The 1960s was a revolutionary decade where freedom of expression and social change were amplified through the driving forces of music and art. Creating a lasting impression on fashion, the youth challenged conventional social norms via a multitude of sartorial identities. Mods, hippies, rockers, and space age enthusiasts were just a few of the personalities that propelled fashion trends throughout the decade. The women's liberation movement reinforced feminists ideals that were suppressed during the post-war lifestyle of the 1950s. Previously prevailing exaggerated femininity was confronted with bold opposition birthing a wave of fearless style icons that continually inspire women today. Their efforts helped blur the lines of traditional gender norms which would set the stage for the androgynous look of the '70s and elevate power dressing in the '80s. Of this era, however, remains a particular look which managed to escape the often ephemeral confines of striking trends. To possess the essence of which elevates oneself to the upper echelons of fashion's elite. The '60s "it-girl" epitomized the nuanced balance of sex appeal and refinement, creating a captivating style that transcends generational limitation.
In response to newfound empowerment, the '60s accumulated an impressive list of female style icons. Jane Birkin, Angela Davis, Edie Sedgwick, Anita Pallenberg, Diana Ross, Brigitte Bardot, and Veruschka were just some of the many women that exemplify this style. The enduring spirit of these women is carried out by today's muses such as Kate Moss, Zoë Kravitz, Lou Doillon, and Sienna Miller. With an ensemble that's never trying too hard, her unmistakable look often features natural hair and a clean face accentuated by a sweep of bold eyeliner. Her wispy bangs fall just below the brow and her high cheekbones are washed with sun-kissed warmth. She might be caught in a Chelsea record store sporting a pair of loose fit slub denim jeans and an equally casual white t-shirt, or backstage at a Stones concert in leather knee-high boots and a printed miniskirt. This easygoing tailoring combined with a subversive cultural attitude yields an impossibly cool and self-assured woman who possesses that proverbial je ne sais quoi. She exudes confidence without arrogance and playfulness without naiveté. Her sex appeal is undoubtedly present without being domineering and her intellect is displayed through her deep cultural knowledge of politics, music, and art.
Many artists, musicians, and designers helped to mold the "it-girl" style of the '60s and '70s. Among them English designer, Mary Quant, famously popularized the miniskirt which embodied women's liberation and solidified the 'Chelsea Girl' look. French designer, Yves Saint Laurent, pioneered ready-to-wear culture and encouraged diversity in fashion. He paid homage to modernist artist Piet Mondrian with colorblock shift dresses and challenged the status quo with his powerful Le Smoking tuxedo suit. VOGUE called Italian designer Emilio Pucci, the "print maestro" after his psychedelic patterns generated widespread fandom and made the silk head scarf a must-have accessory. French designer, André Courrèges, took inspiration from the space race and created thigh-grazing miniskirts and accessories using futuristic materials and embellishments.
Alongside Mick Jagger and David Bowie, Edie Sedgwick frequented Andy Warhol's Factory and his work inspired various Pop art elements in her stylistic selections. Anita Pallenberg, another primary "it-girl" of the decade, captivated The Rolling Stones with her effortless chic, often punctuating her look with a quirky hat. Her presence had a profound impact on the band not just romantically but creatively. Her opinion is known to have altered tracks on more than one occasion.
This intersection of music, art and freedom of expression allowed for the development of the '60s "it-girl" style. Symbiotically she continued to inspire culture then and still does so today. The revolution of the '60s reflected a shift away from the idea that fashion was a form of suppression or conformity. Banishing the social construct binding fashion itself instead liberated women. Fashion became an outward expression declaring the ability to freely assert one's own identity. The "it-girl" style of the '60s continues to represent this freedom which is imperative in upholding modern feminist ideals while cultivating groundbreaking creativity.
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