Sep 4, 2010 Christina Gregoire
Vintage Mod Dress – photo wikimedia commons Mix Go Go boots, mod mini dresses, Mary Quant, Space Age fashion, Beatlemania + Carnaby Street & you get a fab British Invasion. It feels so fun again.
January 1964 should be declared as the official beginning of the 1960s Youthquake. This was the year of the Beatles, Courreges, Mary Quant, Jean Shrimpton (wearing Mary Quant), the mini skirt, and just about anything cool that manufacturers could hype to the hordes of Baby Boomers who had just decided to put their collective foot down and throw a countrywide hissy fit to demand hip and youthful fashion. Fortunately, designers saw dollar signs and gave them what they wanted.
British Invasion and Beatlemania
How important was music to Boomers? Well, it was right up there with lust and air. Boomers cannot draw a decent timeline unless we can correlate it to the release of a good rock song. So, for all of you who can’t or won’t remember January 1964, that was the month the Beatles threw the Beach Boys under the bus and planted a giant Union Jack on every radio station from New England to San Diego.
It was like some rock star had decided to move into your spare bedroom. Beatlemania changed the life of anyone who was between 12 and 17. Beatles bubblegum trading cards, Fab Four lunchboxes, Ringo boots, and God knows what else. But, Beatlemania also brought hip London-based fashion to the unwashed masses of gangly American teens and preteens.
1964 spanned a lot of stunning fashion styles as couturiers let their imaginations fly and capture amazingly creative looks for an affluent mid-sixties world. The earth’s atmosphere seemed to be filled with some kind of artistic oxygen that gave everyone an inventive burst. Artistic energy was everywhere and fashion jumped well outside of 1950s norms:
- Vogue January 1964
- Vogue February 1964 with Wilhelmina
- Vogue April 1964
- Vogue September 1964
- Vogue October 1964 with the beautiful Veruschka
Mini Skirts and Space Fashion
Both Andre Courreges, a French fashion designer, and Mary Quant, a Brit, claim to have invented the mini skirt. The truth is (most likely) that Courreges invented it and Quant popularized it. Courreges was extremely adventurous with design and hit the world head on with his 1964 Space Age Collection that reflected the excitement of manned rockets orbiting the earth in 1963. It was a cool collection that mimicked the white and silver of real spacesuits:
- 1960s space cowgirl
- 1964 courreges boots which eventually morphed into real Go Go white boots
- A-line dress minimalism
- Courreges hat with white sunglasses
- Courreges-inspired Space Girl stewardesses
Mary Quant Fashion
Mary Quant is the British designer who spread the mini-dress and mini-skirt fashions far and wide. Because Mary Quant was from London (epicenter of the youthquake) Baby Boomers gobbled up her Mod fashion designs in their nonstop anglophilic quest. Anything from England was from the land of the gods. Teens acquired fake Cockney accents to sound cool.
- Cute Women’s Packable Raincoat, Trench or Jacket
- Best Women’s Dresses for Travel – Wrinkle Free
- Best Online Catalogs for Women Over 40 & 50
- Mary Quant’s bold patterns 1962
- Proto minis weren’t very short
- Retro Carnaby Street styles from today
- Mary Quant designs
Don’t forget to wear your white tights with your vintage fashion. And, Mary Quant is the woman who made Baby Boomers mad for Mod white lipstick and white nail polish. Girls who want to rock this look should wear Twiggy eye makeup even though Twiggy wasn’t big until about 1965.
Mod fashions came from Carnaby Street boutiques in London. They cool threads fascinated Baby Boomers who couldn’t get enough of British-inspired designs. Lucky Boomers like myself made it to Carnaby Street (and Harrod’s) back when the exchange rate rocked, that way they could have real Mod clothing to show off and impress their provincial pals in The States.
- Graphic Dots Sheath Dress
- Jackie style suit with hat
- Mod geometric hairstyle
- Palazzo Pants
- Valentino suit and hat
- Carnaby Street Fashion
- Fall suit and hat from a low-end store
- Mod hat
Fashion Icons From Mid Sixties
Anyone who is interested in fab Mod styles might want to try googling some of these people:
- Patti Boyd in a sheath dress
- Patti Boyd with the Rolling Stones
- Jean Shrimpton
- Audrey Hepburn in hat 1964
- Rudi Gernreich hits fame with topless bathing suit
Lots of women and girls look great in Beatlemania Mod Clothing. If you are very thin and have good legs, you should try this style for daywear. (Mod’s not just for Halloween costumes.) Look around online because the designs can get really outrageous and fun. Don’t forget the colored tights, boots and cap.
Copyright Christina Gregoire. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.