A/W 2011 Trends: Sixties sophistication

Nostalgia is prevalent across the catwalks this coming season and while many designers have chosen to channel the elegance of the 1940s, another key trend to emerge from the A/W 2011 collections is a return to the 1960s. Disregard any thought of retro paisley prints and frilly necklines however, this season’s take on the swinging era references the earlier part of the decade, grown-up sophistication without a bohemian dress in sight. Think of Paris and the nonchalence of the female lead in a Godard film or the geometric colour blocking of an Yves Saint Laurent shift dress. This is a period when hemlines were just starting to creep up to the borders of modesty and when emphasis was placed upon cut and fabric.

It seems perfectly apt that one of the key protagonists for this trend, Christopher Bailey at Burberry, should name the entire collection after one of the most definitive models of the era, Jean Shrimpton. ‘The Shrimp’ as she was otherwise known, had previously modeled in some advertising for the British heritage brand and was the inspiration for Bailey’s military detailed wool coats, a clear indication of classic mod influences. Accessorised with a neat handbag and baker boy cap, the look is quintessentially of the period. Primary colours including red, blue and orange give the collection a notable ‘pop’ feel as do the bright tartans and plaid.

Swinging sixties recaptured, as seen on the Catwalks and through iconic photography of the era, personifed by Jean Shrimpton.

For those who favour a subtle approach in their appreciation of the past, fashion’s favourite Celine produced an all together more contemporary vision through a soft palette of earthy tones applied on two-tone shift dresses, round neck mod coats and roll neck fitted sweaters. In contrast, Jean Paul Gaultier’s adaptation exuded womanly glamour; brocade and fur trimmed tunic two pieces and bouclé sleeveless dresses worn over sparkling gold bodysuits were accompanied by beehive hair and plenty of attitude. There is always a playfulness associated with the 1960s and there remains plenty of opportunity to adopt these silhouettes, styles and colours without resembling a sartorial pastiche. If a fan of this period, cult photographer Brian Duffy’s exhibition ‘A Visual Record of a Photographic Genius’ is taking place at The Idea Generation Gallery in Shoreditch and features portraits of sixties beauties Jean Shrimpton and Joanna Lumley.

Images from Vogue.com

Stephanie Barker and Laura Roig

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