Resources / Centuries and Decades / 1960s


The idyll of the fifties has ended. The young wanted to change the world and have risen against values of a bourgeois society of the parents. The conflict of "fathers and children", which never till now in history was beyond interpersonal attitudes, has undermined the traditional social device of a society. Young stirrer-up of trouble started to make a strong impact on cultural and economic life in the different countries and even aspired to influence politics.

The events of the sixties are ambiguous, but the resulting changes are appreciable till now. "The Golden Age of freedom" – was a general reaction against "values of the middle class" of the post-war years and against bourgeois respectabilities. The young aspired to change the world and to find inner enlightenment, having addressed to oriental philosophy. Sexual revolution, dream of peace and love, "Flower Power", the anti-war slogan "Make Love Not War!" – this is by far incomplete picture of the sixties. However other side of freedom has not kept waiting to be manifested: moral descent, devaluation of such traditional universal values as responsibility, fidelity, sense of duty, proliferation of pornography, outspread of drug addiction. Youth associations, outspeaking against racial, social and class distinctions, and for the world peace was scattered by the end of the decade into various movement, including feminists, sexual minority, "travelers into other worlds" accompanied by LSD and other small and large communities, and even terrorist groupings. The dream of peace and love went phut.

The first thing the new generation was showing its protest with was its appearance. Having turned fashion upside down, they have found a way to shake society. Since the middle the fifties rock-and-roll generation refused to wear "decent" clothes, thus giving birth to new small boutiques. In the sixties the fashion industry was completely reoriented on youth. The well-known phrase attributed to Bridgitte Bordot - "Haute couture is for the elderly!" - in many respects reflects the mood of the decade. To stay afloat Houses of Haute couture have directed their eyes on "streets", which teemed with "rebellious" ideas. Now mums wanted to take after their daughters, and not after the refined ladies of the high society.

Designers did not want to lag behind the quickly changing whims of the new youth culture. The fashion was now guided by the image of "little girl" created by Mary Quant, not by the French Fashion houses. The ideological center and the generator of the ideas was "swinging" London where the most extravagant and stylish clothes were sold at the Carnaby Street and King Roads. However Parisian haute couture was not going to refuse its positions in the fashion industry. Young Yves Saint Laurent has challenged his constant clients with the "street" style, and for the first time in history of haute couture started to make rather inexpensive pret-a-porter clothes under YSL Rive Gauche brand. "Space style" of Courreges has shown the woman of the future: simple geometrical lines of clothes, a white material or psychedelic colors, and the integral attribute - synthetic booties with a flat sole and a square tip.

Sixteen-year model Twiggy was an embodiment of an ideal woman, though this notion is hardly applicable to her without entrenching upon the truth. At 19 she was so rich, that she did not have to work anymore. Her appearance - huge eyes, a flat figure of the teenager and long thin extremities – is the incarnation of female sexuality of the sixties. Short dress, large net color stockings, shoes looking like children's footwear – this was how "the infantile temptress" was dressed. This was the ideal woman of the decade with ill-defined attributes of femininity.

To the middle of the decade gradual truncation of female skirt has successfully come to the end with a birth of the well-known "mini". It bared female legs, opening new prospect for creativity to footwear designers. Boots (go-go boots) of various length, materials and colours have come into fashion. The fashion for boots has lasted for almost a decade. At the beginning they were with a wide boot top and were made of leather or synthetics. As the skirt moved upwards, the boots became longer and more tight-fitting. A "wet leather" effect, obtained by a special processing of leather or fabric, was extremely popular. The prices for leather at the market were incredibly high therefore designers gladly used achievements of modern technologies and alternative materials, which immediately filled up the market.

Almond-shaped tips and stilettos of the fifties have practically disappeared by 1963. Footwear acquired more rigid geometrical forms: the heel became wider and more stable. By the end of the decade the influence of ethnic, "country" and hippie styles have turned the heel into a massive and square chunk, sometimes extending to the basis – the feature that gradually turned into the well-known platform of the 70s.

The idols of decade The Beatles did their bit in the man's shoe fashion: half-boots with elastic inserts on each side after the Victorian fashion (Chelsea boots) and low boots with a side zipper and Cuban heel came back to fashion.