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1965 Fashion

  • 1960s Fashion Trends for The 1965 Fashion Year
  • The year 1965 was the year of Andre Courreges—the year when the small, neat man got his message (small, neat clothes) across not only to the very few who could afford them, but also to women and girls of every size, shape, and income in every country, particularly the U.S. and England. It was the year when Courreges became the hero of the haute couture by leaving it (for ready-to-wear collections after his spring collection), and the darling as well as the despair of every fashion editor who needed him to make clothes—and news—for her readers.
  • His clothes were well known enough to be almost a cliche, but somehow they never were. Spare, short, and white all over, they turned slim girls or women into coltish creatures of ineffable charm, lithe creatures who moved freely (because of the cut and the hemlines three to four inches above the knee or the slim, straight pants) through routines that would rip the insides out of any other designer’s clothes.
  • These styles had been the starting point for a fashion revolution — with New York and London as its chief battlegrounds—for the benefit of the young or young-looking females of the world. No more interlinings, bones, stiffenings. No more fittings. Suddenly the haute couture houses in Paris found themselves short of clients (although this had been happening, gradually, for years), and they too began to design little things for the young that would need no fittings, or one at most.
  • Dresses were soft but often skimpy too, like Tiffeau’s shrimp-pink wool jersey. Starting at the top with tiny cap sleeves, a dropped round neck, and two vertical seams, it descended in a fluid way to its hem, three inches above the knee. An absolute smash, and nothing to it but know-how and a perfect figure. Everybody was doing it—even Rudi Gernreich, who liked to be different, joined the throng but with a difference. One of his best skimps was for evening, georgette patterned in paisley of turquoise, avocado, aquamarine, and gentle pinks. It had long sleeves and a shortened hem, around high neck, and nothing else except beautiful flowing movement. With it, he liked turquoise-tinted stockings and low-heeled, ankle-tied turquoise silk pumps. Tiffeau’s late-day dresses were just as short as his early-day ones. An apple-green sheer wool dress with a deep V neck and short cap sleeves had a few folds gathered into the V and flowed gently from there to its short, short hem. B. H. Wragge, the classicist of the deep-country beats, designed lilac linen dress with short sleeves, deep pockets, and a straight but easy-moving shape that stopped two inches above the knee.
  • Along with this super-sophisticated look came the youthquake for summer: little-girl dresses in shapes a kindergartener might wear but allowing for a grown-up girl’s shape and making the most of it in an innocent but hardly prim way. All the dresses had hems three or four inches above the knee, many had deep necklines (Jax, Gene Neil, Gernreich) and puffed sleeves, and all came in little-girl fabrics: floral batistes, printed linens or cottons, thick linens in white and pale primary colors.
  • The great suit was the dirndl-skirted, small-jacketed suit that Tiffeau had been designing for the past eight years and that had now hit its stride in Paris and America. His oval-caped mustard-and-black checked wool was probably as handsome a costume as there was for fall. The cape was lined in black leather and fell to a little below the waist, the jacket was small-boned and reached just a bit below the waist, the skirt dirndled in the inimitable Tiffeau way. Norell’s idea of the best suit had a long-sleeved overblouse with a hip-riding belt, a long, long jacket, double-breasted low and tabbed from the back, and a short, slim skirt. In contrast to all the young-looking clothes, these suits looked handsome, mannish, and somehow indefinably old, but the tailoring was perfection, the fabrics were glorious, and for the less-than-young figure they were perhaps more appropriate.
  • Also for the daytime and any age: marvelous country clothes. To be worn with smallish sweaters (as important as they had been for a year—the most popular ones were called “Poor Boy” sweaters), spirited young designers like Atelier showed fur skirts—rabbit, hamster, et al.—or big fur parkas like Walt Stiel’s raccoon one with matching helmet. Knits were bigger than ever, many of them adaptations of St. Laurent’s Mondrians, many others expertly tailored, and still others done softly and gently as if they had been knitted by a chic, motherly spider.
  • Late-day and evening clothes were the best in five years, from the slinky, covered-up dresses of Larry Aldrich and Geoffrey Beene to the frankly sexy clothes of such disparate designers as Galanos, Gernreich, and Sarmi. Galanos, whom most fashion observers considered America’s St. Laurent, proved it by designing an evening dress quite like St. Laurent’s bare-backed, bra-topped one. Galanos’ was strapless and had a black bra top laden with fake diamonds, rubies, and emeralds above a bare midriff and a gushing long skirt of ombre chiffon. Sarmi, a past master of superb, sexy evening clothes, designed an Empire strapless purple satin evening dress sheltered by a chenille jacket embroidered with brilliants. Here too, Tiffeau turned up a winner with some of the most enduringly beautiful evening clothes of any season. One, in particular, was of black hammered silk—a fabric unseen since the 1930’s with a high-necked, sleeveless top and gracefully slim, sweeping skirt. Tassell’s white satin tunic, long-sleeved and perfectly fitted, glided down over a wine-red underskirt, slightly flared and equipped with a tiny train.
  • Hats were fur or were just not in it, and the newest fur hat was brown Persian lamb, as was the newest fur coat in a fine figure of a reefer, or gray Persian lamb with a Ninotchka kind of hat. Usually the two matched, and sometimes straight little suits had deep fur collars. Bags went right on shrinking, and little ones looked particularly marvelous in crocodile or lizard of pale beige, deep brown, red, and of course black. Shoes had even lower heels than before and were barer than ever, with sandals going on into winter and slingbacks following hard on their low heels. And of course, the Courreges boot kept right on going, looking marvelous with the short skirts and flying hems that abounded. Jewelry was bigger; there was, once again, a trend toward one big piece—or, in the daytime, nothing at all but small dots of earrings, preferably in pierced ears. At night, necklaces of brilliants were back and bigger than ever; sometimes these were substituted for or amplified by big drop earrings of brilliants.
  • Hair was either very long and wrapped close to the head or shorter than ever, with Vidal Sassoon of London the hairdresser of the year.
    The fall collection of Rudi Gernreich featured high collars and hemlines, as in this ensemble (above left) of beige flannel with matching cap-scarf. Donald Brooks’ jaguar coat (above center) reflected the lean look that was evident throughout his collection; a buttoned half-belt shaped a fitted front high on the waistline. Gernreich’s high collar went to great lengths in a reversible cape-coat (above right) with wide sleeves and worn with high boots. Andre Courreges designed exotic evening pants-suits such as this outfit (below left) of blue-suede, jewel-buttoned pants topped by a jacket shimmering with silver metallic threads; it was designed exclusively for leather manufacturer Samuel Robert. Another Courreges design for Robert was a two-piece suit (below center) in red calf suede with white kid trimming the hemlines and the wide collar. A short-sleeved Courreges coat (below right) modeled by actress Claudine Auger, was of a white felt like cotton trimmed in black and set off by a matching hat and white ankle boots

Gache Publishing Co.
1966 Encyclopedia Year Book
covering the year 1965

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