Australian 1960s Fashion
Australian fashion during the 1960’s were strongly influenced by the British and Americans. Australia was introduced to these fashion changes during the 1960’s, mainly from America and England. This was introduced to Australia through movies, magazines, television, designer’s line, models visiting Australia or international popular models and advertisements.
Mini Skirt & Dress
Invented by Mary Quant, a british fashion designer, the mini skirt was a very contriversial change in the 1960's. Introduced to Australia during the 1960’s, the mini skirt became a popular revolution to women, in particular adolescent females. This change became a drastic and unusual change to Australia, from a full length attire to a skirt with a hem above the knee. This fashion change, was an expression of freedom and pride by all women who were confident with their bodies. Towards the end of the 60‘s the mini skirt was accepted by Australian’s as a society and became the latest trend.
Britain introduced many popular models who were well known internationally. These models not only wore the change of style but became famous because of it. With their popularity, the change of fashion during the 1960’s effected many countries, in particular Australia. A famous British model names Jean Shrimpton visited Australia and attended the Derby Day, Melbourne Cup in the year of 1965. During her visit, people all over Australia were astonished by her choice of clothing. Exhibiting a a simple shift dress that finished above her knees at this popular public event, Jean’s display of the new trend became a popular discussion all over Australia.
Hippie movement arrived in Australia towards the end of the 1960s, influencing other clothing styles such as denim jeans, which had remained a staple wardrobe item for many young people throughout the decade, were inspired by hippie fashion. Throughout the decade, many people enjoyed handcrafting their own clothes and accessories and personal items were often decorated with beads and fringes. Also, natural fabrics and tie dyed and paisley prints were also popular by both men and women. Both men and women let their hair grow long and men commonly grew facial hair, and bare feet or leather sandals were typical hippie fashion.
Clothing fabrics in the 1960s
Throughout the 1960’s, innovative synthetic materials like polyester, plastic, PVC, and vinyl enjoyed huge popularity throughout the decade. An introduction of new blended fabrics were developed, mixing man made fibers with natural materials like cotton and wool were developed too. Improved fabrics and mass production techniques meant that clothes could be produced much faster and more cheaply than ever before. This, coupled with quickly changing teen fashion fads, meant that clothes were also discarded regularly.
In Australia, the 60’s wasn’t just introduced to major fashion changes, but were also introduced to new hairstyles. A popular hairstyle introduced during the 1960‘s was an up-do called the beehive. Originating in the United States during 1958 as one of a variety of elaborately teased and lacquered versions of “big hair” that initiated from earlier pageboy and bouffant styles. This women’s domed and lacquered hairstyle effect on Australia by becoming an additional popular trend among women. Nonetheless, by the end of 1960s, the beehive unfortunately became unfashionable and unpopular, despite the fact that it prospected to continue to influence later female in their styles. The beehive hairstyle was popularised by both television and cinema. This hairstyle re-appeared on the large screen and small screen, but it unluckily became unfashionable in the midst of women. Overall, hairstyles were categorized as either long and straight or curly and fuzzy or short and bouffant. Long and straight hairstyles were a popular hair trend for the young adults or teenagers as well as the short hairstyles which were influenced by popular international models such as Twiggy who profoundly promoted this short hairstyle which was compatible with her facial structure. The ‘Bouffant’ hairstyle was another popular hairstyle for women with medium length hair.
1960‘s in Australia witnessed additional changes in make-up. Eyes became the focal point of the face, false eye lashes and mascara became a popular item to use to produce think lashes. Eye shadows in colours such as blue, green and brown and eye liners became another favoured item by women during the 1960’s in Australia, mainly worn in a thick manner around the eyes in dark colours, usually black to create a very dramatic eye. The majority of skin was pale often as a result of the use of foundation or power making the make-up trend translucent. As for lips, shades were becoming paler and dark shades became rare, the introduction of glitter became a fashionable trend usually worn by young adults or teenagers.
During the 1960s, as the hippie trend increased in popularity, hippie jewelry including love beads and boho ethnic looks, especially hemp and hand made looks, was introduced with the hippie fashion. 1960‘s jewelry trend related to trends such as flower power, black & white, flapper length bead necklaces, and multi strand necklaces in colours like orange, brilliant pink, extreme yellow, and lime were popular in Australia.
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Yvonne Connikie. Fashions of A Decade: The 1960’s. Fact On File, Incorporated (2006). USA
Kristina Harris. Vintage Fashions For Women, 1950’s - 1960’s. Schiffer Publishing, Limited (1998). USA