Friday 25 October 2013

A guide to 1960s vintage wedding dresses: from Princess Grace pretty to Swinging Sixties style!

Dear Reader
Thanks for visiting my vintage wedding blog. Today, I've planned a whistle-stop tour of 1960s wedding fashion.

Although I do love the 1950s - with its exaggerated femininity, wasp waists, full busts and circle skirts - by comparison the 60s offers so much choiceMore than any other decade, 60s vintage wedding fashion offers amazing freedom of expression for a vintage bride.

First, a little background...
In the early 1960s, a fashion explosion took place - and London led the world with designers like Mary Quant, Ossie Clarke, Thea Porter and John Bates. In Paris too, fashion was changing fast as designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne explored cleaner lines and more modern styling.

Fashion became hugely varied, and suddenly allowed girls movement and freedom. Liberated girls wanted clothes that freed them from the tight-fitting and restricting (and sometimes uncomfortable) dresses of the previous decade.

But when it came to wedding fashion, traditions didn't change overnight. And although Grace Kelly's wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco actually took place in 1956, the style of her dress was still the most desired right through to the mid-1960s.
Princess Grace in Helen Rose dress. A guide to 1960s vintage wedding dresses, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Princess Grace in Helen Rose wedding dress
Most early 60s brides still wanted traditional elegance and romance. And most vintage wedding dresses from this period are based on Princess Grace's iconic style, with its long lace sleeves and fitted bodice, designed by MGM's wardrobe designer Helen Rose

By the mid-60s, wedding fashions were beginning to catch up. More girls wanted to be in touch with 'Mod' fashion, and suddenly there was much more variety of shapes and styles available.

Seven lovely 60s trends to consider...

1. Early 60s 'Mad Men' style
1960s vintage wedding dresses - lovely Jackie O style dress full-length c A guide to 1960s vintage wedding dresses, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Classic 60s chic, Jackie O-style
Jackie O style 1960s wedding dress, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Chic and elegant in 1960s vintage wedding style
Full length lace 1960s dress, neckline and back of bodice, A guide to 1960s vintage wedding dresses, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Original 60s vintage dress, price £850
Original 1960s vintage wedding dress, full  length image. c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Original 60s vintage dress, price £850
Typically chic and sophisticated, the dress pictured above is made in gorgeous lace with a slash neck and a very fitted hourglass shape. 

This original vintage dress is available, priced £850.

2. Edwardian Style
Edwardian vintage wedding dresses, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
'Edwardian' dress in lace and silk, £995
Edwardian-style dresses - like Princess Grace's wedding dress - featured a demure high neckline, long sleeves, and a fitted bodice. They were often trimmed with lace for a softly romantic look and feel.

The original vintage dress shown here is a beautiful example, and is available priced £995.

One very notable designer in this trend was Priscilla Kidder, who designed as Priscilla of Boston. At her Boston studio, Priscilla famously designed the bridesmaids dresses for Princess Grace's wedding, as well as the wedding dresses for the daughters of two American Presidents!

The beautiful dress pictured below is an original vintage wedding gown designed by Priscilla, and available priced £995.

1960s vintage wedding dress by Priscilla, full length with train
Beautiful 1960s vintage wedding dress by Priscilla of Boston, £995
Detail of 1960s vintage wedding dress by Priscilla Kidder, c. Heavenly Vintage Brides vintage wedding blog 2013
1960s dress by Priscilla (lace detail), price £995
3. Babydoll
By the mid-60s, fashion no longer emphasised the waist and bust. The new silhouette focused on a more Twiggy-inspired, gamine shape. 

For wedding dresses, this translated into a trend for softer and more girlish dresses. These would  typically be ankle-length, with shaping seams below the bust. 
Ankle-skimming Babydoll style,1960s wedding dresses c. Heavenly Vintage Brides vintage wedding blog 2013
So pretty! 60s Babydoll dress, £550
The pretty original vintage dress above is available, price £550.

4. The Mini
Surely the most iconic and influential of all 60s fashions! The mini makes a fantastic statement dress for an adventurous bride. 

Yoko Ono famously caused a stir when she married John Lennon in 1969, wearing a pretty tiered mini, white knee socks and a huge white felt hat.

US designer William Cahill was beloved by the New York socialite set. His dresses were used in many movies, including 1967's The Graduate

The William Cahill original mini dress pictured here, with its integral cape, is a perfect way to show off lovely legs. It's available in my vintage collection, priced £750.
Side view of William Cahill white mini in lace, with integral cape. c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Original William Cahill mini dress, priced £750

5. Feathers and fur

By the late 60s, trims were very fashionable - whether fur or feather. They were used on necklines, hems, cuffs, and sometimes on hoods. 1960s pop star Cilla Black wore a feather-trimmed mini for her wedding to Bobby Willis in 1969.

The lovely ostrich feather trimmed dress shown below is by famous London designer John Bates, who created Emma Peel's slinky styling in the Avengers. Bates' designs were greatly sought after but he retired from fashion at the height of his fame to become an artist. His work remains highly collectible.

John Bates ostrich feather trimmed 1960s wedding dress c. HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Gorgeous John Bates original dress, price £750

6. Broderie Anglaise and Cotton Lace

In contrast to the delicate lace of the Princess Grace period, the fashion turned to fresher 'broderie anglaise' and cotton lace - particularly with daisy motifs - as worn by Brigitte Bardot in 'And God Created Woman'. 

The dress shown below is beautifully made in a pretty daisy 'guipure' cotton lace. 
Cotton lace mini 1960s vintage wedding dress, bodice and 'daisy' lace neckline, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
1960s 'daisy' dress, £595
1960s lace wedding dress, detail of neckline with daisy lace, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
'Daisy' dress lace detail, £595

7. Trapeze or A line
By the late 60s, a new silhouette had arrived. A more pared-down look could be seen in the work of couture designers like Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne. 

The A line or trapeze dress was a more modern shape, with its clean lines and structured fabrics.

The stunning Christian Dior dress shown below is a simple ivory silk A-line, high-waisted dress. It has an understated beauty with its simple and long lines and its chic low back. This original vintage wedding dress is available, priced £1350.

Christian Dior 1960s wedding dress, full length image c. HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Christian Dior A Line in silk
Rear view of Christian Dior 1960s wedding dress, c. HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Christian Dior, £1350
The dress below shows a real Pierre Cardin influence, combining the modern A Line shape with a short skirt length and beautiful French lace overlay. This short and pretty style would be lovely with little ballet flats or pointed kitten heels. The dress is size 6 to small size 8, and is available priced £745.
A-Line 1960s wedding dress, short length with lace overlay, Pierre Cardin style. c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
1960s short A Line dress with lace overlay, £745
1960s Cardin style vintage wedding dress, side view showing lace top, c HVB vintage wedding blog 2013
Pierre Cardin style A Line, £745
I hope I've given you a taste of the different trends of the 60s, and an idea of why I love the dresses from this decade - with all their variety and excitement. 

In addition to the lovely dresses featured here, I have many other 60s originals in all lengths, styles and fabrics. If you'd like to know more about any of these lovely dresses, please do contact me or visit my website.

Thanks for dropping by!
Heavenly Vintage Brides
Orange butterfly logo c Heavenly Vintage Brides vintage wedding blog 2013