Archive | Jan, 2014

1960s Swinging London Fashion

10 Jan

Lately I’ve been really interested in 1960s fashion, especially Swinging London fashion. In this post I’ll focus on London fashion and I’ll write about Parisian chic ”baby doll look” from the 60s some other time.

1960s swinging london fashion

London was the best place in the world in the 1960s. Youth culture flourished and post-war austerity finally gave place to a decade of optimism and exploration – of everything. Rock music was instrumental in youth culture and teenagers and young people were crazy about The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who. Psychedelic rock also grew more popular every day with bands such as Pink Floyd and The Jimmy Hendrix Experience setting a psychedelic underground scene in London. Culture was at its peak and Art schools developed what we know as the 60s.

1960s girls

1960s ladies

Fashion icons in the 60s London were Twiggy, Mary Quant, Pattie Boyd, Jane Asher, Jean Shrimpton, members of The Beatles, Pete Townshend of The Who and Brian Jones. First half of the decade was characterized by Mod styles but around 1967. the Mod fashion started to blend heavily with hippie fashions. George Harrison and Pattie Boyd were typical Mod-turned-hippie couple.

1960s fashion 5

Mod fashion became extremely popular among females and Mary Quant encouraged not only this style, but also young people to play with fashion. Post-war generation were the first to have money to buy records, new clothes and makeup. That was ideal because there were dozens of new styles being invented every day, especially in Carnaby Street in London.

1960s pattie boyd 8 1960s pattie boyd 3

Various - 1966

Mary Quant invented mini-skirt and this is where all begins in the 1960s fashion. Dresses were becoming shorter and shorter every day until they were covering the legs only ten centimeters. Pop art brought geometric patterns and two-coloured (mostly black-white) dresses. Mini-dresses were often worn with long tight boots. Stripes, dots and other geometrical patterns were everywhere; they decorated the skirts, dresses, blouses… PVC raincoats and bobbed hair were IT for women. Twiggy was known as ”the queen of Mod” and she was ”the face of 1966”

1960s geometric dresses1960s Swinging London fashion - pvc raincoat

Twiggy wore the shortest dresses ever, but with no neckline. Combined with skin-coloured or white stockings and flats she looked gorgeous with long, skinny legs, bobbed blonde hair and blue eyes with extremely long (false) eyelashes. These kind of dresses were rather simple, high waisted, short-sleeved and in baby doll style. Another look that I find was quite popular was a mini skirt combined with a turtle-neck pullover.

1960s twiggy 13 1960s twiggy 10

1960s summer dresses

Psychedelic scene developed in London half way through the decade. Syd Barrett was, along with Pink Floyd and The Jimmy Hendrix Experience, instrumental in creating the style. Syd was very fashionable and often wore velvet trousers, bandana knotted like a tie around his neck, blouses with psychedelic prints, waistcoats and colourful shirts. Sunglasses in different shapes and colours were also popular.

syd 58

At around 1967. Mod fashion started to alter to a new, laid back hippie style. The following year was known as the summer of love, and many festivals helped to promote hippie style. As I already said, George Harrison and Pattie Boyd were fashion icons, mainly representing Mod fashion, but around this time they embraced the new flower power style. Pattie begun wearing paisley printed trousers, waistcoats, lots of jewellery, mini dresses with floral prints, wooden bracelets, wide sleeved blouses, crazy patterns and sandals.

george harrison and pattie boyd 61960s pattie boyd 21

I love the 1960s as a decade in everything! Swinging London fashion and culture is so interesting and I hope I inspired you in a fashion way and I hope I managed to capture the essence of wonderful, colourful and optimistic 1960s London.

Egyptian influenced jewellery

8 Jan

Egyptian culture was extremely inspirational for 19th century jewellery. Nineteenth century saw Egyptian influence coming in vogue two times – at the beginning of the century (Regency era) and again in the second half of the century. Archeological discoveries were instrumental in introducing new trends, mainly in jewellery. Second half of the 19th century saw revival of many styles; Renaissance, Etruscan, Rococo, Ancient Greek and Egyptian. Egyptian influenced jewellery came back in style in 1920s after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Characteristics of Egyptian influenced jewellery are vast usage of gold, vibrant coloured jewels, motifs such as tombs, bird ibis, scarab, sphinx, cobra, feathers… These motifs were combined with style at the moment; such as Art Deco in the 1920s and that created something even more fabulous.

1800s Egyptian Revival Sphinx Brooch

1800s Egyptian Revival Sphinx Brooch

1880. A sapphire and enamel scarab brooch, the cabochon-cut sapphire with rose cut diamond details, curved wings with green and white enamel and rubies, Austro-Hungarian

1880. A sapphire and enamel scarab brooch, Austro-Hungarian.


1890. Egyptian revival brooch.

1890s Fabergé, Russian, Scarab Brooch, Egyptian revival

1890s Fabergé, Russian, Scarab Brooch, Egyptian revival.

