The Sixties was a decade of great change and in the world of fashion, there was an explosion of colour and styles. Several people could be considered responsible in this respect and several could now be included in the Icon class.
Ann Barry – List from her diary 1966
- IN – mini dresses with matching knickers – UGH!
- Accessories in vivid purples, greens, yellows, etc. OK.
- Line drawn above liner to make eyes look bigger. Good, but hard to do.
- Suits with jackets ending as little above hemline as possible. Single breasted.
- Going OUT – Furs – hooray!
- Scooters – some people still hanging on.
- Twiggy is THE Model.
Mary Quant opened up her shop Bazaar in the mid-50s, 1955 actually with a second in ‘57, and went on a mission to design ‘youthful clothes’. These were clothes for everyone, affordable and available to everyone, not just the elite. All the time the length of her skirts was reducing until we arrived at the ultimate – the miniskirt. In June, 1966, there was a competition down in the Dungeon – the ‘Shortest Miniskirt Competition’. I know several girls took part, but cannot remember who or even who won!
Linda Hatcher – “I still have a coat by Mary Quant. Bright orange with zip front and a small stand up collar. It’s somewhere in the loft!”
Deanna Fahy – “Wore stockings but went bare legged in summer, sometimes wore patterned stockings with diamonds and such like, but as soon as tights were invented it was freedom to wear short skirts. I remember wearing pants on top of my tights so when I walked upstairs on the bus it looked okay.”
Pictured above giving Mary Quant the ‘bob cut’ was Vidal Sassoon who since 1964 had a huge effect on ladies’ hair fashion and set the style for the decade and many to come.
Deanna Fahy – “I first saw Vidal Sassoon’s wife on the front page of the newspaper with this cropped hair. I rang Keith Halls and asked if they could do it; they couldn’t wait as it was different from their usual cuts, so went up in my dinner hour. When I got back to work all the girls’ mouths dropped open and when I got home my dad went mad. Told me I was crazy and that I looked like a man. I loved it.”
Stuart Morris – “Favourite hairstyle was the cut where one side ran along the top of the ear, while the other side was longer and followed the jawline.”
Deanna Fahy – “Had mine like that once Stu, like Diane Ross.”
Suzanne Tindle – “I had long hair and then had it cropped off.”
Jeanette Hutchinson – “Had the 5 point haircut at Keith Halls.”
Barbara Hulanicki opened Biba in September 1964 in Abingdon Road, Kensington, in 1965 in 19-21 Kensington Church St, created Mail-Order catalogues in 1968, moved to Kensington High Street in 1969, and the large ex-Derry & Toms store in 1973. From the first days the shops were frequented by the stars and packed by the public wanting to buy the produce. The idea behind it was that you could see something you liked one day, order it that day and be wearing the following day in your local club.
Christine Tarr – “My first Biba dress came from there, beige satin with ‘leg of mutton’ sleeves!!!!”
After this other boutiques started to spread throughout the country, such as Chelsea Girl (from 1965) and in Nottingham, Birdcage, which opened a Ladies department in 1965 and a men’s department in 1966. It was set up by Janet Campbell, ably supported by her friend, Paul Smith, who opened his own shop in 1970. Click here for more information.
Benita Hall – “Chelsea Girl is the shop that springs to mind …. Couldn’t afford Birdcage!”
Lyn Frost – “WOW that brings back memories, Birdcage was my favourite.”
Suzanne Tindle – “I had a purple cord mini skirt from Birdcage. I love it! I had a pink leather coat.”
Stuart Morris – “Used to love the velvet cord skirts or just velvet.”
The Weekend Starts Here!
All mods were tuned in to ‘Ready Steady Go!’ a television programme which not only showed the musical stars and their styles but introduced everyone to a young audience showing off fashion and dance styles. The programme was originally introduced by Dusty Springfield in 1963, but by the time the Dungeon opened, it had been taken over by Cathy McGowan, who seemed to be just like her audience, awe-struck when meeting the stars, while showing off the new fashion trends.
Sandra Ward – “I had my hair like this, it’s a wonder l could see where l was going!”
Margaret Kerslake – “Me too. I used to get my brother to iron it! (long before straighteners were invented eh!)”
Phil Long – “Did you iron your hair using the iron and brown paper?”
Sandra Ward – “I used to put cellotape across my fringe to keep it straight whilst drying it.”
Sharon Wilson – “My dear pal, Eileen, used to iron mine before we went out and yes brown paper and water. Was a bit scary when she got near my neck! Next morning it would be wavy again. She had lovely blond straight hair. Lucky bugger! One night Charlie Foxx said to her I love your bangs. He was referring to her straight fringe lol.”
Peter Wilson – “Do you girls remember when you used to brush that powder in their hair to give it a grey look? It ruined many a lads suit when smooching.”
