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1960s Wedding Dress Styling

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Frank Sinatra & Mia Farrow

Today, we continue our Henry Roth history lesson of wedding dresses through the ages with a peek at the 1960s. This was such an exciting decade for fashion and it brought us many of the styles we still look to today, from minis to maxis and A-line to caftans.

During the 1960s, bridal fashion brought many of the styles that are now so familiar to us today, like empire waistline and the A-line silhouette. In addition, the bubble sheath silhouette, hemline at ankles, 3/4 lace sleeves and Watteau train are unique styles of that decade.

The 1960 election, won by John F. Kennedy, brought glamour to post-war America, with Jacqueline Kennedy as first lady. In 1961, Oleg Cassini was appointed as Jacquie’s official designer. Women around the world admired her for her for her upscale style and instantly adopted her sense of fashion and Jacquie’s appearances at White House State dinners wearing a fitted sleeveless sheath with a bare neckline and opera length gloves, caused a huge media stir as prior to then sleeveless garments were considered too informal for black tie. Her silhouette of a slim fitting sheath was striking in contrast to the full skirts of the previous decade.

American wedding wear designers–not yet ready for sleeveless gowns in 1962–adapted the look by adding a cap-sleeve to offer a modern version of Grace Kelly’s famous gown from the previous decade. And in 1964, the A-line silhouette made its debut.

While American bridal trends during the 1960s were inspired by European fashion houses, Balenciaga and Givenchy, in England a fashion explosion was taking place with Hulanicki (of Biba fame) and Mary Quant taking the helm of the “Mod” movement to give miniskirts and fashion icon, Twiggy, their debut.

By late 1965, the mini skirt was so popular it was even considered acceptable for brides. Also popular was the A-line gown which was a breakaway from the tightly girdled hourglass shapes of the 1950s. Such gowns 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.

Elizabeth Taylor was the poster child for this new era of sophistication and glamour, epitomized in 1963?s Cleopatra. Soon thereafter evening wear designers began to display the rather distinctive influences of Egyptian design–sequined or beaded collars and softly draped fabric. The look was completed with heavy eyeliner and piled hair.

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Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor

Then, towards the end of the decade, came the Vietnam War and the growth of the hippie movement. Young people were focused on freedom, peace and love.

With the emphasis on freedom, peace and love, hair was now being left long and unstyled, and toward the end of the decade, Hemlines lengthened to what is now called the “Maxi.” During these latter years of the 1960s wedding gowns were romanticized–inspired by caftans, empire waists and Victorian sensibility, to create what is now known as the “flower child” look. Flowing bell sleeves and flower trims were the order of the day. 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 lace.

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A hippie couple

For Henry’s future vintage take on the 1960s, look to Louise, which flaunts an empire waist and a half-cap strap. Or Helen which is a fresh take on the A-line silhouette.

Famous weddings of the 1960s:-

Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow -1966

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor -1964

Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong Jones – 1960

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