1960-1980 were revolutionary for political, social and fashion. The early 1960s changed how we viewed important social norms and the 1970s saw political upheavals that transformed feminism and fashion. The influential Baby Boomer generation rocked the fashion world in this important time. Women were engineers, fashion icons, designers and defined key fashion trends that remained trendy even today.
The bikini’s origins can be traced back to antiquity, Louis Réard, a French engineer created the modern bikini on 5 July 1946. Without a willing to wear this daring piece, it was modeled by Micheline Bernardini, a dancer from a music hall at a press conference in Paris. While French women welcomed the design, the Catholic Church called it scandalous. The bikini did not catch on immediately, It was Brigitte Bardot, the Girl in the Bikini and Ursula Andress that made every woman dream about being a Bond Girl in Dr. No.
French fashion historian Olivier Saillaird once said: “the emancipation of swimwear has always been linked to the emancipation of women.” The bikini is still a controversial fashion item (it is still banned in many nations around the world), the swimwear industry is now worth $13.25 billion annually, with a large portion of that from the sale of bikinis.
The mini-skirt was first introduced by British designer, Mary Quant, who pioneered the London-based Mod fashion movement and encouraged the media attention of trends like short skirts and hot pants. Since the 1950s, designers have been shrinking women’s clothing, and Quant was part of that revelation. The mini-skirt remains a symbol of youth culture, sexual liberation and the rise of pop and rock culture.
Boots have existed in fashion since the 19th Century. But it was in the 1970s that the modern knee-high boot became a trend. Before the 1970s boots were worn for utilitarian purposes, to avoid dirty streets or protect you from inclement weather. Designers such as Yves St. Laurent and Beth Levine brought the fashion forward boot the attention it deserved and icons like Nancy Sinatra with her song, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin” cemented the modern boot into fashion history.
These fashion trends are only a small window into the clothing evolution that fashion saw during this time. It was these iconic pieces that brought attention to liberation, expression and creativity that has stayed in fashion ever since.