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Paris refashioned, 1957-1968 : a virtual tour

May 1, 2017
Paris Refashioned : 1957-1968 at the Museum at FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City just closed. If you missed it here is a virtual tour of the entire exhibition:
Paris Refashioned : 1957-1968

Paris Refashioned : 1957-1968

Paris Refashioned : 1957-1968

Paris Refashioned : 1957-1968 examines the combined influence of French haute couture, ready-to-wear, and popular culture. Exhibitions and books about this era tend to focus on London as the center of innovative, youth-oriented design, but this perspective overlooks the significant role that Paris continued to play in the fashion industry. In 1957, 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent became the creative director of the house of Christian Dior. Alongside other young couturiers, including Pierre Cardin and Hubert de Givenchy, he began to defy the traditions of the couture system.
Like England, France had a large population of young people – in 1958, more than eleven million of its citizens were under the age of 15. This generation came of age during the 1960s, listening to their own music, watching films featuring their own movie stars, and frequenting their own boutiques. The century-long reign of French couturiers was being challenged by a group of young, ready-to-wear designers known as stylistes. During the early 1960s, stylistes such as Emmanuelle Khanh and Sonia Ryskiel introduced a youthful, vibrant aesthetic and a democratic approach to dressing that proved highly influential. By mid-decade, numerous couturiers had launched their own ready-to-wear lines. In 1968, Cristobal Balenciaga – one of the most renowned designers of the twentieth centtury – closed his doors, lamenting that it had become impossible to create true couture.
The exhibition opens with a selection of couture garments from 1957 to 1960, arranged in a setting inspired by an opulent salon. The main gallery features couture and ready-to-wear clothing from 1961 to 1968, displayed in a modern, graphic space that recalls a Parisian streetscape. Both galleries include work from several of the same designers, emphasizing the evolution of their styles during this vital eleven-year period.
Colleen Hill, curator
Paris Refashioned, 1967-1968 has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the Couture Council
State of the Arts (NYSCA) New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968

Acknowledgements
This exhibition was organized by Colleen Hill, curator of costume and accessories, the Museum at FIT
This exhibition was designed by Ackert Architecture
Lighting design by Eric Steding of Shop Studio LLC
Contributions by the staff at The Museum at FIT include:
Graphic design and publications coordination, Julian Clark
Exhibition production and management, Michael Goitia, Ryan Wolfe, Ken Wiesinger, Gail Bowden, and Nateer Cirino
Conservation and installation, Ann Coppinger, Nicole Bloomfield, Marjorie Jonas, and Thomas Synnamon
Registrars, Sonia Dingilian and Jill Hemingway
Educational programming, Tanya Melendez-Escalante, Melissa Marra, and Faith Cooper
Digital media, Tamsen Young and Oyinade Koyi
Special thanks to Valerie Steele, director; Fred Dennis, senior curator; and Alexis Romano, independent fashion historian
Exhibition installation team: Andy Barrett, Celeste Carballo, Aaron Graham, Kevin Kelly, Thomas Leach, Isabelle Lesueur, Grant Neale, Raphael Peterson, Matthew Spillane, Emmy Thelander, and Joshua Weibley

 

Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968

View of the main gallery for Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968

Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968

Roger Vivier sustained a ten-year collaboration with the house of Dior. While Vivier’s role was to design shoes that complemented Christian Dior’s fashions, the couturier occasionally sought Vivier’s help to complete a dress style. Rene Mancini was one of several designers to produce footwear for Chanel, including her signature spectator pumps. The stiletto heels that dominated the 1950s fell out of fashion during the next decade in favor of more practical and youthful styles.
1. Rene Mancini
Shoes, circa 1959
Black and white wool, brass
The Museum at FIT, 68.143.137
Gift of Lauren Bacall

2. Rene Mancini (possibly for Chanel) Shoes, circa 1960 Tan leather, black satin The Museum at FIT, 78.57.60 Gift of Mrs. Ethel Scull

2. Rene Mancini
(possibly for Chanel)
Shoes, circa 1960
Tan leather, black satin
The Museum at FIT, 78.57.60
Gift of Mrs. Ethel Scull

3. Roger Vivier for Christian Dior Shoes and bag, circa 1957 Beige and blue warp-printed silk The Museum at FIT, 79.169.6 Gift of Arthur Schwartz

3. Roger Vivier for Christian Dior
Shoes and bag, circa 1957
Beige and blue warp-printed silk
The Museum at FIT, 79.169.6
Gift of Arthur Schwartz

4. Roger Vivier for Christian Dior Shoes, circa 1957 Taupe lizard skin, orange silk The Museum at FIT, 79.169.3 Gift of Arthur Schwartz

5. Roger Vivier for Christian Dior
Shoes, circa 1958
White and black printed silk failie
The Museum at FIT, U.575
Origin unknown

Balenciaga was an undisputed leader of fashion during the 1950s. Christian Dior, arguably the most famous couturier of the era, referred to his fellow designer as "the Master of us all." Balenciaga's work relied not on ostentation, but skillful design. This elegantly simple sheath dress is adorned only with a self-fabric bow. Cristobal Calenciaga Couture dress, circa 1960 Dark brown wool The Museum at FIT, 82.208.6 Gift of David Biderman Saint Laurent's use of color blocking enlivens the otherwise simple design of this shift dress. Over the course of his career, the couturier revisited several of the earliest design ideas. His continued interest in color blocking is best exemplified by his fall 1965 "Mondrian" collection. A dress from that collection is on view in the adjacent gallery. Christian Dior (Yves Saint Laurent) Couture dress, fall 1959 Black and cream wool The Museum at FIT, 72.81.13 Gift of Doris Duke

Balenciaga was an undisputed leader of fashion during the 1950s. Christian Dior, arguably the most famous couturier of the era, referred to his fellow designer as “the Master of us all.” Balenciaga’s work relied not on ostentation, but skillful design. This elegantly simple sheath dress is adorned only with a self-fabric bow.
Cristobal Calenciaga
Couture dress, circa 1960
Dark brown wool
The Museum at FIT, 82.208.6
Gift of David Biderman
Saint Laurent’s use of color blocking enlivens the otherwise simple design of this shift dress. Over the course of his career, the couturier revisited several of the earliest design ideas. His continued interest in color blocking is best exemplified by his fall 1965 “Mondrian” collection. A dress from that collection is on view in the adjacent gallery.
Christian Dior
(Yves Saint Laurent)
Couture dress, fall 1959
Black and cream wool
The Museum at FIT, 72.81.13
Gift of Doris Duke

Chanel came out of retirement in 1954. Fashion insiders who viewed her comeback collection were said to have maintained a stony silence during its presentation. Undaunted, she soon managed to regain much of her former momentus - in part because of the influence of Helene Gordon-Lazareff, editor of Elle, who recognized the potential of Chanel's chic yet unfussy suits for the magazine's audience of modern, forward-thinking women. Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel Couture suit, 1959 Black and white check wool, silk The Museum at FIT, 69.161.26 Gieft of Lauren Bacall Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel Couture suit, fall 1959 Red and green wool tweed, silk The Museum at FIT, 80.261.2 Gift of Mrs. Walter Eytan

Chanel came out of retirement in 1954. Fashion insiders who viewed her comeback collection were said to have maintained a stony silence during its presentation. Undaunted, she soon managed to regain much of her former momentus – in part because of the influence of Helene Gordon-Lazareff, editor of Elle, who recognized the potential of Chanel’s chic yet unfussy suits for the magazine’s audience of modern, forward-thinking women.
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Couture suit, 1959
Black and white check wool, silk
The Museum at FIT, 69.161.26
Gift of Lauren Bacall
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Couture suit, fall 1959
Red and green wool tweed, silk
The Museum at FIT, 80.261.2
Gift of Mrs. Walter Eytan

A photograph of this design was featured in American Vogue with a caption that read: "No poacher on the past, Cardin gave all his clothes the current look." Cardin paired the suit with a black, helmet-style hat, described as "a unique projection into fashion space." The ensemble hinted at the designer's futuristic fashions to come. Pierre Cardin Couture suit, fall 1960 Red mohair and wool The Museum at FIT, 77.176.5 Gift of Kay Kerr Uebel Like Chanel, Balenciaga offered women a reprieve from the dominant hourglass silhouette of the 1950s. His creations from this era were not only distinctive, they were prescient, too: designs such as this suit, with its precise, streamlined modernity, had a significant influence on the look of fashion during the decade to follow. Cristobal Balenciaga Couture suit, 1959 Camel wool twill The Museum at FIT, 86.142.2 Gift of Jerome Zipkin

A photograph of this design was featured in American Vogue with a caption that read: “No poacher on the past, Cardin gave all his clothes the current look.” Cardin paired the suit with a black, helmet-style hat, described as “a unique projection into fashion space.” The ensemble hinted at the designer’s futuristic fashions to come.
Pierre Cardin
Couture suit, fall 1960
Red mohair and wool
The Museum at FIT, 77.176.5
Gift of Kay Kerr Uebel
Like Chanel, Balenciaga offered women a reprieve from the dominant hourglass silhouette of the 1950s. His creations from this era were not only distinctive, they were prescient, too: designs such as this suit, with its precise, streamlined modernity, had a significant influence on the look of fashion during the decade to follow.
Cristobal Balenciaga
Couture suit, 1959
Camel wool twill
The Museum at FIT, 86.142.2
Gift of Jerome Zipkin

