by Archie McNair, their business partner. With very little money working at a milliner, she had to refashion her dresses each year so that they looked new.

The success of Bazaar even led to a robbery, which is detailed on page Quote from Mary Quant about the point of clothes 57. It was highly well-planned, happening in a 10-minute window while Quant and Plunket Greene were away from the shop. Luckily, this audacious crime occurred before their delayed new collection arrived!

On the other side of the coin, the rapid success together with the long hours she was working became overwhelming for Quant. She reports a particular time when this, combined with the death of a dear friend and colleague, caused her to experience depression. Plunket Greene sent her to Malta to convalesce, which resulted in travelling around Europe (with very little money and catching planes at the right times so she could get a meal each day) until the overwhelm lifted.

The middle of the book features black and white images of models such as Jean Shrimpton and Celia Hammond wearing Quant’s designs.

At points in the book, Quant gives her advice on fashion as well as discussing her experiences of running a fast-expanding business. A basic mix-and-match wardrobe is recommended based on separates in co-ordinated colours, including a pinafore dress, jacket, skirt, jumper, trousers and shirt.

The book ends in New York City (which Mary and Alexander frequently travelled to once the designs became popular in the USA) with the second collection for Puritan Fashion being launched. This was for a high-end department store customer base.

About the author

Check out my previous post about Mary Quant for more information.Quote from Mary Quant about wearing clothes

Who the book is for

Obviously, this book is for people interested in Mary Quant and 1960s fashion designers! However, fashion students and historians will find it useful. Entrepreneurs (whether in fashion or not) can find valuable guidance in the book, even though it’s not strictly a ‘how to build a fashion label’ book.

How will it help you?

Quant On Quant will help you see the rapid changes of the mid 1950s to mid 1960s through the eyes of someone who was in the thick of it.

Why do I recommend it?

This autobiography is of one of the most famous British fashion designers ever, as well as a pretty cool and fun-loving woman.

Pros

-A really enjoyable read
-No chapters, which helps the story to flow
-A relatively short book (179 pages)

Con

-Worn out by the time I’d finished, due to the fast pace by the end!

Click here to buy it (in paperback and on Kindle) ←


19
Jan 18

Really Cool Stuff To Buy…But Not Necessarily To Wear

Introduction

With the stocks of the original 1960s clothing that you and I love so Pink paisley-print blouse in a monochrome ornate framemuch being finite, the time has come where the quality stuff really isn’t as easy to find or as affordable as it used to be.

Really cool stuff to buy from the Swinging Sixties can still be found, of course, but not always at a bargain price.

Ways to find it are still possible, but instead of spending money, you’re spending time rummaging round for what you want. In all too many cases, you’re searching through more trash to find that one treasure.

If you don’t fancy buying sixties-inspired clothes or can’t/won’t make them yourself, AND you do have a bit of money to spare, what’s the  next move?

Well, one way forward is to invest in clothing from the sixties. It’s a shift from seeing them as purely something to wear (as people would have done back then in the same way people now will pick something up at Primark this afternoon to wear for tonight) to something that’s to be treated like an antique.

Even though you may not see these on Antiques Roadshow anytime soon, this post will take a look at the world of investing in vintage clothing – the whys, the wearing, the cost, and the care.

Ready? Let’s go, then!

Why invest in vintage clothing?

It will increase in value. This is especially true for designer labels of theCoins in a row, with the piles growing progressively larger time. Imagine getting hold of a mint condition YSL fisherman jacket! Or one of Foale and Tuffin’s trouser suits. Even a lesser-known designer can have some value, and those in the know can spot these wherever they may go.

So that you don’t turn up at a party or gathering wearing the same thing as everyone else. Even items that were originally from the High Street (such as from Marks and Spencer) are not often found more than once. (if that happens, just congratulate the wearer on their vintage shopping tenacity!)

Sustainability – a third reason. Buying and wearing something second-hand means one less item made and bought.

It’s got a story to it! Imagine if that blouse can talk…and looking into the history of the garment (fabric used, designer, part of the 1960s it is from, etc) can add an extra depth and meaning to it.

