Posts Tagged ‘1960s British fahsion’


Mary Quant. Illustration by Zoe Taylor. From Selvedge magazine.

Miss Mary Quant – how could I have imagined a career in fashion without Mary Quant? She created the miniskirt for heaven’s sake. Forgive me – where would Topshop be without her? She also created the idea of Saturday night dressing, making things ‘upstairs’ that literally came off the machine and into her King’s Road shop that day in order to serve her adoring fans’ weekend characters. 

Luella Bartley, English fashion designer and fashion journalist.

This quote is from the May/June 2011 issue of Selvedge magazine. The theme of this issue is all things Britannia and Ms. Bartley was asked to choose six women who reflect the British unique and quirky sense of style.

Mary Quant was on her list. Check back for some of the others in the weeks to come.

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Caroline-CharlesBritish fashion designer Caroline Charles is called The Thinking Woman’s Designer for her smart styles – classic yet feminine yet chic. After 50 years in the business, Ms. Charles is as popular now as she was back in the Swinging Sixties when she hobnobbed with the likes of Mary Quant and Mick Jagger.

Over the years, in addition to creating her own line Ms. Charles has been a design consultant for brands such as Burberry and Marks & Spencer. In 2002 she received a OBE  for her services to British fashion.

To mark five decades in the business the successful designer has published a book, Caroline Charles: 50 Years in Fashion (ACC Editions, 2012). Full of diary entries, press clippings, and photos this memoir is a unique peek into the fashion world of the 1960s through today.

Ms. Charles got her start in 1963 when as a young London designer she was invited on a Pop-Tour of America. Twenty-four cities in one month with pop rock bands, dancers, and models showing up at department stores to give a fashion show.  

The stores were massive and the shows were exciting … at the end the audience would get up on the catwalk and join the models, the band playing on, the go-go girls with fishnet tights in their cages … They loved the music and the clothes, which were by their standards short and unconventional – little shifts rather than the shirtwaisters they were used to, short hair rather than pony tails.

Ms. Charles succinctly describes her business happenings for each decade, 1960s right up to today and there’s a Q&A with fashion writer Ian R. Webb. Her stories are compelling as are the photos. Almost for me the best part, the images are informative, inspirational and an excellent documentation of silhouettes and styles for the past 50 years. I enjoy flipping through the pages studying them (and wishing I had lived in Swinging London).

I say Ms. Charles’ memoir is another must-have for anyone interested in fashion history.

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