Christian Dior was not only a preeminent couturier, but also an astute businessman who foresaw the rise in importance of ready-towear. The 'Christian Dior - New York" line included distilled versions of couture designs that were appropriate for wholesale manufacturing, and that had been specialty adapted to suit the tastes of an American clientele. Christian Dior - New York Ready-to-wear suit, circa 1960, USA Black linen, white organdy The Museum at FIT, 78.128.10 Gift of Gladys Soloman

Christian Dior was not only a preeminent couturier, but also an astute businessman who foresaw the rise in importance of ready-towear. The ‘Christian Dior – New York” line included distilled versions of couture designs that were appropriate for wholesale manufacturing, and that had been specialty adapted to suit the tastes of an American clientele. Christian Dior – New York Ready-to-wear suit, circa 1960, USA Black linen, white organdy The Museum at FIT, 78.128.10 Gift of Gladys Soloman

Madame Gres established her business in 1932, and was best known for her meticulously pleated, Grecian-style gowns. Yet her body of work was widely varied and constantly evolving. This unusual design is at once sculptural and soft, combining the sleek silhouette of a sheath gown with gathered panels of fabric that create an A-line silhouette. Madame Gres Couture evening gown, circa 1960 Printed white silk chiffon The Museum at FIT, 96.116.3 Gift of Mrs. Michael Batterby

Madame Gres established her business in 1932, and was best known for her meticulously pleated, Grecian-style gowns. Yet her body of work was widely varied and constantly evolving. This unusual design is at once sculptural and soft, combining the sleek silhouette of a sheath gown with gathered panels of fabric that create an A-line silhouette.
Madame Gres
Couture evening gown, circa 1960
Printed white silk chiffon
The Museum at FIT, 96.116.3
Gift of Mrs. Michael Batterby

Some fashion editors criticized Chanel's work from the 1950s and 1960s, claiming it was more staid than inventive. Yet a closer look at Chanel's designs proves that she did, in fact, adapt to the changing times. This evening suit at first appears conservative, but a fitted, flirty halter dress is worn beneath the demure jacket. Gabriele "Coco" Chanel Couture evening suit, circa 1960 Gold silk satin brocade The Museum at FIT, 76.185.3 Gift of Mrs. Stephane Groweff Fashion historian Claire Wilcox astutely summerized Givenchy's 1950s creations as "incorporating the spirit of the boutique with the quality of couture." He excelled at finding a balance between youthful vivacity and classic chic, exemplified by this short, simple sheath dress with embellishmen at the hip. By 1960, Givenchy had established his reputation as a leading couturier. Hubert de Givenchy Couture cocktail dress, 1960 Black wool, rhinestones The Museum at FIT, 78.198.34 Gift of Hannah Troy-Meyer

Some fashion editors criticized Chanel’s work from the 1950s and 1960s, claiming it was more staid than inventive. Yet a closer look at Chanel’s designs proves that she did, in fact, adapt to the changing times. This evening suit at first appears conservative, but a fitted, flirty halter dress is worn beneath the demure jacket.
Gabriele “Coco” Chanel
Couture evening suit, circa 1960
Gold silk satin brocade
The Museum at FIT, 76.185.3
Gift of Mrs. Stephane Groweff
Fashion historian Claire Wilcox astutely summerized Givenchy’s 1950s creations as “incorporating the spirit of the boutique with the quality of couture.” He excelled at finding a balance between youthful vivacity and classic chic, exemplified by this short, simple sheath dress with embellishmen at the hip. By 1960, Givenchy had established his reputation as a leading couturier.
Hubert de Givenchy
Couture cocktail dress, 1960
Black wool, rhinestones
The Museum at FIT, 78.198.34
Gift of Hannah Troy-Meyer

In his 1957 autobiography, Christian Dior wrote, "Haute couture has become an expression of a single personality: that of the head of the house." Following his death that same year, it came as a surprise that young, then-unknown Yves Saint Laurent was selected to take his place. While Saint Laurent was recognized for his forward-thinking designs, this evening gown demonstrates that he also made highly opulent creations in the Dior tradition. Christian Dior Couture ball gown, fall 1957 Embroidered beige silk The Museum at FIT, PL74.1.24 Lent by Mrs. Michael Blankfort Christian Dior (Yves Saint Laurent) Couture evening gown, spring 1958 Embellished off-white net and silk satin The Museum at FIT, 78.147.12 Gift of Mrs. H. J. Heinz II

In his 1957 autobiography, Christian Dior wrote, “Haute couture has become an expression of a single personality: that of the head of the house.” Following his death that same year, it came as a surprise that young, then-unknown Yves Saint Laurent was selected to take his place. While Saint Laurent was recognized for his forward-thinking designs, this evening gown demonstrates that he also made highly opulent creations in the Dior tradition.
Christian Dior
Couture ball gown, fall 1957
Embroidered beige silk
The Museum at FIT, PL74.1.24
Lent by Mrs. Michael Blankfort
Christian Dior
(Yves Saint Laurent)
Couture evening gown, spring 1958
Embellished off-white net and silk satin
The Museum at FIT, 78.147.12
Gift of Mrs. H. J. Heinz II

Pierre Cardin worked for Christian Dior before opening his own design house in 1950. Although Cardin was quick to find success, he did not design a full couture collection with clothing for all occassions until 1957. His early designs for eveningwear are somewhat rare. Pierre Cardin Couture evening gown, circa 1957 Embroidered cream net, cream silk satin The Museum at FIT, 72.112.38 Gift of Mrs. Rodman A. Heeren

Pierre Cardin worked for Christian Dior before opening his own design house in 1950. Although Cardin was quick to find success, he did not design a full couture collection with clothing for all occassions until 1957. His early designs for eveningwear are somewhat rare.
Pierre Cardin
Couture evening gown, circa 1957
Embroidered cream net, cream silk satin
The Museum at FIT, 72.112.38
Gift of Mrs. Rodman A. Heeren

Nina Ricci established her couture house in 1932, but by the early 1950s, she played only a minor role in her business. The label's creations were left in the hands of several designers, including Jules-Francois Crahay. Although it is uncertain if Crahay designed this dress, it exemplifies the blend of femininity and creativity with which he reinvigorated the label. Nina Ricci (possibly Jules-Francois Crahay) Couture evening gown, circa 1957 Gold silk satin The Museum at FIT, 82.18.3 Gift of Janet A. Sloane

Nina Ricci established her couture house in 1932, but by the early 1950s, she played only a minor role in her business. The label’s creations were left in the hands of several designers, including Jules-Francois Crahay. Although it is uncertain if Crahay designed this dress, it exemplifies the blend of femininity and creativity with which he reinvigorated the label.
Nina Ricci
(possibly Jules-Francois Crahay)
Couture evening gown, circa 1957
Gold silk satin
The Museum at FIT, 82.18.3
Gift of Janet A. Sloane

Pierre Balmain's designs were expesive, meticulously crafted, and safely in good taste. "[His] name is often on the lips of women who are dressed by the great couture houses," wrote the journalist Celia Bertin in 1956. During the decade to follow, however, Balmain would be overshadowed by more innovative desigers. Pierre Balmain Couture cocktail dress, circa 1959 Embroidered ivory satin The Museum at FIT, 92.120.1 Gift of Ms. Dion Alden Sait Laurent's earliest collections for the House of Dior were widely lauded for their youthfulness and invention. Yet the designer's innovations could sometimes have unintended consequences—his fall 1959 collection included dramatically shorter hemlines that made fashionable women furious, as they worried it made their existing wardrobes appear obsolete. Christian Dior (Yves Saint Laurent) Couture cocktail dress, fall 1959 Black wool crepe The Museum at FIT, 2003.100.4 Gift of Robert Renfield

Pierre Balmain’s designs were expesive, meticulously crafted, and safely in good taste. “[His] name is often on the lips of women who are dressed by the great couture houses,” wrote the journalist Celia Bertin in 1956. During the decade to follow, however, Balmain would be overshadowed by more innovative desigers.
Pierre Balmain
Couture cocktail dress, circa 1959
Embroidered ivory satin
The Museum at FIT, 92.120.1
Gift of Ms. Dion Alden
Sait Laurent’s earliest collections for the House of Dior were widely lauded for their youthfulness and invention. Yet the designer’s innovations could sometimes have unintended consequences—his fall 1959 collection included dramatically shorter hemlines that made fashionable women furious, as they worried it made their existing wardrobes appear obsolete.
Christian Dior
(Yves Saint Laurent)
Couture cocktail dress, fall 1959
Black wool crepe
The Museum at FIT, 2003.100.4
Gift of Robert Renfield