Does that mean I can never wear my collection?!

Not necessarily, as long as you can actually fit in it! If the garment has managed to last through the 1960s until now, then it should be constructed well enough to survive an evening meal or an awards ceremony.

But still take care, though! That beautiful empire-line evening dress may not work well on a big night out pubbing and clubbing. Best to stick to pieces made from durable synthetic fabrics such as Terylene!

How much will it cost to start out?

If you’re going down the designer route, be prepared to shell out! Even if it’s not an original Gerald McCann, say, then a piece in good condition will likely cost at least the same as a typical modern-day mid-range High Street item (so maybe £25-£30 for a jumper or £40-£45 for a shift dress).

Any signature items from a particular designer will also be the most popular – a pair of Courreges go-go boots, for example.

Having said that, Oxfam has now developed to be the online retailer ‘in the know’ for getting hold of vintage designer gear. I hope to talk about them in much more detail in a future post, but let’s just say that this is a good place to start your collection.

A word of warning – before you invest, check that the garment is really from the 1960s. For you designer vintage collectors in particular, the authenticity is something that can only really be verified by trusted sellers.

How do I look after my wardrobe?

Here are three top tips:

Make sure you follow the care instructions, especially when they’re asCare label for the blouse clear as the list in the picture! This will make the difference between a quality item that stays looking quality, and one that looks the worse for wear.

Store the items somewhere where mould and moths cannot get to them. You can (carefully) make use of moth balls and mini-dehumidifiers within boxes – the containers themselves will shield against any damage or discolouration to the fabric that can be caused by the sun.

Keep up with repairs – if you’d find it tricky to do it yourself, look for a clothing repair service that can do the job. If they have experience with vintage clothing, then all the better!

If the item is super-delicate and you have any doubts about whether you can put in the time and money needed to maintain the condition, then put it back on the rack or out of your virtual shopping basket – this will save you time and trouble in the long run.

Conclusion

Collecting fashion from the 1960s can be just as fun as wearing it. You don’t always have to fit into it, which is a big advantage for those of us who aren’t a size 8! Searching for top-quality pieces can be done regardless of your budget.

Have you begun to collect vintage clothing? Do you fancy making a start on your collection? Is there anything else you’d like to know beforehand? Please leave a comment in the box below.


12
Jan 18

Adult Colouring Books Are In Fashion!

(Affiliate Disclosure: GoGoSixties.com is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.)

My Rating: 9 out of 10

About the book

Vogue Goes Pop by Iain R. Webb is one of the increasing number of adult colouring books of fashion drawings. This one is inspired by the pages of Vogue during the 1960s, and is what this review will focus on.

Twiggy is on the front cover, as well as on the pages of the book itself. Wearing a daisy-printed ‘dandy suit’ from April 15th 1967, the front image of her is partly coloured in already. I noted that the duplicate image is also on page 15.

(Before I continue, I have to say that I was seriously impressed by the Op Art-inspired hologrammed lettering of the ‘Goes Pop’, as well as the whole coloured-in illustration effect of the cover.)

To my surprise, I found the cover was a soft slip one – removing it, I saw that both the front and back covers are left blank for the reader to colour them in themselves. This gives that extra-special touch, and makes it look like a copy of the magazine itself. The turquoise underside of the slip cover matches the inside front and back covers of the book, adding an extra bit of quality to the publication.

The pictures are hand-drawn by the author, accompanied by captions for each. The captions themselves were used in the original Vogue magazines, and give guidance on what colours to use in each illustration. Of course, feel free to use your imagination and decide which colours you want to use!

Noticeably, the captions don’t include prices for the clothing! A set of colouring pencils making up the colours of the rainbow

I loved page three, which only says ‘This book has been coloured in by…’. This gives a fun touch to a seriously sophisticated colouring book.

On page 5, there is a foreword from the author talking about how music, film, fashion, art and politics and celebrity all came together during the 1960s.

