60 Leading Designers and Influencers of Sixties Fashions
John Bates - Pantsuits, catsuits, string dresses and see-through minis. John Bates was one of the 1960s most influential designers. Under the name 'Jean Varon' in 1959, he was creating futuristic fashion designs in plastic long before Pierre cardin and Andre Courrèges. and Pierre Cardin. A Jean Varon piece was chosen by the Fashion Museum in Bath as their highly prestigious 'Dress of the Year' in 1965. He is probably best-known for the designs he created for Diana Rigg (far right), who played Emma Peel in 'The Avengers' television series in 1965, and is considered by many to be one of the 'inventors' of the mini skirt fashion alongside Quant and Courrèges.
Bridget Riley - (near right) Op-art artist and designer whose work was widely used in dress and fabric designs.
Beene - Born Samuel Albert Bozeman Jr, he his first design
job was at Teal Traina, where he stayed until 1963, leaving to launch
his own label. Beene's 'signature' designs included elaborate seams,
architectural construction, graphic black and white motifs and clinging
silhouettes cut on the bias and were an immediate success. US Vogue
featured Jean Shrimpton wearing a dress from his first collection and
within four years he had an annual turnover of $4 million.
|Pierre Cardin - Futuristic fashions, space-age catsuits and bodystockings, Beatle suits and cut-out dresses. Moved into menswear in 1961. Used brightly coloured and patterned garments. High buttoned and collar-less jackets and zippered smock styles in lieu of jackets. His customers included The Beatles. Launched his space-age collection in 1964, some made entirely of metal and plastic. His female models were dressed in shiny vinyl, skin-tight catsuits, high-legged leather boots and even space helmets. Collars, when used, were typically oversized and cut-outs were very revealing. He designed the high-necked lace blouses for the 1965 film 'Viva Maria' which led to a revival in the Edwardian look.|
- U.S. designer specialising in Chinese styles, Leather, canvas and suede
with ethnic influences, best known for popularising the 'poncho'.
- Miniskirts, pantsuits and see-through space-age designs. He opened his
own fashion house in 1961 after 12 years designing for Balenciaga. Like
Mary Quant, he has some claim to having pioneered the introduction of the
mini skirt in 1962. His most famous designs were the 'Space-Age' collection
of Spring 1964 which strongly featured silver and white PVCs with bonded
The collection included silver PVC 'moongirl' pants, white catsuits and monochrome striped mini skirts and dresses. He is also famous for his use of the mid-calf length, flat-heeled 'Courreges' boot - an iconographic symbol of Sixties fashion. A more reasonably priced ready-to-wear collection was produced in 1965. Courreges also launched into the cosmetics market in 1970, subsequently introducing many classic perfumes including 'Empreinte', 'Eau de Courreges', 'Courreges pour homme' and 'Amerique'.
Marc Bohan (Design director - Christian Dior) - Paris high fashion elegance. Marc took over the reigns at Dior in 1960 after the departure of Yves Saint Laurent.
Fiorucci - Miniskirts
and general youth fashion. Italian shoe designer who exported many Sixties
London fashions to Italy, opening a store in Milan, 1967, specially for
Gernreich - Sports
and swimwear, revealing designs. Rudi designed ready-to-wear clothes for
Los Angeles boutique JAX until 1964 when he started his own company, striving
to provide a range of clothes which allowed complete freedom of movement.
He is credited with introducing the topless swimsuit in 1964, which consisted of a high waist held up by thin straps which passed between the bare breasts. He gave up the company in about 1967 to concentrate on freelance designing and to devote more time to his passion - dance clothes.
Hubert de Givenchy - Cocktail and evening dresses. Most famous for the clothes he designed for Audrey Hepburn, particularly her wardrobe in the 1961 film 'Breakfast At Tiffanys'.
He is generally known for sack dresses, low-cut cocktail dresses with matching boleros, duster coats and coloured gloves.
Arthur Sugarman - Founded Ben Sherman in 1963 in Brighton, recognising the potential for Oxford button down shirts, designing and creating styles like those he had seen during his time in the USA.
Keith and Alan Freedman founded Brutus in London in 1966, making one style of jumper before extending the range to include shirts, jeans and t-shirts.
The name came from the brothers’ favourite after shave – Brut 33. The Brutus brand was probably best known for their jeans and shirts particularly the Brutus Trimfit an update of the original Ivy League shirt with a sewn-in box pleat and figure-hugging style – the shirt of choice for mods, skinheads and suedeheads in the late 60s and early 70s.
Janet Reger - London born designer who worked in Zurich until the late Sixties when she returned to London and marketed her products through Fenwick stores.
Johnson - Pantsuits, miniskirts and t-shirt dresses.