Couturiers produced accessories in order to present a "total look" for their clients, of which hats were an essential component. During the 1950s, millinery was worn for most occasions, and some designers—such as Christian Dior—webt so far as to design hats to pair with ballgowns. The importance of millinery diminished during the following decade, when women's hair became a greater focal point. 1. Huber de Givenchy Hat, circa 1960 Green velvet The Museum at FIT, 70.57.177 Gift of Mr. Rodman A. Heeren 2. Christian Dior Hat, circa 1958 Black velvet, satin ribbon The Museum at FIT, P88.66.21 Museum purchase 3. Cristocal Balenciaga Hat, circa 1960 Brown mohair The Museum at FIT, 78.97.2 Gift of Mrs. Irving Nelson 4. Christian Dior Hat, circa 1960 Gold silk, beads, and bullion cord The Museum at FIT, 2016.29.17 Gift of Bruce Mosler 5. Pierre Cardin Hat, circa 1960 Beige silk, white silk The Museum at FIT, 80.193.31 Gift of F. Kay Barnes 6. Cristobal Balenciaga Hat, circa 1957 White felt The Museum at FIT, 73.6.410 Gift of Adele Simpson

Couturiers produced accessories in order to present a “total look” for their clients, of which hats were an essential component. During the 1950s, millinery was worn for most occasions, and some designers—such as Christian Dior—webt so far as to design hats to pair with ballgowns. The importance of millinery diminished during the following decade, when women’s hair became a greater focal point.
1. Huber de Givenchy
Hat, circa 1960
Green velvet
The Museum at FIT, 70.57.177
Gift of Mr. Rodman A. Heeren
2. Christian Dior
Hat, circa 1958
Black velvet, satin ribbon
The Museum at FIT, P88.66.21
Museum purchase
3. Cristocal Balenciaga
Hat, circa 1960
Brown mohair
The Museum at FIT, 78.97.2
Gift of Mrs. Irving Nelson
4. Christian Dior
Hat, circa 1960
Gold silk, beads, and bullion cord
The Museum at FIT, 2016.29.17
Gift of Bruce Mosler
5. Pierre Cardin
Hat, circa 1960
Beige silk, white silk
The Museum at FIT, 80.193.31
Gift of F. Kay Barnes
6. Cristobal Balenciaga
Hat, circa 1957
White felt
The Museum at FIT, 73.6.410
Gift of Adele Simpson

Christian Dior opened his boutique in 1947. The offerings were initially limited to accessories, such as jewelry and scarves, but soon expanded to include clothing. While the idea of the "couture boutique" was not new, Dior sold simplified variants on his couture creations—an innovative and highly successful concept. Christian Dior Boutique Ready-to-wear hostess gown, circa 1957 Printed ivory silk satin The Museum at FIT, 91.190.4 Gift of Penelope Tree

Christian Dior opened his boutique in 1947. The offerings were initially limited to accessories, such as jewelry and scarves, but soon expanded to include clothing. While the idea of the “couture boutique” was not new, Dior sold simplified variants on his couture creations—an innovative and highly successful concept.
Christian Dior Boutique
Ready-to-wear hostess gown, circa 1957
Printed ivory silk satin
The Museum at FIT, 91.190.4
Gift of Penelope Tree

Hubert de Givenchy met Cristobal Balenciaga in 1953, two years after Givenchy had opened his couture house. Although Givenchy never formally apprenticed under Balenciaga, the elder couturier became his mentor, informing his business decisions and his aesthetic. These voluminous coats, both owned by the American heiress Doris Duke, reveal that the two couturiers also shared clients. Cristobal Balenciaga Couture coat, circa 1957 Purple mohair The Museum at FIT, 71.265.20 Gift of Doris Duke Hubert de Givenchy Couture coat, circa 1958 Pale green silk cord The Museum at FIT, 72.81.27 Gift of Doris Duke

Hubert de Givenchy met Cristobal Balenciaga in 1953, two years after Givenchy had opened his couture house. Although Givenchy never formally apprenticed under Balenciaga, the elder couturier became his mentor, informing his business decisions and his aesthetic. These voluminous coats, both owned by the American heiress Doris Duke, reveal that the two couturiers also shared clients.
Cristobal Balenciaga
Couture coat, circa 1957
Purple mohair
The Museum at FIT, 71.265.20
Gift of Doris Duke
Hubert de Givenchy
Couture coat, circa 1958
Pale green silk cord
The Museum at FIT, 72.81.27
Gift of Doris Duke

Pierre Cardin was rumored to take over at Christian Dior following the death of the house's namesake in 1957, but the role was filled instead by Yves Saint Laurent. This decision was prudent—whereas Dior was renowned for his opulent eveningwear, Cardin excelled at making suits and coats with a modern edge. Pierre Cardin Couture coat, circa 1958 Red wool The Museum at FIT, 75.125.5 Gift of Jane Stark

Pierre Cardin was rumored to take over at Christian Dior following the death of the house’s namesake in 1957, but the role was filled instead by Yves Saint Laurent. This decision was prudent—whereas Dior was renowned for his opulent eveningwear, Cardin excelled at making suits and coats with a modern edge.
Pierre Cardin
Couture coat, circa 1958
Red wool
The Museum at FIT, 75.125.5
Gift of Jane Stark

Cristobal Balenciaga introduced his "baby doll" dress style in 1957. Its basic design consisted of a body-skimming slip worn beneath a loose lace outer dress. The triangular-shaped outer dress may have provided inspiration for Saint Laurent's "Trapeze" silhouette, shown at right. Cristobal Balenciaga Couture dress, circa 1957 Black lace, black silk crepe The Museum at FIT, 87.158.2 Gift of The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from the Estate of Ann E. Woodward

Cristobal Balenciaga introduced his “baby doll” dress style in 1957. Its basic design consisted of a body-skimming slip worn beneath a loose lace outer dress. The triangular-shaped outer dress may have provided inspiration for Saint Laurent’s “Trapeze” silhouette, shown at right.
Cristobal Balenciaga
Couture dress, circa 1957
Black lace, black silk crepe
The Museum at FIT, 87.158.2
Gift of The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from the Estate of Ann E. Woodward

Fashion Media 1950s fashion presentations were staged in luxurious salons as decorous, formal events that emphasized the role of the couturier as an undisputed arbiter of style. In 1961, Andre Courreges helped to usher in a new mode of fashion presentation, in which models walked quickly down the runway to a lively soundtrack. French fashion and music were becoming closely linked: by the mid-1960s, the French pop singers Francoise Hardy and Sylvie Vartan appeared regularly in magazine such as Elle, Marie Claire and Vogue, modeling the latest fashions. Many magazine editorials emphasized motion, modernity, and youthfulness. While couture fashion continued to hold sway, dynamic clothing by ready-to-wear designers proved to be some of the most fashion-forward. Film was another influential medium for the presentation of fashion. In Masculin feminin, Chantal Goya wore trendy, ready-to-wear clothing from her personal wardrobe. Catherine Deneuve's costumes in Belle de Jour were by Yves Saint Laurent, a designer whom the actress also favored off screen. Paco Rabanne's costumes for Barbarella were theatrical and fantastical, but they bore a resemblance to his fashion collections.

Fashion Media
1950s fashion presentations were staged in luxurious salons as decorous, formal events that emphasized the role of the couturier as an undisputed arbiter of style. In 1961, Andre Courreges helped to usher in a new mode of fashion presentation, in which models walked quickly down the runway to a lively soundtrack. French fashion and music were becoming closely linked: by the mid-1960s, the French pop singers Francoise Hardy and Sylvie Vartan appeared regularly in magazine such as Elle, Marie Claire and Vogue, modeling the latest fashions. Many magazine editorials emphasized motion, modernity, and youthfulness. While couture fashion continued to hold sway, dynamic clothing by ready-to-wear designers proved to be some of the most fashion-forward.
Film was another influential medium for the presentation of fashion. In Masculin feminin, Chantal Goya wore trendy, ready-to-wear clothing from her personal wardrobe. Catherine Deneuve’s costumes in Belle de Jour were by Yves Saint Laurent, a designer whom the actress also favored off screen. Paco Rabanne’s costumes for Barbarella were theatrical and fantastical, but they bore a resemblance to his fashion collections.

