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Youthquake! The 1960s Fashion Revolution

Start Date 06 March 2012
End Date 07 April 2012
Venue The Museum at FIT
Location New York, USA
Curator Organized and curated by FIT graduate students of the Fashion and Textiles: History, Theory, Museum Practice program
Curated with The Museum at FIT

Youthquake! The 1960s Fashion Revolution explored the dramatic impact of youth culture on fashion during the 1960s. Once only the rich, the Establishment, set the fashion, said pioneering British designer and boutique owner Mary Quant. Now it is the inexpensive little dress seen on the girls in High Street. 

Who created fashion, how it was made, and who could participate in it was redefined by rebellious young people during this seminal decade. Youth subcultures challenged the dominance of Paris couture as the fashion authority in the 1960s. The Mods and the Hippies dressed to provoke in clothes that blurred and erased gender lines, exuded sexuality, and embraced bold silhouettes and new materials. The exhibition was organized according to three interrelated themes—boutiques, mass marketing, and high fashion—and features over thirty garments, accessories, videos, and other related media. 

The exhibition began by looking at a new generation of designers and their innovative boutiques, where young clientele—an increasingly powerful consumer class—shopped and socialized. London was the epicenter of youth-generated style, but youthquake boutiques soon began to open internationally. New York’s Paraphernalia boutique sold work by emerging talent such as Betsey Johnson, in addition to the work of London designers. Paraphernalia’s cutting-edge designs was represented by a mini-dress in metallic copper knit.