So many designers, so little blog space, but three stand out as leaders of the baby boomer fashion revolutions, attaining stunning pop culture celebrity status in the process.
It started with Mary Quant who brought the mod scene and mini-skirt from Carnaby Street to main street. What began in 1965 as a local pop culture fad became de rigueur for young boomer ladies worldwide, showing off more leg than ever imagined. No warning, hardly a catch-your-breath transition—skin burst upon the scene like a whirlwind. The style signaled a sea change from the mature full-figured sweater-girl Marilyn Monroe to the adolescent, androgynous Twiggy—poster child for coming-of-age baby boomers. Thigh-in-thigh with the new fashion came pantyhose, go-go boots, and skimpy tops.
Roy Halston Frowick, better known simply as Halston, defined the 1970s and 1980s. After putting the famous pill box hat on Jacqueline Kennedy and re-inventing the chapeau as a fashion accessory, he dressed the Braniff stewardess. All the cool celebrities and jet setters wore his fashions.
Out went the patchwork-hippie styles and in came a refined minimal look, at the same time glamorous, sleek and sexy: ultrasuede wrap coats, flowing caftan, halter dresses—typically without buttons or zippers. Recognize the popular baby boomer style? You probably saw it on the Disco dance floor where Halston designs rock and ruled. And they were accessible. The designer was one of first to recognize the pop culture potential of marketing his own brand, and chose middle America J.C. Penny to cash in.
Who wasn’t influenced by Yves St. Laurent? He introduced an array of baby boomer looks, including safari jackets, tight pants and tall thigh-high boots, pop art chic, Chinese chic. The glamorization of male fashion for females was pioneered by Laurent, beginning with his famous Le Smoking Suit and followed by blazers, pant suits and leather jackets. This led the way to the polished business fashion that boomer working women in the 1980s demanded. Designers Donna Karan and Giorgio Armani stood on Laurent’s broad shouldered dress forms.
Le Smoking Suit tuxedo for women
Has there ever been or will there again be a fashion era this creative? Probably not. It’s like the Golden Age of Rock and Roll.
Baby Boomer Trivia Questions
►Boomers in Common: What do all these women share?
► Match Game: Connect the famous model with her famous husband
John Delorean, Terrance Stamp, Mick Jaggar, Billy Joel, Richard Gere
Answers at end of Post
St. Laurent in 1954 with his award winning cocktail dress
From Yves St. Laurent collection
Boomer Bon Mots
I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch. ~Gilda Radner, comedian
A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you. ~Françoise Sagan, literary critic
When in doubt, wear red. ~Bill Blass, fashion designer
►Boomers in Common: All won major beauty contests before becoming stars.
Jean Shrimpton→ Terrance Stamp
Cindy Crawford→ Richard Gere
Jerry Hall→ Mick Jaggar
Cristina Ferrare→ John Delorean
Christie Brinkley→ Billy Joel