Balenciaga had been in business for more than forty years by the 1960s. Due in part to his age, his work from that era is sometimes dismissed as having little relevance. In actuality, his designs continued to evolve. This immaculately constructed shift dress underscores Balenciaga's skill at making complex fashions appear simple and restrained. Cristobal Balenciaga Couture dress, 1967 Navy and white striped silk crepe The Museum at FIT, 80.5.9 Gift of Mrs. Walter Eytan

Balenciaga had been in business for more than forty years by the 1960s. Due in part to his age, his work from that era is sometimes dismissed as having little relevance. In actuality, his designs continued to evolve. This immaculately constructed shift dress underscores Balenciaga’s skill at making complex fashions appear simple and restrained.
Cristobal Balenciaga
Couture dress, 1967
Navy and white striped silk crepe
The Museum at FIT, 80.5.9
Gift of Mrs. Walter Eytan

Far platform "The art of our profession, like that of a painter, is to create the impression that a simple work of art appears fully developed," Givenchy once said. This demure day dress, with its slightly gathered skirt, allows for ease of wear while maintaining a slender silhouette. Hubert de Givenchy Couture day dress, 1964 Light blue wool The Museum at FIT, 86.62.11 Gift of Joan H. Arkin Far platform In her 1964 book Elegance, style arbiter Genevieve Dariaux wrote, "Leather hats can be extremely elegant...they are a smart accompaniment to afternoon ensembles and furs." Balenciaga was producing leather hats by the late 1950s, and it appears that his work influenced both Givenchy and Courreges during the following decade. Hubert de Givenchy Hat, circa 1963 Brown leather The Museum at FIT, 85.65.18 Gift of Janet A. Sloane

Far platform
“The art of our profession, like that of a painter, is to create the impression that a simple work of art appears fully developed,” Givenchy once said. This demure day dress, with its slightly gathered skirt, allows for ease of wear while maintaining a slender silhouette.
Hubert de Givenchy
Couture day dress, 1964
Light blue wool
The Museum at FIT, 86.62.11
Gift of Joan H. Arkin
Far platform
In her 1964 book Elegance, style arbiter Genevieve Dariaux wrote, “Leather hats can be extremely elegant…they are a smart accompaniment to afternoon ensembles and furs.” Balenciaga was producing leather hats by the late 1950s, and it appears that his work influenced both Givenchy and Courreges during the following decade.
Hubert de Givenchy
Hat, circa 1963
Brown leather
The Museum at FIT, 85.65.18
Gift of Janet A. Sloane

Emmanuelle Khanh was a leader of the French ready-to-wear revolution. She began her fashion career as a model for Balenciaga, but left in 1960 to start her own label. Khanh's fresh, bold designs were greatly influential, both to other ready-to-wear designers and to couturiers. This "Op Art" dress from 1966 was featured in Mademoiselle. I.D. (Emmanuelle Khanh) Ready-to-wear dress, 1966 Yellow and white striped cotton The Museum at FIT, 77.57.2 Gift of Sandy Horvitz

Emmanuelle Khanh was a leader of the French ready-to-wear revolution. She began her fashion career as a model for Balenciaga, but left in 1960 to start her own label. Khanh’s fresh, bold designs were greatly influential, both to other ready-to-wear designers and to couturiers. This “Op Art” dress from 1966 was featured in Mademoiselle.
I.D.
(Emmanuelle Khanh)
Ready-to-wear dress, 1966
Yellow and white striped cotton
The Museum at FIT, 77.57.2
Gift of Sandy Horvitz

Madame Gres adapted her 1960s collections to suit a modern woman's needs, gradually focusing on more casual styles in lieu of formal suits, cocktail dresses, and evening gowns. At first glance, this A-line day dress appears fashionable yet unremarkale. Upon closer examination, Gres's mastery of construction becomes evident. Madame Gres Couture dress, circa 1965 Orange wool The Museum at FIT, 72.112.21 Gift of Rodman A. Heeren Cardin began to work with cutouts during the early years of the 1960s. His first exmaples featured diamond shapes cut over the breastbone, while slightly later versions, such as this dress, used circles to similar effect. Cardin debeted his "Cosmos" line in 1967, which included cutouts to enhance his futuristic aesthetic. Pierre Cardin Couture dress, circa 1963 Navy wool The Museum at FIT, 73.30.12 Gift of Mrs. Hugh Murphy for the Estate of Ms. Marye Murphy

Madame Gres adapted her 1960s collections to suit a modern woman’s needs, gradually focusing on more casual styles in lieu of formal suits, cocktail dresses, and evening gowns. At first glance, this A-line day dress appears fashionable yet unremarkale. Upon closer examination, Gres’s mastery of construction becomes evident.
Madame Gres
Couture dress, circa 1965
Orange wool
The Museum at FIT, 72.112.21
Gift of Rodman A. Heeren
Cardin began to work with cutouts during the early years of the 1960s. His first exmaples featured diamond shapes cut over the breastbone, while slightly later versions, such as this dress, used circles to similar effect. Cardin debeted his “Cosmos” line in 1967, which included cutouts to enhance his futuristic aesthetic.
Pierre Cardin
Couture dress, circa 1963
Navy wool
The Museum at FIT, 73.30.12
Gift of Mrs. Hugh Murphy for the Estate of Ms. Marye Murphy

Ready-to-wear designers were some of the first to experiment with vinyl, but couturiers also used the material in compelling ways. This Courreges dress combines bands of shiny black vinyl with a complexly crafted chiffon fabric, resulting in a perfect blend of Space Age sensibility and couture quality. Andre Courreges Couture dress, circa 1968 Black chiffon, tan silk, black vinyl The Museum at FIT, 86.49.8 Gift of Sylvia Slifka

Ready-to-wear designers were some of the first to experiment with vinyl, but couturiers also used the material in compelling ways. This Courreges dress combines bands of shiny black vinyl with a complexly crafted chiffon fabric, resulting in a perfect blend of Space Age sensibility and couture quality.
Andre Courreges
Couture dress, circa 1968
Black chiffon, tan silk, black vinyl
The Museum at FIT, 86.49.8
Gift of Sylvia Slifka

This dress was part of Cardin's "Cosmos" range, which included Space Age styles for both men and women. The women's ensembles were styled with black helmet hats, black tights, and tall, shiny black boots. The full look was too avantgarde for the average consumer, but inexpensive copies of the cut-out dresses were prevalent. Pierre Cardin Couture dress, 1967 Pale aqua wool jersey The Museum at FIT, 72.91.30 Gift of Lauren Bacall

This dress was part of Cardin’s “Cosmos” range, which included Space Age styles for both men and women. The women’s ensembles were styled with black helmet hats, black tights, and tall, shiny black boots. The full look was too avantgarde for the average consumer, but inexpensive copies of the cut-out dresses were prevalent.
Pierre Cardin
Couture dress, 1967
Pale aqua wool jersey
The Museum at FIT, 72.91.30
Gift of Lauren Bacall

Molded felt hats that resembled space helmets became a signature of Cardin's work during the 1960s, yet the designer had introduced the style as early as 1958. Vogue described a hat from that year as "a unique Cardin projection into outer space," underscoring the couturier's early interest in futuristic design. Pierre Cardin Hat, circa 1965 Fuchsia wool The Museum at FIT, P92.18.1 Museum purchase

Molded felt hats that resembled space helmets became a signature of Cardin’s work during the 1960s, yet the designer had introduced the style as early as 1958. Vogue described a hat from that year as “a unique Cardin projection into outer space,” underscoring the couturier’s early interest in futuristic design.
Pierre Cardin
Hat, circa 1965
Fuchsia wool
The Museum at FIT, P92.18.1
Museum purchase

Courreges began using white wool in his collections in 1962, and it became a signature of his aesthetic throughout the 1960s. White fabric gave the designer's clothing a desirably streamlined, sculptural quality, and because it was so difficult to clean, it could also be interpreted as a sign of luxury. Andre Courreges Couture dress, circa 1968 White wool The Museum at FIT, 72.112.19 Gift of Rodman A. Heeren In 1964, Queen famously ran an "obituary" for Balenciaga and his protege, Givenchy. On a black-bordered page, the magazine's influential editor, Clare Rendlesham, mourned, "The mood was fiftyish. The colours were drab." While the subtlety of Balenciaga's work was not beloved by all, he remained undeterred—as did his many clients. Cristobal Balenciaga Couture dress, fall 1964 Off-white wool and mohair boucle The Museum at FIT, 87.1.4 Gift of Ms. Joan Arkin

Courreges began using white wool in his collections in 1962, and it became a signature of his aesthetic throughout the 1960s. White fabric gave the designer’s clothing a desirably streamlined, sculptural quality, and because it was so difficult to clean, it could also be interpreted as a sign of luxury.
Andre Courreges
Couture dress, circa 1968
White wool
The Museum at FIT, 72.112.19
Gift of Rodman A. Heeren
In 1964, Queen famously ran an “obituary” for Balenciaga and his protege, Givenchy. On a black-bordered page, the magazine’s influential editor, Clare Rendlesham, mourned, “The mood was fiftyish. The colours were drab.” While the subtlety of Balenciaga’s work was not beloved by all, he remained undeterred—as did his many clients.
Cristobal Balenciaga
Couture dress, fall 1964
Off-white wool and mohair boucle
The Museum at FIT, 87.1.4
Gift of Ms. Joan Arkin

Ungaro was sometimes labeled a Space Age designer, but his choices of materials were often more futuristic than the designs themselves. Vogue Patterns adapted a similar Ungaro dress for home sewers, rendering the entire garment in wool. Without the accents—originally coated in shiny polyurethane—it became a stylish but unremarkable day dress. Emanuel Ungaro Couture dress, circa 1967 Red double knit wool, polyurethane, PVC The Museum at FIT, 70.33.8 Ananymous donor In 1966, Saint Laurent opened his own ready-to-wear boutique, Rive Gauche. The label's name translates to "Left Bank," and referenced both the shop's location on the River Seine and the bohemian spirit for which that area was known. Rive Gauche was lauded for offering innovative designs that echoed the designer's couture creations. Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Ready-to-wear jacket and tunic, circa 1968 Black wool jersey The Museum at FIT, 2015.65.16 Gift of the Estate of Herbert J. Kayden