Terry Swift – “Yes l do, Peter, my girlfriend used it.”
Deanna Fahy – “Yes I remember doing that. Now we try and hide the grey ha ha.”
Lyn Frost – “Yep remember doing that, made a mess of pillows, mum went mad.”
Jeanette Hutchinson – “Yes I do.”
Suzanne Tindle – “Yes I do too.”
Josephine Pate – “I bought a Cathy McGowan mac.”
Two more icons, who would have been seen on ‘Ready Steady Go!’ were Sandie Shaw and Marianne Faithfull.
The ‘In’ Crowd
In 1965, Julie Driscoll joined Steampacket with Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart and the Brian Auger Trinity and soon became a Mod Icon. She dressed differently, eventually sported a pixie-style haircut, used bold makeup, especially around the eyes and could sing quite well. Lots of eye makeup was used to make the eyes look bigger. She became an Icon for both male and female mods and later for the more hippy types.
Jeanette Hutchinson – “Used to paint bottom lashes like she did.”
Suzanne Tindle – “So did I.”
Penny Lambert – “So did I, slanted getting longer at the end of my eye.”
Christine Tarr – “You can keep Twiggy and Cathy, this woman has stood the test of time with her individuality, ethereal presence and a testament to the 60s.”
Kate Cogle – “Brilliant voice too!!”
Deanna Fahy – “Always wore false eyelashes, felt undressed without them. Spent a lot of time doing my makeup, mostly my eyes. I was lucky my bottom lashes were quite long, so mascara used to make them look really long and thick so didn’t need to paint any on. I tended to wear pale lipsticks.”
Suzanne Tindle – “I remember I always used panstick and lots of eye makeup.”
Jeanette Hutchinson – “Lots of eye make-up, Panstick, pale lipstick.”
Leonard Lewis learnt his trade working amongst others for Vidal Sassoon and set up his own salon Leonard of Mayfair. He became hair-stylist to the stars and was responsible for training many of the later hairdressers. He took eight hours to cut, colour create the bob-cut which was responsible for launching the career of Twiggy in 1966 and for her becoming known the very next day as the ‘Face of 66’.
Deanna Fahy –“Lovely.”
Veda Bromwich – “I think most of us were inspired in one way or another.”
Jeanette Hutchinson – “In awe of …”
Josephine Pate – “The hair cut.”
Linda Hatcher – “Back in the day, I was the same build as Twiggy, but the similarity stopped there!”
Penny Lambert – “Me too.”
Christine Tarr – “Didn’t like her then, don’t like her now … Leonard the hairdresser, Mary Quant, Ossie Clarke, Barbara Hulanicki and Lee Bender were the ones we took our inspiration from.”
Sue Jones – “Idolised her …”
Paul Terry Watson – “Top mod Twiggy, friends of the Small Faces. Should have said ‘the darlings of wapping warf launderette’ as she called them.”
Kath Shaw – “I didn’t look anything like her, made our own clothes, did our own thing, good looking girl though.”
Gritli Maria Beckworth – “Absolutely, she was my all-time idol.”
Diana Tompkin – “Twiggy was amazing, still is.”
John Batchelor – “She was beautiful then and still is today.”
Pamela Addleton – “It was bad enough being nicknamed Olive Oil, as I was so thin and gangly!!! When Twiggy hit the scene, I so wanted to be her. Loved her hair, clothes and everything about her.”
Micky Moore – “Slimmed down to 5 stone to try to look like her and became quite ill. Later looked at Biba and also Julie Driscoll for inspiration that suited me better.”
Christine Tarr – “Julie was my inspiration too Micky, along with Stevie Nicks, Marianne Faithful , Edie Sedgwick.”
Margaret Kerslake – “Yes she was one of many! Alongside Sandie Shaw, Marianne Faithful, Cathy McGowan and Mary Quant. What fashion icons they were!”
On a par with Biba, Ossie Clarke was one of the great fashion designers of the 60s, starting around 1965/6. This is one of his creations modelled by Patti Boyd.
Edie Sedgwick was the ‘It Girl’ of the Sixties, a model and actress, after appearing in several of Andy Warhol’s short films, she became known as the ‘Girl Of The Year’ in 1965.
Another chain of boutiques spread throughout the country after Lee Bender opened Bus Stop in 1968. Other shops girls in Nottingham liked to shop in included – Nova, Mr Freedom, Quorum, Paraphernalia, Madcap, Wardrobe, C&A and Marks & Spencers (“only for knickers!”)
Micky Moore – “I remember Bus Stop: my friends and I always thought that one had to be quite thin to go in there, as the shop assistants were quite thin and looked like models. They had communal changing rooms. Birdcage was probably slightly more sophisticated and for trendy people I would think.”