And then the pictures themselves – all 93 of them (not including the front and back covers!) These are printed on both sides of the paper, meaning colouring pencils would be better to use than felt tip pens so as to avoid any colours soaking through onto other images.

There’s not just the fashions to colour in, but also the backgrounds themselves.

The experience of colouring itself was something I enjoyed – this is something I hadn’t done since I was a child. I found it very relaxing and calming.

The original images were taken by noted photgraphers such as Cecil Beaton, and all are credited on the back page. Acknowledgements from the author are also included.

About the author

Iain R Webb is the author of several books about fashion, including Foale and Tuffin – The Sixties: A Decade in Fashion. He also wrote and illustrated the Vogue Colouring Book.

The author has been involved in the world of fashion for nearly forty years, and has been a fashion journalist and magazine editor.

Iain R. Webb is currently Professor of Design at Kingston University and a consultant to the Fashion Museum in Bath.

Who the book is for

This colouring book is for people who are interested in fashion, adult colouring books, or both! Fans of the Vogue Colouring Book will like this one too.

How will it help you?

This will provide you with fashion inspiration from the Swinging Sixties, and help you to learn what to look out for at a vintage fashion event.Calm waters with 'And...relax...' written above

Also, this book will help people who want to chill out and have some time out from all the stresses and strains of everyday life.

Why do I recommend it?

This is an highly enjoyable and fun book that people can use to relax with and ‘get mindful’, as well as use as a reference point for 1960s fashion.

Pros

-Thick, high quality paper used
-Lots of fun to colour in!
-The abundance of quality images making the book great value for money
-Easy to see how fashions changed during the decade

Con

-Some of the illustrations include clothing with highly intricate prints, making them potentially quite tricky and/or time-consuming to complete

—> Click here to buy it from Amazon.co.uk <—


05
Jan 18

Quotes About Sixties Fashion And Style

Introduction

Today, I thought I’d take a look at a few of the best quotes about theQuotes about Sixties fashion and style fashion and style of the 1960s. These are from people you may (or may not) know.

As well as the quotes themselves, this post will tell you about the people behind the quotes as well as (hopefully) some fascinating facts about them.

Ready to start? Let’s go go!

Get free

Veruschka von Lehndorff, who was most commonly known as Veruschka, was one of the most well-known faces of the 1960s. The German-born model appeared on the front cover of many magazines in the second half of the decade, including Vogue in the US and UK.Quote from Veruschka von Lehndorff

After finishing modelling in 1975, Veruschka focussed on acting and art. On top of these, she also got involved in the music scene. In 2010, Veruschka contributed guest vocals on two songs by the German experimental electronic duo ANBB for their album Mimikry.

Red alert

Bill Blass was a fashion designer of the 1960s who designed stylish clothes for the socialites of the time. The American-born Blass began his fashion career in 1945, and continued throughout the rest of his life. In 1959, he became head designer at Maurice Rentner and bought the company in 1967, naming it after himself three years later.

During the sixties, Blass’ trademark designs included dresses with lots of ruffles and lace. His casual wear for women borrowed from the sportswear shapes of menswear. In contrast, Blass’ skirt suits were tailored to fit a more feminine shape.Quote from Bill Blass

Bright primary colours like red were indeed part of the youthful vibrancy of sixties fashion.

Fashion for all

This quote below from Pierre Cardin sums up the democratisation of fashion that happened in the 1960s. This was started in Britain by Mary Quant way back in 1955, and continued with other British labels such as Foale and Tuffin and Biba.

Even though he was trained as a couturier, Cardin himself set out to create fashion for all at his Paris fashion house. After launching a ready-to-wear range for the French department store Printemps in 1959, he was briefly excluded as a member of the Chambre Syndicale (the trade association for the French fashion industry). Cardin was the first couturier to design such a collection.Quote from Pierre Cardin

In the 1960s, the Pierre Cardin brand could be found on cosmetics and perfume as well as his designs – his logo was the first to feature on clothing. Cardin was very much a futurist in fashion, and created clothing using geometric shapes and fabrics such as PVC.

More more more!

Do you want more quotes about fashion and style from the Swinging Sixties? And some from people who were there?