Ungaro was sometimes labeled a Space Age designer, but his choices of materials were often more futuristic than the designs themselves. Vogue Patterns adapted a similar Ungaro dress for home sewers, rendering the entire garment in wool. Without the accents—originally coated in shiny polyurethane—it became a stylish but unremarkable day dress.
Emanuel Ungaro
Couture dress, circa 1967
Red double knit wool, polyurethane, PVC
The Museum at FIT, 70.33.8
Ananymous donor
In 1966, Saint Laurent opened his own ready-to-wear boutique, Rive Gauche. The label’s name translates to “Left Bank,” and referenced both the shop’s location on the River Seine and the bohemian spirit for which that area was known. Rive Gauche was lauded for offering innovative designs that echoed the designer’s couture creations.
Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Ready-to-wear jacket and tunic, circa 1968
Black wool jersey
The Museum at FIT, 2015.65.16
Gift of the Estate of Herbert J. Kayden

Courreges's accessories were as innovative—if not more so—than his clothing designs. This hat was featured in L'Officiel, worn with a white jersey day dress that the magazine described as "exquisitely elegant in its sobriety." The hat's rounded, oversize crown is distinctly less restrained. Andre Courreges Hat, 1963 White leather The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.75 Donated in memory of Isabel Eberstandt by her family Courreges's spring 1967 collection marked a transition between his Space Age geometry and the embrace of softer forms. Many pieces in the collection utilized widowpane-checked cotton, the hard lines of which were offset by scalloped edges. Other pieces from the collection were made from sheer organdy that was densely embroidered with stylized flowers. Andre Courreges Couture ensemble: dress and jacket, spring 1967 Off-white and blue woven cotton The Museum at FIT, 86.49.6 Gift of Sylvia Slifka Andre Courreges designed this suit for the first collection he created under his own name. The full collection comprised only 31 ensembles—less than half the number of a typical couture showing—and featured no evening clothes. While these decisions were made in part for financial reasons, they also represented Courreges's ethos of streamlined modernity. Andre Courreges Couture suit, 1961 Charcoal and white wool, black suede The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.4 Donated in memory of Isabel Eberstadt by her family

Courreges’s accessories were as innovative—if not more so—than his clothing designs. This hat was featured in L’Officiel, worn with a white jersey day dress that the magazine described as “exquisitely elegant in its sobriety.” The hat’s rounded, oversize crown is distinctly less restrained.
Andre Courreges
Hat, 1963
White leather
The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.75
Donated in memory of Isabel Eberstandt by her family
Courreges’s spring 1967 collection marked a transition between his Space Age geometry and the embrace of softer forms. Many pieces in the collection utilized widowpane-checked cotton, the hard lines of which were offset by scalloped edges. Other pieces from the collection were made from sheer organdy that was densely embroidered with stylized flowers.
Andre Courreges
Couture ensemble: dress and jacket, spring 1967
Off-white and blue woven cotton
The Museum at FIT, 86.49.6
Gift of Sylvia Slifka
Andre Courreges designed this suit for the first collection he created under his own name. The full collection comprised only 31 ensembles—less than half the number of a typical couture showing—and featured no evening clothes. While these decisions were made in part for financial reasons, they also represented Courreges’s ethos of streamlined modernity.
Andre Courreges
Couture suit, 1961
Charcoal and white wool, black suede
The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.4
Donated in memory of Isabel Eberstadt by her family

This hat style was featured in a Vogue editorial, paired with Courreges's barrel-shaped coat in "curry" colored wool. The model was photographed looking down and away from the camera, emphasizing tha the hat's crown slopes up toward the back of the head in a subtle but unusual manner. Andre Courreges Hat, 1962 Purple leather The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.79 Donated n memory of Isabel Eberstadt by her family The rules of fashion were changing rapidly during the 1960s, but practical, stylish suits endured. While working with designer Gerard Pipart at Nina Ricci during the 1960s, Genevieve Dariaux wrote that chic French women still wore suits in the mornings. Afternoon dresses, however, had been all but replaced by less formal sweaters and skirts. Nina Ricci (Gerard Pipart) Couture suit, circa 1966 Pink and black wool, nacy and pink printed silk The Museum at FIT, 81.70.3 Gift of Ms. Anne Anable

This hat style was featured in a Vogue editorial, paired with Courreges’s barrel-shaped coat in “curry” colored wool. The model was photographed looking down and away from the camera, emphasizing tha the hat’s crown slopes up toward the back of the head in a subtle but unusual manner.
Andre Courreges
Hat, 1962
Purple leather
The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.79
Donated n memory of Isabel Eberstadt by her family
The rules of fashion were changing rapidly during the 1960s, but practical, stylish suits endured. While working with designer Gerard Pipart at Nina Ricci during the 1960s, Genevieve Dariaux wrote that chic French women still wore suits in the mornings. Afternoon dresses, however, had been all but replaced by less formal sweaters and skirts.
Nina Ricci
(Gerard Pipart)
Couture suit, circa 1966
Pink and black wool, nacy and pink printed silk
The Museum at FIT, 81.70.3
Gift of Ms. Anne Anable

This hat was designed for Saint Laurent's 1963 "Robin Hood" collection. Oversize, sculptural leather tunics, worn with thigh-high boots, were presented alongside more traditional designs for wollen suits and dresses. Saint Laurent had achieved the right blend of chic and edge style, with just enough conservatism to pacify a less adventurous clientele. Yves Saint Laurent Hat, fall 1963 Brown leather, feathers The Museum at FIT, 82.80.7 Gift of Beatrice Renfield Yves Saint Laurent opened his own couture house in 1961, shortly after presenting the cutting-edge, Beatnik-inspired collection at Dior that led to his dismissal. Under his own name, Saint Laurent was free to experiment with more avant-garde designs. Yet he also created clothing that appearled to a more traditional clientele, such as this elegant ensemble. Yves Saint Laurent Couture ensemble: top and skirt, circa 1963 Orange wool The Museum at FIT, 81.51.2 Gift of Mrs. Cora Ginsburg Marc Bohan replaced Yves Saint Laurent at the House of Dior in 1960. His early collections centered on the introduction of a new silhouette each season—an idea that originated with Christian Dior himself. This ensemble was part of Bohan's "Slim Look" collection. Although he was rarely considered a trendsetter, his designs were commercially successful. Christian Dior (Marc Bohan) Couture ensemble: dress, jacket, and belt, spring 1961 Grey wool, leather The Museum at FIT, 82.208.11 Gift of David Biderman

This hat was designed for Saint Laurent’s 1963 “Robin Hood” collection. Oversize, sculptural leather tunics, worn with thigh-high boots, were presented alongside more traditional designs for wollen suits and dresses. Saint Laurent had achieved the right blend of chic and edge style, with just enough conservatism to pacify a less adventurous clientele.
Yves Saint Laurent
Hat, fall 1963
Brown leather, feathers
The Museum at FIT, 82.80.7
Gift of Beatrice Renfield
Yves Saint Laurent opened his own couture house in 1961, shortly after presenting the cutting-edge, Beatnik-inspired collection at Dior that led to his dismissal. Under his own name, Saint Laurent was free to experiment with more avant-garde designs. Yet he also created clothing that appearled to a more traditional clientele, such as this elegant ensemble.
Yves Saint Laurent
Couture ensemble: top and skirt, circa 1963
Orange wool
The Museum at FIT, 81.51.2
Gift of Mrs. Cora Ginsburg
Marc Bohan replaced Yves Saint Laurent at the House of Dior in 1960. His early collections centered on the introduction of a new silhouette each season—an idea that originated with Christian Dior himself. This ensemble was part of Bohan’s “Slim Look” collection. Although he was rarely considered a trendsetter, his designs were commercially successful.
Christian Dior
(Marc Bohan)
Couture ensemble: dress, jacket, and belt, spring 1961
Grey wool, leather
The Museum at FIT, 82.208.11
Gift of David Biderman

This polo dress is one of numerous styles that Sonia Rykiel adapted from athletic wear. The inspiration for this dress—the polo shirt—is a French design, created by the tennis player Rene Lacoste during the 1920s. Audrey Hepburn, an enthusiastic Rykiel client, modeled a similarly sporty knit dress for American Vogue in 1966. Laura (Sonia Rykiel) Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1966 Navy and white knit The Museum at FIT, 77.213.4 Gift of Sandy Horvitz Rykiel's aesthetic was typically streamlined, but never without a clever or charming details. The removable collar and cuffs on this dress could be easily washed, and they also allowed the wearer to change its look. While this idea was not new, Rykiel's version was fresh and modern in its simplicity and subtle menswear styling. Laura (Sonia Rykiel) Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1965 Navy knit, white cotton (replacement collar and cuffs) The Museum at FIT, 77.57.6 Gift of Sandy Horvitz

This polo dress is one of numerous styles that Sonia Rykiel adapted from athletic wear. The inspiration for this dress—the polo shirt—is a French design, created by the tennis player Rene Lacoste during the 1920s. Audrey Hepburn, an enthusiastic Rykiel client, modeled a similarly sporty knit dress for American Vogue in 1966.
Laura
(Sonia Rykiel)
Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1966
Navy and white knit
The Museum at FIT, 77.213.4
Gift of Sandy Horvitz
Rykiel’s aesthetic was typically streamlined, but never without a clever or charming details. The removable collar and cuffs on this dress could be easily washed, and they also allowed the wearer to change its look. While this idea was not new, Rykiel’s version was fresh and modern in its simplicity and subtle menswear styling.
Laura
(Sonia Rykiel)
Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1965
Navy knit, white cotton (replacement collar and cuffs)
The Museum at FIT, 77.57.6
Gift of Sandy Horvitz

