The 1960s was a time in history that was very dramatic in the changes that occured in fashion and in society. This was a growing post war economy, where the baby boomers had already begin to show their influence in fashion and in culture. Modern art and architecture was novel and inspiring to many. Fashion designers looked to the streets, art and looked into the future to find inspiration for fashion innovations. A leader in fashion during this time period was a designer name Paco Rabanne.
paco Rabanne was born in San Sebastian in Spain and grew up in an environment that was dominated by war, and economic strife. He had experiences many bombings during his childhood and even claims to have had supernatural experiences that had influenced and inspired him. Rabanne had always been witness to fashion as he was growing up and had been a part of the industry. His mother worked as a seamstress for Balenciaga and with his family Rabanne used to make leather buttons. He claims that in 1966 designers had bought his illustrations and Gerard Pipart of Nina Ricci had given him some styles to embroider. This experience had given him a start in the fashion industry and in that environment Rabanne had the opportunity to make a big statement with his designs.
In 1960s the mood was all about breaking conventions and traditional methods of construction. During this time period the baby boomers were beginnign to differentiate themselves from the older generation through riots and through fashion. One could say that the Zeitgeist of the 60s was about non-conformity; fashion was not only about social strata anymore, it was about marketing to different generational cohorts. A designer would design for the upper classes but would keep in mind the trends that were influencing fahsion at a mass market.
Popular culture like modern art and television influenced fashion dramatically and fashion designers began to make clothing that was at times a literal interpretation of these omnipotent trends. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent used a painting by Mondrian as the print on their mod dresses and even the Cambell soup label dress became a pop art phenomenon. Even today, fashion designers literally interpret art and film into their designs.
In the 60's the fashion world was swept by futuristic fashions and yves Saint Laurent reinvented the couture fashion world by bringing in pret-a-porter couture (ready to wear). Paco Rabanne had made his first very succesful debut in 1966 by making a dress entirely out of plastic. Rabanne made a very bug statement in fashion as he "overturned the common belief that clothes had to use" conventional materials like fabric and this is why his work was shocking and intriguing. His innovations were a critical catalyst in a changing economy and he affected change in several ways.
He led designers into a new stylistic and other designers followed and created dresses and jackets out of paper and unconventional materials like wood and metal. Chain-mail became a fashion style that was available to women and it was attractive and sexy. Rabanna had a cult following. Even today designers like Alexander Mcqueen and Versace and Ferre use chain mail and metal in their designs. It is evident that Rabanne made a dramatic change in the way that we view clothing, and how art in haute couture can become ready to wear.
It is known by fashion designers that throughout our history we see a pendulum swing in the transition from trend to trend. And in the 60s we see a dramatic change from concealed and corseted garments of the old decade to the sexual revolution of the new. As our economy grew and became richer, art, television and celebrity life became a driving leader in fashion and behavior. Because the baby boomers grew up on television, popular culture had a lot of sway over their values and beliefs. Vogue began to photograph artistic nudes, films were comfortable with bare chests and intimate scenes and thus fashion was no longer censored. This was a time when anything was possible in fashion and designers like Paco Rabanne were leaders in this era driving fashion into unknown territory. Today many designers look back and are inspired by the mod scenes, the retro style, and the art and fashion of the 60s in order to bring something nostalgic back to our contemporary industry.
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