1890s Magnificent French Belle Epoque Egyptian Revival Brooch

1890s French Belle Epoque Egyptian Revival Brooch.

1900. An Egyptian Revival gem set scarab brooch, circa 1900. Emeralds, sapphires, pearls, rubies and rose-cut diamonds in yellow gold, partially silver-topped

1900. An Egyptian Revival gem set scarab brooch, Emeralds, sapphires, pearls, rubies and rose-cut diamonds in yellow gold, partially silver-topped.

1920s Egyptian Revival Brooch

1920s Egyptian Revival Brooch

1925. A French Egyptian Revival Art Deco beetle brooch

1925. A French Egyptian Revival Art Deco beetle brooch.

Isabeau of Bavaria: First fashion icon

4 Jan

Fashion icons such as Marie Antoinette, Josephine de Beauharnais, Georgiana Cavendish and  Elisabeth Sissi of Austria are all well known, but who started all that? Who was the first to set trends and inspire, not just women at the court, but many other to follow her as an example of good taste and fashion sense? Well, the first modern fashion icon was Isabeau of Bavaria.

Isabeau of Bavaria - 19. century depiction

Isabeau of Bavaria was born in 1370. into famous House of Wittelsbach. She was born in Munich and baptised as Elisabeth. At the age of fifteen, on 17. July 1385. she married Charles VI. of France. He was very much pleased with her, mostly because of her beauty. They had twelve children; six daughters and six sons. Her husband showed his insanity in the early 1390s and Isabeau played an important role in leading the country and preserving the throne to her heirs.

Isabeau wasn’t very popular in her times. There were a lot of people who believed she and Louis of Orleans (her brother in-law) were lovers. An Augustinian friar, Jacques Legrand preeched a long sermon about court’s excesses, specially mentioning Isabeau and her ladies in waiting’s fashions – with exposed necks, shoulders and décolletage.

Isabeau with court attendants shown in a 19th-century print

Isabeau with court attendants shown in a 19th-century print.

Isabeau allegedly spent vast amount of money on court amusements including dance, balls, feasts and most importantly – fashion. She wore jewel-laden dresses, rich brocades, elaborate and extravagant braided hairstyles coiled into tall shells, covered with wide double hennins. She encouraged her ladies-in-waiting to wear the same fashions.

Beautiful brunette spent her days dressed in very expensive dresses with rare jeweles, golden, blue or burgundy coloured brocade dresses richly decorated with floral motives and trimmed with ermine. These dresses had long trains covered in jewels, embroidered with gold and trimmed with ermine fur and were carried by her ladies-in-waiting.

1380s - 1410s

Isabeau shown in brocade court dress with ladies-in-waiting carrying the ermine-lined train, gouache on parchment.

Women’s fashion in the late 14th and early 15th century consisted of long gowns, with long sleeves, worn over a kirtle or an undergown, and linen chemise was worn as the first layer, next to the skin. The long-waisted silhouette popular in 1300s started declining in 1390s and in early 1400s new high-waisted silhouette became fashionable. Dress was often full at the belly and usually confided with belt, as you can see down below.

The most popular fabrics for rich ladies of the period were brocade, wool, silk and velvet. Colour palette was limited, though, burgundy, all sorts of red, green, brown and indigo blue were all the rage. Fine linen was used for hair coverings. Outdoors, women usually wore mantles and cloaks lined with fur and trimmed with ermine.

Harley 4431 f.3

Miniature showing Christine de Pizan giving Queen Isabeau a book as a New Year’s gift in the queen’s closet with her ladies.

In a beautiful miniature portrait above Isabeau is wearing red high-waisted gown with green belt and very, very long and wide sleeves trimmed with ermine (traditional symbol of royalty). Isabeau and her ladies-in-waiting wear jewelled heart-shaped stuffed or hollow “bourrelets” on top of hair dressed in horns. Christine, on the other hand, wears a divided hennin covered in white cloth.

Isabeau’s dress is decorated with small gold floral prints. Under her wide sleeves you can see very right-fitting black sleeves. Two of her ladies-in-waiting have indigo blue dresses with bald golden print, while others have red, brown and green dresses. Christine is shown in ultramarine coloured gown with red under-sleeves.

1420. isabeau of bavaria

Isabeau was an art collector, like many of the Valois. She loved jewels and often commissioned lavish pieces made of gold and different jewels made with special technique called ronde-bosse – a newly developed technique of making enamel-covered gold pieces. She commissioned several fine pieces from Parisian goldsmiths, as Marie Antoinette had also done four hundred years later.

Isabeau died on 24. September 1435. at the age of 64-65. I found this little statue of her based on some portraits, and it shows the Queen in 1390s (I assume this looking at the silhouette of her dress) dressed in rich golden brocade dress trimmed and decorated wit ermine and jeweles. Note how the dress has a nice little floral print to it. She wears earrings, a ring and a rich necklace. Her head covering is also very exquisite; richly decorated with jewels and brown fur with a crown on top of all that. Take a look at her indigo blue shoes.

Isabeau of Bavaria statue