Well, you can find them from other fashion designers and models. On top of all that, you can find some cool information too.

Conclusion

I find it really interesting what people say about 1960s fashion, as well as all the cool colours and patterns. The sheer number of quotable people says so much about how radical style from the time was as compared to other decades.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share with your friends on social media!

 


22
Dec 17

After Yves Saint Laurent…

Introduction

Marc Bohan is a French fashion designer who became well-knownQuote from Marc Bohan - N'oubliez pas la femme during the 1960s for replacing Yves Saint Laurent as creative director of Dior. Due to Saint Laurent being asked to undertake national service, the company saw a way to return the label to a less radical and youthful look. Therefore, Bohan was promoted from his previous position within Dior.

The quote from Marc Bohan to the right can be translated as ‘Remember the woman’. This sums up what his designs were all about – prioritising the wearer’s comfort and femininity above constant changes in fashion.

Instead of doing a standard biography of Marc Bohan and his career (focussing on the sixties, of course!) I will give three interesting facts about him and his designs.

He already had a past!

Before starting work for Christian Dior (when Dior was still alive), Marc Bohan already had a track record in fashion and couture of over fifteen years behind him.

Born in Paris on 22nd August 1926, Bohan began in fashion in 1945 when he worked at the fashion house of Robert Piguet. Dior himself designed under Piguet before launching his own label.

After leaving Piguet, Bohan worked for several other Paris-based designers, including the British-born Edward Molyneux. He took charge of the designs for Dior’s London line of clothing in 1958.

Not shaken by the youthquake

In contrast to Saint Laurent’s ‘beatnik’ look during his last collection for  Dior in 1960, Marc Bohan’s first collection a year later was much more welcomed by haute couture customers. The designs were heavily influenced by the 1920s – ironically, a decade that had the same youthful energy as the 1960s.

Bohan visited London in 1966 at the height of Swinging London, but was left unimpressed by the styles from designers such as Foale and Tuffin.

Despite this, the influence of the youthquake could still be seen in Bohan’s designs for Dior. His eveningwear in particular incorporated shorter skirt lengths and more exposed skin through discreet cutouts.

Designing for little people

As well as designing clothing for women, Bohan built upon Dior’s occasional designs for kids. Christian Dior himself enjoyed creating one-off garments for his friends’ and clients’ children.

This resulted in the first branch of Baby Dior that opened in Paris on November 7th 1967. The store’s opening was launched by Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly known as the American actress Grace Kelly.

Bohan created two ready-to-wear collections a year just for children. The designs included clothing emblazoned with the ‘CD’ monograph, cream lace dresses and frilled necklines. Baby Dior nodded to the adult fashions of the late 1960s, but the designs still looked like they were specifically for kids.

Predicting the new direction

Bohan’s most famed collection was in 1966, when this was heavily influenced by the film Doctor Zhivago. Released in the UK that year, the long military-style coats and knee-high boots were combined with shorter skirts – a portent of what was to come in fashion.

Bohan was not the first or only designer to find inspiration from Doctor Zhivago, but he is most remembered for ushering in the change of style in the latter part of the 1960s – borrowing from other cultures of clothing and embracing a more austere, less fun look.

Conclusion

Despite his fashion career continuing until 1989 with Dior and enjoying success in the 1990s under his own label, Marc Bohan is most well-known for the classic and simple designs that were suited to the older woman.

Just like other established designers in the 1960s, the energy of young London-based fashion couldn’t help but influence his creations. Bohan’s designs even began to effect the direction that fashion began to go into during the later years of the decade.

Please share this post on social media if you’ve found it informative!

(Other Sources – From the Archives: Marc Bohan for Dior
Marc Bohan – Fashion Designer Encyclopedia
Marc Bohan)


15
Dec 17

Popular Fashions From The 1960s In One Little Book!

(Affiliate Disclosure: Go Go Sixties is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.)

My Rating: 7 out of 10

About the book

Fashion Sourcebooks: The 1960s is a year-by-year guide to the styles and fashions worn in the 1960s by both men and women. This will be a review of the book itself, where I’ll be looking at what’s in it and how it’ll help you.