The Cacharel label gained a loyal following in 1963 when a designer for a seersucker blouse was featured on the cover of Elle. By the late 1960s, Cacharel's floral printed blouses were in high demand. As fashion historian Jeromine Savignon notes, the blouses filled a need for fashion that was "pretty, easy, and cheerful." A Cacharel blouse could be styled in myriad ways; here, it is paired with a skirt from Dorothee Bis. Cacharel (Jean Bousquet) Ready-to-wear blouse, circa 1968 Navy blue printed rayon The Museum at FIT, 74.107.53 Gift of Lauren Bacall Dorothee Bis Ready-to-wear skirt, circa 1968 Brown leather The Museum at FIT, 77.139.5 Gift of Edith R. Locke Ribbed, fitted sweaters, known as "poor boy" sweaters, bacame a ubiquitous style of the 1960s. Sonia Rykiel is credited for pioneering the design early in the decade, but many other designers created their own versions. The sweaters were chic, versatile, and ideal for showcasing lithe, youthful figures. Pierre Cardin Ready-to-wear sweaters, circa 1965 Navy cotton The Museum at FIT, 77.33.137 Gift of Mrs. Billie Bernard Pierre Cardin Ready-to-wear miniskirt, circa 1967 Yellow wool twill The Museum at FIT, 81.148.3 Gift of Mrs. Dreher Armstrong and Lady Emilia

The Cacharel label gained a loyal following in 1963 when a designer for a seersucker blouse was featured on the cover of Elle. By the late 1960s, Cacharel’s floral printed blouses were in high demand. As fashion historian Jeromine Savignon notes, the blouses filled a need for fashion that was “pretty, easy, and cheerful.” A Cacharel blouse could be styled in myriad ways; here, it is paired with a skirt from Dorothee Bis.
Cacharel
(Jean Bousquet)
Ready-to-wear blouse, circa 1968
Navy blue printed rayon
The Museum at FIT, 74.107.53
Gift of Lauren Bacall
Dorothee Bis
Ready-to-wear skirt, circa 1968
Brown leather
The Museum at FIT, 77.139.5
Gift of Edith R. Locke
Ribbed, fitted sweaters, known as “poor boy” sweaters, bacame a ubiquitous style of the 1960s. Sonia Rykiel is credited for pioneering the design early in the decade, but many other designers created their own versions. The sweaters were chic, versatile, and ideal for showcasing lithe, youthful figures.
Pierre Cardin
Ready-to-wear sweaters, circa 1965
Navy cotton
The Museum at FIT, 77.33.137
Gift of Mrs. Billie Bernard
Pierre Cardin
Ready-to-wear miniskirt, circa 1967
Yellow wool twill
The Museum at FIT, 81.148.3
Gift of Mrs. Dreher Armstrong and Lady Emilia

Chanel's iconic "2.55" bag was named for the month and year that it was released. The success of the bag continued into the 1960s, when it was carried by stars such as Catherine Deneuve and Sylvie Vartan. Variations on the style, with its signature quilted exterior and chain strap, are still being designed today. Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel Handbag, circa 1965 Navy blue leather, gold metal The Museum at FIT, 78.57.67 Gift of Ethel Scull Some fashion journalist insisted that Chanel's 1960s designs were not "young" enough, yet her work maintained its appeal. A 1963 New York Times article included an interview with Elie Jacobson, owner of the hip Parisian ready-to-wear boutique Dorothee Bis, in which he lamented that "no matter what [young French women] are shown, they want Chanel." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel Couture ensemble: dress and jacket, circa 1968 Black chenille and silk, off-white silk The Museum at FIT, 78.208.19 Gift of Mrs. Donald Elliman

Chanel’s iconic “2.55” bag was named for the month and year that it was released. The success of the bag continued into the 1960s, when it was carried by stars such as Catherine Deneuve and Sylvie Vartan. Variations on the style, with its signature quilted exterior and chain strap, are still being designed today.
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Handbag, circa 1965
Navy blue leather, gold metal
The Museum at FIT, 78.57.67
Gift of Ethel Scull
Some fashion journalist insisted that Chanel’s 1960s designs were not “young” enough, yet her work maintained its appeal. A 1963 New York Times article included an interview with Elie Jacobson, owner of the hip Parisian ready-to-wear boutique Dorothee Bis, in which he lamented that “no matter what [young French women] are shown, they want Chanel.”
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Couture ensemble: dress and jacket, circa 1968
Black chenille and silk, off-white silk
The Museum at FIT, 78.208.19
Gift of Mrs. Donald Elliman

Pierre Cardin excelled as both a designer and a businessman. By the late 1960s, he was maintaining his couture collections, ready-to-wear lines for both men and women, licensing deals, and a line of leather clothing, exemplified by this ensemble. He made many variants on this pinafore-style dress, designed to be worn with a ribbed "poor boy" sweater. Pierre Cardin Ready-to-wear ensemble: coat, pinafore dress, belt, circa 1967 Burgundy leather The Museum at FIT, 91.128.19 Gift of CITICORP Daniel Hechter began working under his name in 1962, while still in his early twenties. By 1965, his company was grossing more than $1.4 million per year, due in part to his work with American manufacturers. Hechter's refined designs looked costly, belying their mass production. Daniel Hechter Ready-to-wear coat, circa 1968 Brown leather, black faux fur The Museum at FIT, 77.57.3 Gift of Sandy Horvitz

Pierre Cardin excelled as both a designer and a businessman. By the late 1960s, he was maintaining his couture collections, ready-to-wear lines for both men and women, licensing deals, and a line of leather clothing, exemplified by this ensemble. He made many variants on this pinafore-style dress, designed to be worn with a ribbed “poor boy” sweater.
Pierre Cardin
Ready-to-wear ensemble: coat, pinafore dress, belt, circa 1967
Burgundy leather
The Museum at FIT, 91.128.19
Gift of CITICORP
Daniel Hechter began working under his name in 1962, while still in his early twenties. By 1965, his company was grossing more than $1.4 million per year, due in part to his work with American manufacturers. Hechter’s refined designs looked costly, belying their mass production.
Daniel Hechter
Ready-to-wear coat, circa 1968
Brown leather, black faux fur
The Museum at FIT, 77.57.3
Gift of Sandy Horvitz

The Dorothee Bis boutique was founded in 1962. The following year, the New York Times said that it was, "considered the most advanced and experimental of the ready-to-wear teen-age shops, [and] keeps its prices low...adverturous designs must be priced so that the many rather than the few can afford them." Dorothee Bis Ready-to-wear suit, circa 1964 Brown suede The Museum at FIT, 77.57.9 Gift of Sandy Horvitz Rykiel's 1960s designs showed a preoccupation for collars and cuffs. In addition to the especially slender fit for which Rykiel was known, this coat stands out for its unusual collar: slightly oversize, deeply notched, and sharply angular, it foreshadows the fashion for elongated collars during the 1970s. Laura (Sonia Rykiel) Ready-to-wear ensemble: coat and skirt, circa 1965 Pale green double knit wool The Museum at FIT, 77.57.5 Gift of Sandy Horvitz

The Dorothee Bis boutique was founded in 1962. The following year, the New York Times said that it was, “considered the most advanced and experimental of the ready-to-wear teen-age shops, [and] keeps its prices low…adverturous designs must be priced so that the many rather than the few can afford them.”
Dorothee Bis
Ready-to-wear suit, circa 1964
Brown suede
The Museum at FIT, 77.57.9
Gift of Sandy Horvitz
Rykiel’s 1960s designs showed a preoccupation for collars and cuffs. In addition to the especially slender fit for which Rykiel was known, this coat stands out for its unusual collar: slightly oversize, deeply notched, and sharply angular, it foreshadows the fashion for elongated collars during the 1970s.
Laura
(Sonia Rykiel)
Ready-to-wear ensemble: coat and skirt, circa 1965
Pale green double knit wool
The Museum at FIT, 77.57.5
Gift of Sandy Horvitz

A trend for jackets worn with matching culottes—also known as "short pantsuits"—was prevalent during the mid-1960s. The roots of the style were in ready-to-wear: the American designer Norman Norell introduced culottes in 1960, followed by the French stylistes, and then the couturiers. Nina Ricci (Gerard Pipart) Couture ensemble: jacket and culottes, circa 1966 Navy blue double knit wool The Museum at FIT, 87.41.6 Gift of Geoffrey Beene Rykiel used knit fabrics for nearly all her designs—even pantsuits. This jacket's plush faux-fur trim belies what is otherwise an informal style: its loose fit, button-front closure, and patch pockets appear to take more inspiration from a casual cardigan than a traditional suit jacket. Laura (Sonia Rykiel) Ready-to-wear pantsuit, 1965 Brown and white wool double knit The Museum at FIT, 78.59.1 Gift of Mary Cantwell