Pucci - Sportswear
and psychedelic skirts, dresses and pantsuits.
Mary Quant - Miniskirts, tights, skinny-rib sweaters and wet-look PVC. She produced designs for Butterick Patterns (paper patterns) in 1964 to enable her styles to reach a larger market amongst the less well-off. Mary is largely responsible for establishing London as the Sixties centre of fashion, particularly the King's Road area of Chelsea.
Paco Rabanne - Plastic and metal discs, day-glo space-age designs. Between 1964 and 1966 Paco designed fashion accessories on a freelance basis for Balenciaga, Givenchy and Dior.
He launched his body jewellery in the Spring of 1966 on forming his own company. Generally known for clothing in chain-mail style, made from plastic and metal tiles or discs, held together with wire.
By 1968/9 his designs included ostrich feather dresses with aluminium bodices and others made in paper and silver leather.
Zandra Rhodes - Fantasy evening fashions in vivid colours and bizarre patterns. Printed and painted silk and chiffon garments with art-deco motifs, zig-zags etc.
Prior to forming her own fashion house in 1968, she had already designed a paper wedding dress which sold for less than two shillings (ten pence) during the brief period of popularity enjoyed by disposable clothing.
Michelle Rosier - Space-age and wet look designs.
Vivienne Westwood - Opened a shop in the Kings Road in the late 60s with Malcolm McLaren (of Sex Pistols fame). Better known for 70s 'Punk' and 80s 'New Romantic' fashions.
de la Reuta - Designer for major fashion houses, working for
Balenciaga, Lanvin-Castillo, Elizabeth Arden and Jane Derby. Started his
own business in 1965 specialising in extravagant, opulent designs. Mainly
elaborately-trimmed evening wear, particularly gypsy-style designs.
John Stephen - Suede waistcoats, kaftan jackets, velvet flares, 'groovy' wigs
Terence Conran - The major force in raising design awareness during the Sixties. He opened his first 'Habitat' store at 77 Fulham Road in May 1964, concentrating on modern furniture and accessories.
Douglas Arnold 'Dougie' Millings - Bespoke men's fashion. Tailored for many top 'pop' stars including The Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Bill Haley, Cliff Richard, Roy Orbison, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury, Tommy Steele, Adam Faith, Buddy Greco, The Rolling Stones, The Everly Brothers, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Kinks, The Who and many screen and stage stars. (The round-collared suits for The Beatles cost £31 each!)
Giorgio Armani - Worked as a designer with Nino Cerruti from 1961 to 1974.
Hulanicki - Started her business by mail-order in 1963 with
her husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon. Due to a phenomenal response to their
newspaper advertising, they opened their first 'Biba' boutique in 1964,
selling mini smock-dresses, mix'n'match fashions, rubberised raincoats,
floppy hats and lengthened and dyed rugby shirts which were worn as mini-dresses,
many of which were decorated with op-art designs.
Roberto Capucci - Flamboyant use of Mediterranean colours and sculptural forms. He famously produced garments made of sealed plastic filled with coloured water.
Cristobal Balenciaga - Highly fashionable in the fifties, the house of Balenciaga carried on through the Sixties with famous name designers producing loosely tailored suits and sculptural evening wear. Balenciaga retired in 1968.
Laura Ashley - Country style clothing and furnishing fabrics. Laura started with a cotton drill apron in 1961 - almost an anti-fashion house featuring inexpensive tucked and frilled dresses in coarse cotton and lacy shirts with leg o'mutton sleeves. She opened her first shop in Kensington in 1968.
Anthony Price - Glamorous evening wear and the designer of the clothes for The Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter' tour of 1967, while working as a designer for Stirling Cooper producing fashions for Miss Selfridge. He also later designed for Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music.
Garavani - Decorative evening wear and tailored day wear. While
still a student, he won a prestigious prize for fashion design by the
International Wool Secretariat (an award also won later by both Yves Saint
Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld). This led to his being employed by Jean Desses
in 1950. Valentino assisted Desses for five years before moving to work
for Guy Laroche, a former chief illustrator at Desses.
Klein - Klein taught himself how to sew and sketch as a boy,
earning a place at New York's High School of Art and Design and the Fashion
Institute of Technology. He finally launched his own label in 1968, in
partnership with childhood friend Barry Schwartz. Noted for peajackets,
turtleneck sweaters and long-line slacks.
Saint Laurent - Safari and pea jackets, smocks, pantsuits, see-through
designs. He opened his own fashion house with Pierre Bergé in 1962, having
had to leave his previous position at Dior in 1960 to fight in the Algerian
war. He launched the 'Mondrian' look in 1965 and a collection that was inspired
by pop-art in 1966, establishing his chain of 'Rive Gauche' boutiques which
provided new fashion ideals for the richer youth of the period. Also in
1966, he introduced 'le smoking', his legendary smoking suit, which prompted
the consequent androgynous revolution. He is now credited with a range of
other innovations including the reefer jacket (1962), the sheer blouse (1966),
and the jumpsuit (1968), as well as ready-to-wear culture as a whole.