It is a slim volume – only 64 pages long – and measures 22.1 x 0.8 x 24.1 cm (or 8.7 x 0.3 x 9.5 inches, if you’re into imperial measurements).

Despite the size, it is packed with illustrations – 332, in fact. All of these are ‘duotype’ ones, which is a printing term to describe the method by which the illustrations were created.

What does it mean for you, the reader? It simply means that the illustrations in the book are in white and varying shades of orange/peach. This is in contrast to the full-colour images on the front cover.

The book itself

The introduction to the book is brief, but draws parallels with the fashions of the 1920s. The author sees they have the aspiration for a young look in common, in terms of the shorter skirt lengths and straighter lines of the clothing.

The introduction also gives an overview of the changes to fashion in the 1960s, including the rise of boutiques and fabrics used. Changes to menswear are mentioned too.Pencil sketch of a shift dress

The book is clear in stating that the clothes featured are not those that would’ve been worn by young people who were part of the youthquake. Instead, the images show what people would have worn who were simply aware of the latest trends. 

The sources cited for the illustrations include magazines and catalogues from the UK, North America and western Europe, as well as the author’s own collection of clothing from the time.

As you go through each year, the changes in fashion can easily be seen. An example of this is the shortening of skirt lengths from 1963 onwards, as well as the younger look that was so popular by the middle of the decade.

Each year of images is sub-divided into Day Wear, Evening Wear, Sports and Leisure Wear, and alternating between Underwear/Negligee and Accessories. This may well have been a reflection of how comparatively slowly these changed compared to outer clothing.

A change to this structure is the replacement of the Evening Wear section with Wedding Wear in 1964 and 1967. These years are when wedding dresses underwent the biggest changes – from conservative 1950s styles to romantic vintage-inspired looks, via younger and more minimalist designs.

From page 49 onwards, there are detailed descriptions of each illustration – these include the colour of the garment, fastening, fabrics, etc. The reader has to use their imagination to visualise the colours used in the illustrations.

After this comes two pages of small and simple drawings to show how shapes, styles, etc changed year by year in each sub-section of garment.

At page 62 comes short, paragraph-long biographies of the most notable fashion designers of the 1960s. This is not up-to-date, which is unsurprising given the book was published in 1998. Designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Courrèges are just two who have since passed away.

The back page lists further sources of information – books, magazines and journals.

About the author

John Peacock has had vast experience in fashion and costume, having worked for the BBC for many years as a Senior Costume Designer. This book is part of a series of Fashion Sourcebooks he has written covering the 1920s to the 1980s.

John Peacock has also written other publications on fashion and costume throughout history.

Who the book is for

The inside front cover tells the reader who the book is for – fashionLightbulb moment - fashion inspiration enthusiasts, historians and collectors, as well as providing inspiration to students and designers beyond fashion.

To that, I would say this is also for people new to sixties fashion who want to know what to look out for at a vintage shop or clothing website.

However, the more casual enthusiasts who just want to know more about fashion from the 1960s may be put off by the lack of colour images.

How will it help you?

This book will help you get the authentic look of a specific year within the 1960s if you need it. A party or a wedding anniversary are the types of occasions I’m thinking of.

I personally have used other books within the author’s series of fashion sourcebooks to get a specific look for a birthday celebration.

Why do I recommend it?

It’s a handy guide to what fashion was like in the 1960s, and one that would be a useful resource to many groups of people.

Pros

-Helpful if you’re interested in a particular part of the 1960s or a specific type of clothing (evening wear, accessories, etc)
-A concise guide to the fashions of the 1960s

Cons

-The illustrations not being in full colour
-The book is from 1998, meaning that details of further sources of information are not always up-to-date

===>Click here to buy it now!<===

If you have any questions or want to leave your own personal review, please leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!


