Jun 3, 2007

Vidal, Rudi, Mary, and the 60's Mod Scene

Shear Genius invited Vidal Sassoon to judge the final contestants in last week's final show. The gray haired and bespectacled judge exuded class. He was so gentle with the finalists that one hardly noticed how insightful his observations were about the Nancy Kwan bob, which was his invention.

My mother wore a Sassoon cut all during the 60's and 70's. It was similar to the hair do in this photo of Vidal with a model, and to this day Mom still wears a variation of that cut. I particularly remember the sharp corners in front of her ears, cut with painful precision by a local stylist. Paired with her short A-line dresses, Mom resembled a trendy "Bird" from Carnaby Street. I love looking at photos of her in those days.

This 1962 Vidal Sassoon cut was photographed by Terence Donovan. It bears the hallmarks of the elements Vidal was looking for during last Wednesday's final on Bravo: an asymmetrical cut, precision, very short in the back, long in the front, swinging, shiny, and lightly teased at the crown.

This photo depicts two sixties icons, Vidal Sassoon and Mary Quant. She became famous designing mini-skirts and short A-line dresses with prim white collars and bows or ties at the neckline. Below is a sampling of her designs.

Boots, mini-skirts, A-line dresses, teased hair, and long, artificial eyelashes with black mascara were hallmarks of 60's mod fashion. Note that the model on the right (or is she Mary Quant?) is wearing dark stockings and white shoes. Is it coincidental that these short skirts became popular about the same time as the invention of the panty hose?

Retro 60's makeup, with dark eyeliner and mascara, artificial eyelashes, and pale pink lipstick. Fab. Simply fab.

Mini skirts and dresses became hugely popular and, as worn by waif model Twiggy, the look took off. Mia Farrow played a stylish pregnant woman in 1968's Rosemary's Baby.

Along with the softer, waif-like look, the structured mini A-line dress was also popular. The off the shoulder look was common.

Andre Courreges was an influential trend setter, and Audrey Hepburn often wore his outfits. In fact, some say that he invented the mini-skirt in a runway show that a shocked audience met with a resounding silence. Women still wore hats and gloves during the early sixties, but this old-fashioned look rapidly went out of fashion with the younger crowd.

This disposable paper dress came in the trendy colors of the time: blue and green. Yellow and orange, pink and orange, and stark white were also popular.

Rudi Gernreich's cut out dresses influenced the fashions in A Clockwork Orange and for the flight attendants in 2001. This Austrian designer's favorite model was Peggy Moffit, who wore Rudi's boldest design - the topless bathing suit.

Rudi spearheaded the trend towards a more natural look in undergarments, eschewing the pointy bras of the fifties and early sixties, as in the bathing suit worn by Annette Funicello in one of her beach movies.
This bathing suit also designed by Rudi and worn by Peggy, could easily be worn today except for the low leg line.

Learn more about Peggy Moffit here.

Read more about the Mod era here.

Finally, watch Nancy Sinatra sing These Boots are Made for Walking. This version is not as outrageously sexy as Jessica Simpson's, but the video sums up the 60's with its teased hair, boots, attitude, mini-dresses and corny pop songs perfectly.

1 comment:

Marius said...

Wonderful post! And that’s 60s look—dark eyeliner & mascara with pale pink lipstick—is fantastic. Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby was very memorable for me. I just loved her look. Oh, and yes, Twiggy was just fab!