If ever there was a time of transition in the fashion world, the 1960s was it. 1961 saw John F. Kennedy sworn in as President, bringing with him to the White House his beautiful young wife. Jackie Kennedy quickly became a 60s fashion inspiration with her pill box hats, solid-colored dresses with simple lines, and, later, her oversized sunglasses. Other important events and influences during the decade included JFK’s subsequent assassination (who can forget the images of Jackie that day, in that famous pink Chanel suit?), the Vietnam War, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and later assassination, the birth of the “Feminine Mystique,” the British Invasion (Beatles and all), and the infamous international space race.
As the first wave of baby boomers came of age in the 1960s, the market shifted to a more youthful silhouette. Actress Brigitte Bardot popularized the baby doll look, with short skirts and big hair. Models Twiggy (Lesley Lawson) & Pattie Boyd could be seen on magazine covers and in daily life dressed in colorful shifts and space-age prints. Mary Quant introduced the mini skirt in 1964, and the influence of British pop icons and the Mods proved insurmountable.
Pucci’s brightly colored, psychedelically-patterned clothing fit in with the 1960s, especially with the popular go-go boots, PVC clothing, stiletto heels, swing coats, and velvet clothing with lace collars and cuffs a la Austin Powers. Andre Courreges’ space age clothing reflected popular ideas of the time period in the wake of John Glenn’s space orbit, and Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon.
Really for the first time, it became acceptable for women to wear pants. Especially in the wake of the hippie movement at the end of the decade, pants—and denim—became more unisex than ever before. The hippie movement saw a proliferation of bell-bottoms, and fabrics done in batik, tie-dye, and paisley. The styles and fabrics worn by these individuals were inspired by non-Western cultures like India and Africa.