Rykiel used knit fabrics for nearly all her designs—even pantsuits. This jacket’s plush faux-fur trim belies what is otherwise an informal style: its loose fit, button-front closure, and patch pockets appear to take more inspiration from a casual cardigan than a traditional suit jacket.
Laura
(Sonia Rykiel)
Ready-to-wear pantsuit, 1965
Brown and white wool double knit
The Museum at FIT, 78.59.1
Gift of Mary CantwellA trend for jackets worn with matching culottes—also known as “short pantsuits”—was prevalent during the mid-1960s. The roots of the style were in ready-to-wear: the American designer Norman Norell introduced culottes in 1960, followed by the French stylistes, and then the couturiers.
Nina Ricci
(Gerard Pipart)
Couture ensemble: jacket and culottes, circa 1966
Navy blue double knit wool
The Museum at FIT, 87.41.6
Gift of Geoffrey Beene

Ungaro's work from the mid-1960s was often cut in what Women's Wear Daily deemed his "close to the chest" silhouette, which emphasized the upper torso and lent his clothing a youthful appearance. He was also known for his keen sense of color, as demonstrated by this lime green combined with more neutral tones. Emanuel Ungaro Couture ensemble: coat, dress, and belt, circa 1966 Beige and yellow-green wool, white leather The Museum at FIT, 77.183.1 Gift of Ruth Sublette Some of Ungaro's most compelling creations were made in collaboration with textile designer Sonia Knapp, whose work often conveyed her interest in Abstract Expressionism. The soft lines of this fabric echo the coat's curved lapels and rounded patch pockets, while simultaneously contrasting the coat's hard-edged, A-line silhouette. Emanuel Ungaro (Fabric by Sonia Knapp) Couture coat, 1968 Blue and grey printed wool The Museum at FIT, 72.112.73 Gift of Rodman A. Heeren Correges did not tend to make drastic changes to his designs from season to season, focusing instead on a gradual evolution of his aesthetic. By 1967, the hard-edged geometry of his earlier designs for daywear had given way to more rounded shapes and softly tailored silhouettes. Andre Courreges Couture ensemble: dress and coat, circa 1967 Yellow-green wool gabardine The Museum at FIT, 78.57.3 Gift of Ethel Scull

Some of Ungaro’s most compelling creations were made in collaboration with textile designer Sonia Knapp, whose work often conveyed her interest in Abstract Expressionism. The soft lines of this fabric echo the coat’s curved lapels and rounded patch pockets, while simultaneously contrasting the coat’s hard-edged, A-line silhouette.
Emanuel Ungaro
(Fabric by Sonia Knapp)
Couture coat, 1968
Blue and grey printed wool
The Museum at FIT, 72.112.73
Gift of Rodman A. Heeren

Ungaro's work from the mid-1960s was often cut in what Women's Wear Daily deemed his "close to the chest" silhouette, which emphasized the upper torso and lent his clothing a youthful appearance. He was also known for his keen sense of color, as demonstrated by this lime green combined with more neutral tones. Emanuel Ungaro Couture ensemble: coat, dress, and belt, circa 1966 Beige and yellow-green wool, white leather The Museum at FIT, 77.183.1 Gift of Ruth Sublette Some of Ungaro's most compelling creations were made in collaboration with textile designer Sonia Knapp, whose work often conveyed her interest in Abstract Expressionism. The soft lines of this fabric echo the coat's curved lapels and rounded patch pockets, while simultaneously contrasting the coat's hard-edged, A-line silhouette. Emanuel Ungaro (Fabric by Sonia Knapp) Couture coat, 1968 Blue and grey printed wool The Museum at FIT, 72.112.73 Gift of Rodman A. Heeren Correges did not tend to make drastic changes to his designs from season to season, focusing instead on a gradual evolution of his aesthetic. By 1967, the hard-edged geometry of his earlier designs for daywear had given way to more rounded shapes and softly tailored silhouettes. Andre Courreges Couture ensemble: dress and coat, circa 1967 Yellow-green wool gabardine The Museum at FIT, 78.57.3 Gift of Ethel Scull

Ungaro’s work from the mid-1960s was often cut in what Women’s Wear Daily deemed his “close to the chest” silhouette, which emphasized the upper torso and lent his clothing a youthful appearance. He was also known for his keen sense of color, as demonstrated by this lime green combined with more neutral tones.
Emanuel Ungaro
Couture ensemble: coat, dress, and belt, circa 1966
Beige and yellow-green wool, white leather
The Museum at FIT, 77.183.1
Gift of Ruth Sublette
Correges did not tend to make drastic changes to his designs from season to season, focusing instead on a gradual evolution of his aesthetic. By 1967, the hard-edged geometry of his earlier designs for daywear had given way to more rounded shapes and softly tailored silhouettes.
Andre Courreges
Couture ensemble: dress and coat, circa 1967
Yellow-green wool gabardine
The Museum at FIT, 78.57.3
Gift of Ethel Scull

Hyperbole was Andre Courreges's second ready-to-wear label, and it offered clothing at even lower prices than his Couture Future line. Designs from both ready-to-wear collections were presented alongside his couture fashions, and all three collections bore similarities to one another. Courreges believed that a democratic approach to fashion was crucial to the concept of modernity. Hyperbole (Andre Courreges) Ready-to-wear pantsuit, circa 1967 Brown wool The Museum at FIT, 81.132.6 Gift of Mrs. Phillip Schwartz

Hyperbole was Andre Courreges’s second ready-to-wear label, and it offered clothing at even lower prices than his Couture Future line. Designs from both ready-to-wear collections were presented alongside his couture fashions, and all three collections bore similarities to one another. Courreges believed that a democratic approach to fashion was crucial to the concept of modernity.
Hyperbole
(Andre Courreges)
Ready-to-wear pantsuit, circa 1967
Brown wool
The Museum at FIT, 81.132.6
Gift of Mrs. Phillip Schwartz

Courreges "Lunettes Eskimo" mimic inuit snow goggles, which have a thin slit running horizontally across the center of each lens in order to curtail snow blindness. Since Courreges's sunglasses were meant to evoke explorations in space, rather than the Arctic, the scholar Vanessa Brown speculates that they were "designed for protection against the metaphorically blinding light levels of the future." Andre Courreges Sunglasses, spring 1965 White plastic The Museum at FIT, 2014.56.2 Gift of Abel Rapp

Courreges “Lunettes Eskimo” mimic inuit snow goggles, which have a thin slit running horizontally across the center of each lens in order to curtail snow blindness. Since Courreges’s sunglasses were meant to evoke explorations in space, rather than the Arctic, the scholar Vanessa Brown speculates that they were “designed for protection against the metaphorically blinding light levels of the future.”
Andre Courreges
Sunglasses, spring 1965
White plastic
The Museum at FIT, 2014.56.2
Gift of Abel Rapp

When Courreges opened his house in 1961, he worried that the high cost of couture precluded even the most innovative designs from being truly modern. After a brief hiatus from the fashion industry, Courreges reemerged in 1966 with a ready-to-wear-label. Called Couture Future, the label quite literally foretold the dominance of pret-a-porter. Couture Future (Andre Courreges) Ready-to-wear pantsuit, 1968 Orange wool The Museum at FIT, 81.132.4 Gift of Mrs. Phillip Schwartz Like Saint Laurent, Courreges was an early proponent of women wearing pants for nearly any occasion. This ensemble's tunic-style top bears the distinctive welt seaming that the couturier often used in lieu of surface ornamentation, providing his designs a clean, structured effect. Rendered in white wool, this style was a favorite of singer Francoise Hardy. Andre Courreges Couture pantsuit, circa 1966 Orange wool The Museum at FIT, 81.24.9 Gift of Mrs. Sally Iselin

When Courreges opened his house in 1961, he worried that the high cost of couture precluded even the most innovative designs from being truly modern. After a brief hiatus from the fashion industry, Courreges reemerged in 1966 with a ready-to-wear-label. Called Couture Future, the label quite literally foretold the dominance of pret-a-porter.
Couture Future
(Andre Courreges)
Ready-to-wear pantsuit, 1968
Orange wool
The Museum at FIT, 81.132.4
Gift of Mrs. Phillip Schwartz
Like Saint Laurent, Courreges was an early proponent of women wearing pants for nearly any occasion. This ensemble’s tunic-style top bears the distinctive welt seaming that the couturier often used in lieu of surface ornamentation, providing his designs a clean, structured effect. Rendered in white wool, this style was a favorite of singer Francoise Hardy.
Andre Courreges
Couture pantsuit, circa 1966
Orange wool
The Museum at FIT, 81.24.9
Gift of Mrs. Sally Iselin

Courreges's white leather boots were versatile, practical, and ideal for a young clientele. As Queen magazine noted, the stark geometry of Courreges's fashions simply did not work with high heels. The Space Age effect of the boots was enhanced by closures made from Velcro, a material used by NASA in spaceships. Andre Courreges Boots, 1964 White kid leather, Velcro (R) The Museum at FIT, 77.183.2CD Gift of Ruth Sublette

Courreges’s white leather boots were versatile, practical, and ideal for a young clientele. As Queen magazine noted, the stark geometry of Courreges’s fashions simply did not work with high heels. The Space Age effect of the boots was enhanced by closures made from Velcro, a material used by NASA in spaceships.
Andre Courreges
Boots, 1964
White kid leather, Velcro (R)
The Museum at FIT, 77.183.2CD
Gift of Ruth Sublette