08
Dec 17

African Fashion Models In The 1960s – A Real-Life Princess

Introduction

While doing research on my previous posts for Black History Month,Princess, barrister, model which included looking for African fashion models in the 1960s, I stumbled upon an image of Princess Elizabeth of Toro. When I dug deeper, I soon realised that she has led a full and active life both before and after being in front of the camera and on the catwalk.

The Princess really was born into royalty, and already had a successful career in law by the time she entered the modelling scene.

This post will talk about this fascinating figure whose life could so easily be a novel in itself!

A woman of many firsts

Princess Elizabeth Christobel Edith Bagaaya Akiiki of Toro was born in 1936 in the Kingdom of Toro. This was and still is located in the south-west of Uganda.

After spending the bulk of her education privately schooled in Uganda, she was sent to Sherbourn School for Girls in Dorset. She was the sole black student there.

A year later, the Princess was accepted into Gorton College, part of the University of Cambridge, to study law, politics and history. She was only the third African woman in the institution’s history to be accepted, as well as the first woman from Uganda.

In 1965, three years after graduating from Cambridge with a law degree, the Princess became the first woman from East Africa to be admitted into the English legal profession as a barrister. By this time, she had been given the title and office of Batebe (Princess Royal) after the death of her father Rukidi III of Toro.

Life in front of the camera

Princess Elizabeth had returned to Uganda and become the first woman to be called to the country’s bar in 1966 by the time her modelling career began. Princess Margaret (sister to Queen Elizabeth II) invited her to come to London to model in a charity fashion catwalk show. This was a fortuitous event, given the dangerous political climate of the time.

This resulted in the Batebe’s new career taking off. She was photographed by David Bailey and Patrick (later Lord) Lichfield for magazines such as Vogue in the UK and US. She was also signed up to The Peter Lumley Agency in London – the top modelling agency in the city.

Princess Elizabeth was friends with the ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn, who introduced her to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. She then arranged a meeting between Diana Vreeland, editor of American Vogue, and the British ambassador to the US Lord Harlech.

As a result, Vreeland invited the Batebe to New York to model for Vogue. This resulted in the first ever photoshoot for the magazine that featured a black model, in the summer 1969 edition.

Princess Elizabeth then signed to the Ford Model Agency in New York, and became the first black woman to appear on the front cover of the November 1969 edition of Harper’s Bazaar. She didn’t even know she’d be on the cover until she walked past the newsagents and saw the magazine!

Despite the success she enjoyed as a model in the UK and the US, the Princess saw modelling as only a means to an end. The real purpose of it for her was to promote black culture and to give an image of black women as elegant and beautiful.

Work after modelling

The Princess returned to Uganda in 1971. She took the lead role in theGracing the silver screen film Things Fall Apart, which was filmed entirely in Nigeria. The film, also called Bullfrog in the Sun, was based upon two books written by the eminent Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe.

In 1974, she was briefly appointed as Uganda’s minister for foreign affairs by the self-declared president General Idi Amin. In 1975, she fled the dictator’s brutal regime for London (via Kenya and Venice) and remained in exile until the country’s first democratic elections in 1979.

Princess Elizabeth, along with her future husband Prince Wilberforce Nyabongo, returned to London in 1980 where they married the year after.

There was even a role in a second film – Sheena (in 1984). In the movie, the Princess played a shaman within the tribe that the orphaned main character is brought up in.

In 1986, the Batebe was appointed as ambassador to the United States, a post she held until 1988. After her husband was killed in a plane crash that year, she began to devote more of her time to charity work and the guardianship of the current Toro monarch Rukidi IV, who is also her nephew.

She also found time to write and publish her autobiography in 1988 – Elizabeth of Toro: The Odyssey of an African Princess.

The Princess is now Uganda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, thus continuing her role as an international diplomat.

Conclusion

WOW!! Princess Elizabeth of Toro is such a fascinating person to find out more about! With careers in law and international relations both before and after modelling, she has so much more substance than the stereotypical ‘dolly bird’ model you’d expect to find in the 1960s.

Please share this post with your friends on social media!

(Other sources – Princess Elizabeth of ToroElizabeth Bagaya – Princess Who Stole The Heart Of The West)