During the post-war period, Paris’s reputation as the global center of fashion began to crumble and off-the-peg and mass-manufactured fashions became increasingly popular. Germany took control of over half of what France produced, including haute couture. Since tailor-made clothing was too expensive, it was replaced by mass-produced garments. Advances in technology led to the creation of artificial fibers and dressmakers could make clothing without depending or harvest for production.
Tailors started producing new styles that were fit and that shaped women′s breast. Skirts had several layers of fabric that made them very suitable for dancing. New materials were introduced: gauze, patterned cotton, reed, thin straw, bamboo and nylon. At the end of the 50s artificial fabrics were at their apogee and natural fibers were hardly used. Blouses were made of synthetic fabrics, mostly in white or other light colors.
Designer Brigitte Bardot created a new style that greatly influenced later fashion trends: dresses were high-waisted and the waist of trousers and skirts was higher in order to raise women′s breast. Contrary to most firms, Chanel did not design high-waisted clothing, and used shorter skirts, lighter jackets without inner lining and made of flexible fabrics. Chanel′s styles were dynamic, baroque and colored. Pink was in fashion again, especially in the designing of ball gowns. Furs were used everywhere: in collars, coats, skirts and ties. Decolletages were very open, and bateau necks were very much the mode during this period. Red, pink, green and yellow were in vogue and black was also common. During summer light colors were á la mode, and exceptionally red. At the end of the 50s new collections introduced clothing that resembled the look of young girls.
From 1960 to 1970 youths started to demonstrate that they were against the tendency to repeat fashions that had been in vogue during previous years. Op and pop-art were major influences in the development of new trends. Some of the most influential music groups of the era were The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The hippie movement was another key factor in the designing of new styles of clothing. Women and men started to be seen as equals, and a new style called unisex emerged. By that time technology was developing fast and some fashion designers started to make use of materials such as metal, plastic and leather.
At the beginning of the 60s designers introduced a new style characterized by comfortable and discrete clothing. Close-fitting jackets and loose skirts were very common, and one of the most popular fabrics was tweed. Children wore grayish clothing very similar to those used by adults. Clothing was simple and comfortable, although adornments such as furs and wide belts were still á la mode. An American designer introduced a very innovative and controversial piece of clothing: the Mokini, a swimming custome similar to the Bikini but with no upper piece. In 1964 a new collection included extraordinarily low-necked and short-length clothes.
Changes in fashion had usually been produced in women clothing. During this period, however, men clothing also underwent some changes. Trousers were fuller, shirts were livelier and ties were shorter and wider. Satin bands of lively colors were worn around the waist and over suits. Men were no longer reluctant to trying new styles, and started being fashion-conscious. As a consequence, new designers appeared ad introduced original ideas. In 1964 London streets were full of teenagers wearing short skirts above the knee. London miniskirts were very simple and loose. Clothing had higher waists, though they were not as high-waisted as they had been in previous years.
Some ordinary colors were white in all its varieties, vermillion, bright yellow and turquoise, and intense violet. Regarding fabrics, the most usual were satin, gabardine, crepe, silk, sateen, and wool, silk or cotton laces. Dresses were sober and high-waisted, usually matching with coats. People wore hats of any color, generally with clothing to match. A radical change was produced by the use of shorter skirts. Since miniskirts allowed women to show their legs and shoes, more attention started to be given to the industry of footwear. Boots and socks were almost knee-length, and shoes were low-heeled. At the end of 1965 miniskirts, trousers, boots and knee-length socks were very popular, not only among teenagers but also among grown-up women. Haute couture was relegated to a synonym of old people′s clothing.
In 1966 fashion was dynamic, fresh and juvenile. Skirts were very short, ties were wide and short and hats were made of materials such as wood, cork and wicker. Regarding colors, the most usual were gold and silver. Almost any piece of clothing was made of golden and silver fabrics, and also shoes and ornaments. Coats were made of shiny synthetic fibers, as a representation of the growing influence of technology. Designer Paco Rabanne used metal, plastic and leather, and made eccentric dresses of almost any color. Haute couture adopted hippy and exotic designs that reflected the ideals of the era, such as colorful clothing, patterned dresses and full garments. Glam Rock fashion, worn by such rock performers as Rod Stewart, David Bowie, and Marc Bolan, was very influential in clothing design. Some designers started including garments and ornamentation made of brightly colored fabrics, such as rubber boots, plastic daisy sandals, fake fur, and Pop Art-inspired jackets.
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