Jeanette Hutchinson – “I had a pair of Tattershall check trousers, dark green suede coat and beret and vanity case. Remember the cricket jumpers.”
Josephine Pate – “Hipster skirts n trousers with wide belt thru loops n granny shoes for us girls.”
Make Your Own
Some girls liked to make their own clothes: dress patterns were very popular which gave you a design for a basic shape, which could be altered as required. All was that required was a certain level of expertise on a sewing machine.
Deanna Fahy – “Made my own clothes to go to the Mojo, usually the week-end before. I remember having a pillar box red trouser suit with a vent right up the back and 2 big chrome buttons which I designed myself. We liked to look different and not wear the same as everybody else. Butterick /Simplicity patterns were easy to follow and modify to your own tastes. I bought clothes and altered them to suit – cut sleeves off tops or added cuffs and collars. I liked skinny rib tops.”
Linda Hatcher – “I used to go to Falmers buy a dress pattern and some material and pressure my poor mum to have it made ready for the weekend. Also used to go to Birdcage to get those nylon watch straps fitted just to be seen in there.”
Micky Moore – “Of course in those days, I had a Singer sewing machine; I wasn’t very good at sewing, but most of us went to possibly the Central Market where there were rolls of material and we bought patterns from Butterick, Simplicity and McCalls of dresses we’d seen in magazines like Jacky and Petticoat and looked for the nearest likeness and ran up our own dresses. I had a gold, yellowy-gold material with black Mary Quant flowers on it, and ran up a mini-dress with that. They were A-line. I just copied that pattern for different materials. Here pictured is one in white with blue flowers.”
Linda Thompson – “Don’t know about the other ladies but I used to keep my clothes in my wardrobe in the order I had worn them. Didn’t like to be seen in the same dress twice.”
Denim & Leather
Two other materials mods liked to wear were denim and leather.
Deanna Fahy – “Levi jeans were also a favourite. I used to sit in the bath with them on, add a bit of bleach so that they would look worn and shrink to fit, then leave them on till they were dry so they were a perfect fit. How mad is that?
“My first leather coat was bottle green 3/4 length; bought it for 1 shilling and sixpence a week from a catalogue from a girl at work. Took ages to pay for it but once it was paid I bought a purple one loved those coats. Also had a pac-a-mac and a blue linen coat with a panel at the back.”
Mick Hatcher – “Navy blue nylon macs.”
Irene Morley – “I wore one of those until I could afford my full length navy leather.”
Lyn Frost – “I remember having one, feeling so cool and trendy….”
Kath Shaw – “Leather were great, never took mine off!”
Linda Hatcher – “I had a long chocolate brown suede coat and purple suede ankle strap shoes.”
Kath Shaw – “Yes, I went suede later on in the 60’s it was all leathers 64/65.”
Susan Foster – “Bought my first full length leather coat at Renore in the square. I was 15 and paid a pound a week from my Saturday job at Pork Farms on Friar Lane. Loved that coat.”
Deanna Fahy – “I had my ears pierced in Italy when I was 11 years old; it was a tradition within the family so I wore earrings all the time, another thing that made me feel not quite dressed without them.”
Deanna Fahy – “S-belts they were the thing but I did have a couple of real leather ones.”
Deanna Fahy – “Wore leather shoes, I bought a pair in Italy and wore them till they dropped to bits. Bought shoes from Dolcis, Ravel.”
Micky Moore- “I had some square-toed shoes with a chunky heel and ankle strap. I also had my first fashionable pair from Shoefayre, which were slightly more pointed and they had like a keyhole and then a bow and a short stumpy heel. I think stilettos were going out of fashion and people wore more chunky shoes, almost a Victorian look with the ankle straps. And I think they had granny boots, I don’t know when they came in, they laced up at the front. And then the very tight, PVC, white, knee-length boots that you see. If you watch the old Top of the Pops you see people in those tight boots. Patent was very fashionable. I remember I had a pair of patent leather shoes, which seemed really special, very exotic.”
Anon – “Dolcis always had great shoes.”
John Boland – “Bought a pair of shoes from Ravel in ’69 after going to the le discotheque. 2 sizes too small but kept wearing them – no wonder I’ve got bunions. Used to love going to Petticoat Lane and getting ripped off by Del Boys – really great days.”
Micky Moore – “In the 60s, fashions were very short-lived. I had a friend who was a few years older than me at the Ice Rink and she wore skinny-rib jumpers and each month her skirts and jumpers would change colour. Fashion was very throw away. Even for a while there were colours which changed every month. One month it was purple, she had all purple, another month she was wearing sort of lime green. That was the fashion. There were paper knickers. They were very similar clothes but each month the fashion for colours seemed to change.”