a more congenial spot,
Kennedy wins 1960
1961 The Cold War threatens
April 1961 Soviet Yuri Gargarin the first human to orbit the planet
May 1961 Freedom Riders focus on civil rights movement
Kennedy creates Peace Corps 1961
October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
November 22, 1963 the Assassination of the President
Lyndon Baines Johnson sworn into office
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Beatles appear on Ed Sullivan 1964
March 1965 Marines land at Da Nang
1965-1968 The Vietnam War escalates with the Tet Offensive
April 1968, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
1969 Nixon takes office
July 21, 1969 Armstrong walks on the moon
August 17, 1969 Woodstock
House of Bianchi
Pellon lined Wedding
Gown. Bonwit Teller
The 1960 election, won by
John F. Kennedy, brought an added dimension of glamour to the
White House that seemed to have been missing during the
administration. The Camelot mystique began with the soft spoken,
socially adept gracefulness of Mrs. Kennedy and continued into the
decade as a sense of pride for American women.
Oleg Cassini was
appointed as official designer to the first Lady. American women
seemed to approve as they admired Jacqueline Kennedy for her upscale
style and instantly adopted her sense of fashion.
Kennedy's appearance at White House State dinners wearing a fitted sleeveless
sheath with a bare neckline and opera length gloves, caused a huge media
stir. Previously, sleeveless garments were considered too informal
for black tie. Her silhouette of a slim fitting sheath was
contrast to the full skirts of the previous decade.
wedding wear designers, not yet ready for sleeveless gowns in 1962, adapted the
sleeve to cover the shoulder as a cap, creating a wedding gown that
combined with an updated look.
1961 Life Magazine showed Weddings Around
The gown was a modified bubble sheath
with banded waist and scooped neck. This style was a homogenized version of the
Givenchy inspired sack and varied only with the fullness
of the skirt and height and width of the rounded neck. Usually relying
on superb dressmaking details, the silhouette lasted until 1964, when
the A-line made its first ready to wear appearance.
Priscilla and Elvis were married May 1, 1967, in Las Vegas,
Nevada, at the Aladdin Hotel
1965 Christos for
A-line Sheath and Matching Wedding Coat
Pillbox hats and shortie
gloves were still the staple, but that would change by the decade's end.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the English fashion explosion that would
come to be known as the Mods was led
by the British designer's Hulanicki (of Biba fame) and
personified what the early
years of the swinging sixties were
all about; highly individualized, gimmicky style. With the success
of the Beatles, it wasn't long before the "birds" mini skirt,
once again attributed to Quant, found it's way to America to be sold in
After the tragic
assassination of the President in 1963 and the subsequent dourness of
the Johnson administration, the lights were silently extinguished at
Camelot and our hey day of refined glamour was no more. Without
our soft spoken muse, we had to look to Twiggy as our fashion goddess,
and by late 1965, the Mini skirt as bridal wear
was now considered acceptable, albeit too avant garde for middle
America. The A-line cage gown however, perfectly suited the
fresh look and was heartily accepted, possibly because it offered
women a release from the dreaded girdle that had packed them into the
36-24-36 obsessed 50's. It fell from
the shoulders and had no hint of a waist.
Sleeves were three quarter or eliminated completely, only to
be accessorized with formal gloves.
Christos gown bravely cut a smart, chic, strapless
silhouette. The pieces show their lineage from the
structured pellon-lined silk peau gowns from the 1960s.
Here, the stiffness is cut into an A-line but simply falls
from a delicate neckline of lace. It was sold with a
matching wedding coat for additional glamour and tasteful
she had done once before, Elizabeth Taylor epitomized the new
sophistication. Her starring role in the 1963 film Cleopatra
given American women an exotic heroine, and soon thereafter evening wear
designers began to display the rather distinctive influences of
Egyptian design. Sequined and beaded collars with softly draped
fabric, the hair pulled back and piled high on top of the head, eyeliner
worthy of an Egyptian Queen. Wedding wear on the other hand, was
less likely to reflect exotic tastes, but that was all to change when
the Vietnam war began in 1965.
1965 to 1968
Sensing a rather
duplicitous presidential administration, young people in the sixties
felt alienated from a society already suffering from its overdose of
commercialized domestication and greed. Combining that distrust
with the fear of compulsory military service for a war that no one
understood nor wanted, the hippie movement became an alternative
lifestyle for those seeking a spiritual path.
With the emphasis on
freedom, peace and love, hair was now being left long and
unstyled, and toward the end of the decade, the hemlines went to
the complete opposite of the Mod's mini; now called the "Maxi"
and an ankle length "Midi."
Wedding wear took on an
almost caftan look, a mix of Empire and Victorian inspired
some with flowing bell sleeves and flower trims.
Watteau trains were often attached at the upper back shoulder and were
made from the same fabric or sheer net
that was embellished with Venice
Bathing cap style headpieces with an under chin strap made for an
interesting and futuristic yet fearless flyer appearance. Hemlines
nearly always skimmed the ankles while the train fell
out behind in a courtly manner.
"We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden."
Hollywood movie interpretations such as The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Anne of
the Thousand Days (1969) created period styles that shared a good run in
late 1960s wedding fashion.
Cage gowns and Watteaus falling from the
shoulder were regal fantasy for the unsettling times.
the East room of the White House, first
daughter, Lynda Bird Johnson marries
Marine Captain Charles S. Robb in
Lynda wears a Camelot cap,
extremely popular at the time.
It differed from the Juliet cap in that
it increased in height at the back of the head and held the veil outward
until it dropped with a cascading length of veil. Both styles were
the height of fashion during the latter part of the decade.
Wedding dresses were overwhelmingly cage silhouette, with a high waist
just below the bust. This style particularly suited the petite
figure, because the body of the dress fell from under the bustline
rather than the natural waistline, giving the impression of height to
the wearer. Lynda Byrd chose a Watteau train
that fell from her shoulder blades.
Wedding wear had evolved into
flower child romanticism toward the end of the decade that was extremely
creative and hip. Hemlines were ankle skimming, hence most brides choose to
wear flats or even go barefoot, wearing a wreath or
headband hairpiece of real flowers
for a natural, organic look.
1968's Summer of Love had weddings
designed to be completely natural and carefree, all the way up to changing your name to
moonbeam and living on a commune.
Naturally, not everyone
adopted the carefree alternative hippie lifestyle, many women still used
copious amounts of hairspray and rat tail combs in the 60's and
continued to do so into the 70's. Higher and higher beehive hair
was the end result and soon the pillbox that had
perched so precariously on top of the head began to look ridiculous.
This prompted Emily Post to advise:
you are one of the many women who feel that there is no hat in the World
becoming to you, settle for a little veil or a band or bow on those
occasions when it is necessary to cover your head. You must wear a
hat to all Roman Catholic ceremonies, and it is always correct at
Churches of every faith."
Alas, her advice was all for
naught, as the pillbox suffered it's ultimate fashion demise by the end
of the decade, put to rest by young women who had
enough of being told what to do long
enough. The societal demand that a woman wear gloves for daywear soon
was silenced. Rest in
peace. Fashion was now anti-fashion.
[ 1920's Veil Styles ] [ Vintage Fashion History 1930's ] [ Vintage Fashion History 1940's ] [ 1940's Vintage Wedding Hairstyles ] [ Vintage Fashion History 1950's ] [ Vintage Fashion History 1960's ] [ Vintage Fashion History - 1970's Weddings ] [ Vintage Fashion History - 1980's Weddings ] [ Desiderata ]