Dorothee Bis - Opened a boutique in 1962 with Elie & Jacqueline Jacobson-designed 'adult' versions of young girls clothes. Knee socks, peaked caps, cut-out dresses, trouser suits and crocheted sweaters and dresses.
Luis Estevez - U.S. West Coast designer specialising in glamorous evening wear.
Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin - Formed Tuffin & Foale in 1962, designing for the young, ready-to-wear market which was bought extensively by London store Woollands. Best known for lace dresses with cut-outs under the arms.
Frederick Fox - Milliner who opened his own business in the mid-60s, designing hats for Hardy Amies, John Bates and the royal family.
Andrew Grima - Jewellery designer who opened a business in Jermyn Street in 1966.
Lauren - Ralph Lauren's empire was founded in 1967, after he
opened his first ever tie shop, with no formal design training. Noted for
'Ivy League' styles and expensive neckwear, including 'kipper' ties.
Simone Mirman - Milliner who designed for Dior, Saint-Laurent and Hartnell, including hats for the royals.
Rose Vernier - Milliner who designed for Amies, Creed, Morton and Mattli.
Tommy Hilfiger - Made his first moves into the fashion industry in 1969, while still in high school, with $150 and 20 pairs of bell-bottom jeans which he sold out of his Volkswagen to New York campus kids.
Paul Reeves - Creator of unique designs for pop legends such as Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. Founded the 'Sam Pig In Love' label with partner Pete Sutch and, in 1967 started making the kaftans with Nehru collars and half-belts at the back much loved by George Harrison and Mick Jagger that became a major fashion trend.
Vivier - Evening and haute couture shoes, also freelance footwear
design for fashion houses.
Bill Blass - American sportswear and traditional designs with softened lines. Use of ruffles in 60s designs.
Donald Brooks - Luxurious evening pants and voluminous pyjamas, chemises, unadorned dresses, trimmed coats and stoles.
Stephen Burrows - Leather fashion specialist.
Jean Muir - Tailored and fluid matte jersey womenswear. Regarded by many as 'The Greatest British Fashion Designer', Jean started at Jaeger from 1956 to 1961 when she left to produce her own range of fashions under the 'Jane and Jane' label. This became part of the Susan Small organisation, later to be owned by Courtaulds. She opened her own company in 1966 producing comfortable and elegant women's wear including smocks, peasant dresses, shawls, draw-string waist dresses and two-piece suits.
For more information, click here to see the great site dedicated to Jean and her work hosted by her nephew, Robin Norton.
Caroline Charles - Worked with Mary Quant in the early days and started up her own business in 1963. Mini skirts in cotton and flannel, tunics, pants and, later, long flowing fashions.
Clive (Clive Evans) - Opened his own boutique in 1961, specialising in haute couture and ready-to-wear daywear.
Sybil Connolly - Hand woven woollens, tweeds and mohairs. Evening and daywear.
Porter - was born in Jerusalem in 1927 and was raised in Damascus,
Syria. After being an 'embassy wife' in Beirut she parted with her husband
and came to London in 1966, opening her own fashion and textile boutique
'Thea Porter Decorations' on Greek Street in Soho in 1967. The shop specialized
in Eastern textiles imported from Syria, Persia and India, mainly in the
form of pillows, bedcovers and kaftans, which sold so quickly that she had
trouble keeping up with the demand, so she began designing and producing
Her clothing range can be identified from the intricately decorated, hand painted and layered fabrics and design inspired by not only kaftans but also Victorian and Renaissance era fashions. "It's important that the end result should never be a costume - they are my own romantic fantasies." Her customers included Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Christie, Barbra Streisand, Joan Collins and Bianca Jagger. Princess Margaret is also known to have enjoyed wearing her creations whose remit was to conceal rather than reveal. Pop groups such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd were also fans of her designs and some of her fashions appeared on the sleeve photos included with the Beatles' 'Magical Mystery Tour EP and the cover of the Pink Floyd album 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'.
Andrew Loog Oldham: "The Thea Porter clothing was wonderful. I had some myself, but had to be careful, I couldn't carry it off the way Brian (Jones) could. I don't know of what age you are and therefore whether you've ever held a Thea Porter garment in your hands, or worn it, but her work and detail was absolutely exquisite, way beyond the dry cleaning skills of the day. The only way I could give mine a decent life was to check into a good hotel and have my Porter garb attended to there."
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