The 1960 Youth Power To The Rise of the Prêt-a-Porter,

Although Parisian haute couture was destined to become isolated from the demands of the emerging mass consumer society, it still produced many talented designer in the 1950s and 1960s. People came to appreciate once again the power of traditionnal haute couture, and fashion buyers and journalists from around the world gathered at collections held twice a year in Paris, which again became the fashion capital of the world.

The haute courture controlled the trends of the world fashion, till 1960, at that time the mass consumer was on the way to be born. Prêt-à-porter arrived to meet the need of a large market with good quality products. Ready-to-Wear clothing had been available since the end of the nineteenth century, but it was considered cheap and poorly the twentieth century, with the advance of mass culture and man-made materials, prê-à-porter gained respect and popularized fashion.

In 1960 was the era of the mass production and the mass consumption was in full swing. In 1960 the Soviet Union launched successfully their first manned  space flight, 1963 , President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The May Student Uprisings in Paris occurred in 1968, and the first landing on the moon was achieved in 1969. In the midst of such explosive drama, the young generation sought its own distinct mode of expression, and the powerful new American culture was an obvious choice. The voice of the young was heard in the lyrics of British band like the Beatles and their concerns were portrayed in the French cinema movement of “Nouvelle Vague”. Fashion, too, took to presenting fresh and bold emotion. Dresses also caused a stir. In his 1964 Space Age collection, Pierre Cardin unveiled designs for future-oriented dresses shaped  in simple geometric patterns and made of inorganic materials.

New man-made materials opened up various possibilities for minimal fashion in the trendy futuristic and synthetic styles of the 1960s. Although Elsa Schiaparelli had experimented with man-made fibers in clothing from as early as the 1930s, her attempts had been regarded as radical anomalies. In the world of haute couture, Paco Rabanne debuted sensationally moved beyond the idea that only fabric could be used to make garments, and he continued to adopt metal and non-woven materials for clothing.

By the late 1960s, men wore their hair long and donned brightly colored clothing with lace and frills, earning this period of fashion the apt sobriquet the “Peacock Revolution”. Yves Saint Laurent, a standard-bearer among young designer, was also extremely sensitive to social trends. He became independent from the House of Dior in 1961, and opened a prêt-à-porter boutique named Saint Laurent River Gauche in 1966, introducing a line of women’s  tailored pants for city wear.

The Paris-centered fashion system founded by Charles Frederick Worth at the end of the nineteenth century clearly still plays a crucial role today.

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