’60s Fashion Icons: 15 Stylish Women Who Still Inspire Us Today

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’60s Fashion Icons: 15 Stylish Women Who Still Inspire Us Today
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The 1960s was a transformative decade — the end of the restrictive post-World War II posturing and the ushering in of an era of cultural and political uncertainty. It was the time of JFK’s presidency and assassination, of Woodstock and Vietnam and of college campuses boiling over with anti-war rage and protest — and massive social upheaval.

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And that was definitely reflected in the fashion. Suddenly hemlines were shorter, heels higher, and all style bets were off. Women were casting off the restrictive clothes of previous decades and wearing mini-skirts, bikinis, and — gasp! — hot pants.

Some chopped their hair short, playing with androgyny, while others grew their hair wild and free. In a nod toward the social and sexual liberation that marked the decade, women’s clothing was suddenly a lot more revealing and experimental. Most people agreed (especially the young men of the era) that this was a very good thing.

MORE: How To Find Your Personal Style: 4 Tips From Fashion Icon Iris Apfel

We’ve gathered together some of the incredible women who defined the fashion and style of the 60s—including music icons like the Supremes, models (hello, Twiggy),  actresses like Jane Birkin and designers—as well as clued you in on some of their best work in order to get to know them better.

Take a look, and share your favorites in the comments!

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The women whose style defined a generation. 

Jane Birkin 

This singer and actress has lived—she had a romance with French singer Serge Gainsbourg, had a rather famous Hermès bag named after her, and gave birth to two girls — Lou Doillon and Charlotte Gainsbourg — both style muses in their own rights. 

Recommended Listening: 

Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg, "Je T'aime...Moi Non"

Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire de Melodie Nelson

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin

Mary Quant

Quant was a major mover and shaker in the Mod fashion scene, and is often credited with the creation of the mini-skirt and hot pants. (Thanks Mary!)

Recommended Reading:

Quant by Quant: The Autobiography of Mary Quant, by Mary Quant

Mary Quant

Mary Quant

The Supremes 

The Supremes, led by Diana Ross, exemplified the Motown girl group sound. They're still considered one of the most successful girl groups, ever, with 12 number one singles. Plus,they had really great coordinated outfits. 

Recommended Listening: 

The Supremes A-Go-Go

The Supremes

The Supremes

Edie Sedgwick

Part of Andy Warhol's rag-tag Factory crew, Sedgwick briefly served as Warhol's model and muse before the two had a falling out. 

Recommended Reading: 

Edie: American Girlby George Plimpton and Jean Stein

Edie Sedgwick

Edie Sedgwick

Pattie Boyd

Boyd was a model, photographer and author who married both Eric Clapton and George Harrison. The song "Layla" is about her.

Recommended Reading: 

Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me, by Pattie Boyd

 

Pattie Boyd

Pattie Boyd

Twiggy 

Twiggy was just a regular model before Brit hairdresser Leonard, of the House of Lenoard, gave her her signature close-cropped 'do. The short hair, combined with her stunning doe eyes launched her into supermodel status. 

Recommended Reading: 

Twiggy: A Life in Photographs by Terence Pepper

Twiggy

Photo: hasselblad

Twiggy

Julie Christie

An Academy Award-winning British actress, Christie definied swinging London style. 

Recommended Viewing: 

"Dr. Zhivago"

"Don't Look Now"

"Billy Liar"

 

Julie Christie

Julie Christie

 

Audrey Hepburn

Already mega-famous by the '60s, Audrey Hepburn's most iconic role was probably her 1961 turn in the film adaptation of "Breakfast At Tiffany's" where she basically redefined what it meant to have bangs, and wear a little black dress. 

Recommended Viewing: 

"Funny Face" 

"Breakfast At Tiffany's"

"Roman Holiday"

 

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn 

Françoise Hardy 

A painfully shy singer and actress, Hardy's beauty and charms have been immortalized by Bob Dylan, and she's been credited as a muse to Nicolas Ghesquière.

Recommended Listening: 

Midnight Blues: Paris London 1968 - 72

Françoise Hardy

Photo: Photos12 - Jean-Marie Périer

Françoise Hardy

Anita Pallenberg

An Italian-born designer, actress, and model, Pallenberg is known for dating not one but two members of the Rolling Stones — Brian Jones and Keith Richards. She had three children with Richards and was rumored to even had had a brief fling with Jagger, though she denies it. 

Recommended Viewing

"Sympathy for the Devil," the 1968 documentary about the Rolling Stones which features Pallenberg. 

 

Anita Pallenberg

Anita Pallenberg

Mia Farrow

Gamine Mia Farrow chopped off her locks for the horror film "Rosemary's Baby" and became an instant style icon.

Recommended Viewing: 

"Rosemary's Baby"

 

Mia Farrow

Mia Farrow

Jacqueline Kennedy

As First Lady, Jackie Kennedy brought magic to the White House, turning it into a modern-day Camelot. In the years after JFK's death, she reinvented herself as a glamourous jet-setting socialite. 

Recommended Reading:

 Jackie Styleby Valentino

Jacqueline Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy

Brigitte Bardot

French film actress and sexpot Brigitte Bardot popularized the bikini, and turned helped usher in the sexual revolution. 

Recommended Viewing: 

"Contempt"

"...And God Created Woman"

 

Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot

Marianne Faithfull

In the mid-60s, Faithfull, a British singer, songwriter and actress, left her husband to have a romantic and creative relationship with Mick Jagger. She co-wrote the Stones' song "Sister Morphine."

Recommended Listening:

Marianne Faithfull

 

Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull

Nancy Kwan

Kwan was one of the first-ever Asian-American actresses to break into the Hollywood system, and was referred to as the "Chinese Brigitte Bardot."

Recomended Viewing

"The World of Suzie Wong"

Nancy Kwan

Nancy Kwan

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