Saint Laurent was an early and enthusiastic advocate for women in pants. "There is no reason for me to dress women differently from men," he said. "I don't think that a woman is less feminine in pants than a skirt." This 1930s-inspired suit style was modeled in Vogue by Twiggy. Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Ready-to-wear pantsuit, 1967 Navy and white striped wool, navy and white printed cotton The Museum at FIT, 78.57.6 Gift of Ethel Scull

Saint Laurent was an early and enthusiastic advocate for women in pants. “There is no reason for me to dress women differently from men,” he said. “I don’t think that a woman is less feminine in pants than a skirt.” This 1930s-inspired suit style was modeled in Vogue by Twiggy.
Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Ready-to-wear pantsuit, 1967
Navy and white striped wool, navy and white printed cotton
The Museum at FIT, 78.57.6
Gift of Ethel Scull

Far platform Sonia Rykiel got her start at Laura, a Left Bank boutique owned by her husband. Her first design was for a perfectly fitted sweater that would suit her slender figure. She soon became known as the "Queen of Knits," and many of her early designs look modern even today. Laura (Sonia Rykiel) Ready-to-wear coat, circa 1965 Pale yellow ribbed knit The Museum at FIT, 77.57.4 Gift of Sandy Horvitz

The Rive Gauche label was created to offer a fun, stylish, and affordable alternative to Saint Laurent’s couture creations—yet this raincoat would have cost—yet this raincoat would have cost around $665 today. As the fashion journalist Marilyn Bender observed, “Like the goose that lays golden eggs, Saint Laurent has pretty expensive notions of fun.”
Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Ready-to-wear raincoat, fall 1966
Yellow vinyl and wool
The Museum at FIT, 77.21.4
Gift of Ethel Scull

The pea coat was one of Saint Laurent's signature styles. Based on a nineteenth-century French navy uniform, the first version of the coat was presented in the designer's spring 1962 collection, which also marked the debut of his couture house. An example of this later design was owned by Catherine Deneuve. Yves Saint Laurent Couture coat, 1966 Navy wool, gold metal The Museum at FIT, 78.85.3 Gift of Doris Strakosch

The pea coat was one of Saint Laurent’s signature styles. Based on a nineteenth-century French navy uniform, the first version of the coat was presented in the designer’s spring 1962 collection, which also marked the debut of his couture house. An example of this later design was owned by Catherine Deneuve.
Yves Saint Laurent
Couture coat, 1966
Navy wool, gold metal
The Museum at FIT, 78.85.3
Gift of Doris Strakosch

Paco Rabanne presented his first fashion collection in 1966. It was entitled "12 Dresses in Unwearable Materials," and included garments made from links of plastic fastened with metal hoops. Rabanne had proven that fabric, needle, and thread were not altogether necessary to clothing design, and he quickly gained fame for his defiance of tradition. Paco Rabanne Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1966 Silver and black plastic discs, metal The Museum at FIT, 81.48.1 Gift of Montgomery Ward This Emmanuelle Khanh handbag resembles a style by Paco Rabanne, but it is difficult to prove who originated the design. Rabanne and Khanh had once worked closely together—by 1962, his early designs for jewelry and accessories were shown with her clothing. Emmanuelle Khanh Handbag, circa 1966 Tan leather and silver metal The Museum at FIT, 80.200.4 Gift of Mrs. Myrna Davis

Paco Rabanne presented his first fashion collection in 1966. It was entitled “12 Dresses in Unwearable Materials,” and included garments made from links of plastic fastened with metal hoops. Rabanne had proven that fabric, needle, and thread were not altogether necessary to clothing design, and he quickly gained fame for his defiance of tradition.
Paco Rabanne
Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1966
Silver and black plastic discs, metal
The Museum at FIT, 81.48.1
Gift of Montgomery Ward
This Emmanuelle Khanh handbag resembles a style by Paco Rabanne, but it is difficult to prove who originated the design. Rabanne and Khanh had once worked closely together—by 1962, his early designs for jewelry and accessories were shown with her clothing.
Emmanuelle Khanh
Handbag, circa 1966
Tan leather and silver metal
The Museum at FIT, 80.200.4
Gift of Mrs. Myrna Davis

Courreges's mid-1960s designs rarely included embellishment, but sequins were a notable exception. His spring 1964 collection included silver-sequined trousers and a silk bonnet adorned with circular sequin motifs, similar to those used on this dress. Here, the sequins at the neckline and waistline subtly highlight the streamlined silhouette. Andre Courreges Couture cocktail dress, circa 1966 Navy wool crepe, sequins The Museum at FIT, 2005.88.2 Gift of Solange Landau Paco Rabanne was first known as an accessories designer, and his work was regularly featured in the pages of magazines such as Elle and Harper's Bazaar. This bag was likely made after the designer had started his clothing line. It shows how his idea of "futuristic armor" was translated into an eye-catching accessory. Paco Rabanne Handbag, circa 1966 Gold metal The Museum at FIT, 83.91.21 Gift of Aida Miller-Frisch After presenting his 1967 "Cosmos" line, Cardin continued his futuristic fashion agenda. The use of metal is reminiscent of Paco Rabanne's work, but Cardin's juxtapositions of metal and fabric made his designs more wearable. Several styles incorporated metal only around the neckline, but this dress—with metal plates that extend the length of torso—is especially daring. Pierre Cardin Couture cocktail dress, 1968 Black wool crepe, polished steel The Museum at FIT, 87.92.4 Gift of Ms. Liz Bader

Courreges’s mid-1960s designs rarely included embellishment, but sequins were a notable exception. His spring 1964 collection included silver-sequined trousers and a silk bonnet adorned with circular sequin motifs, similar to those used on this dress. Here, the sequins at the neckline and waistline subtly highlight the streamlined silhouette.
Andre Courreges
Couture cocktail dress, circa 1966
Navy wool crepe, sequins
The Museum at FIT, 2005.88.2
Gift of Solange Landau
Paco Rabanne was first known as an accessories designer, and his work was regularly featured in the pages of magazines such as Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. This bag was likely made after the designer had started his clothing line. It shows how his idea of “futuristic armor” was translated into an eye-catching accessory.
Paco Rabanne
Handbag, circa 1966
Gold metal
The Museum at FIT, 83.91.21
Gift of Aida Miller-Frisch
After presenting his 1967 “Cosmos” line, Cardin continued his futuristic fashion agenda. The use of metal is reminiscent of Paco Rabanne’s work, but Cardin’s juxtapositions of metal and fabric made his designs more wearable. Several styles incorporated metal only around the neckline, but this dress—with metal plates that extend the length of torso—is especially daring.
Pierre Cardin
Couture cocktail dress, 1968
Black wool crepe, polished steel
The Museum at FIT, 87.92.4
Gift of Ms. Liz Bader

Cardin accessorized his micro-mini dresses from 1968 with thigh-high, black patent leather boots and wide belts with unusual buckles. Vogue described a design similar to this buckle as the designer's "headlight sculpture." Pierre Cardin Belt, circa 1968 Black patent leather, silver metal, acrylic The Museum at FIT, 91.210.27 Gift of Elaine Cohen

Cardin accessorized his micro-mini dresses from 1968 with thigh-high, black patent leather boots and wide belts with unusual buckles. Vogue described a design similar to this buckle as the designer’s “headlight sculpture.”
Pierre Cardin
Belt, circa 1968
Black patent leather, silver metal, acrylic
The Museum at FIT, 91.210.27
Gift of Elaine Cohen

Pierre Cardin was an early believer in the importance of ready-to-wear, and his boutique fashions were spectacular. This mini-dress is cut on the bias, rather than the straight grain, allowing it to gracefully skim the body. Cardin was known for his mastery of cut and his use of vibrant colors. Pierre Cardin Boutique Ready-to-wear cocktail dress, 1965 Yellow silk crepe, pearls, beads, rhinestones The Museum at FIT, 2012.61.13 Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Graham Weymouth Simple 1960s shift dresses often acted as canvasses for vibrant prints and ornamentation. Saint Laurent's embellished dresses from the latter part of the decade were especially spectacular. He created several variants on this sequined, bejeweled design, one of which was worn by singer Sylvie Vartan. Yves Saint Laurent Couture cocktaile dress, circa 1968 Pale yellow silk crepe, sequins, rhinestones The Museum at FIT, 79.185.6 Gift of Mrs. Doris Strakosch

Pierre Cardin was an early believer in the importance of ready-to-wear, and his boutique fashions were spectacular. This mini-dress is cut on the bias, rather than the straight grain, allowing it to gracefully skim the body. Cardin was known for his mastery of cut and his use of vibrant colors.
Pierre Cardin Boutique
Ready-to-wear cocktail dress, 1965
Yellow silk crepe, pearls, beads, rhinestones
The Museum at FIT, 2012.61.13
Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Graham Weymouth
Simple 1960s shift dresses often acted as canvasses for vibrant prints and ornamentation. Saint Laurent’s embellished dresses from the latter part of the decade were especially spectacular. He created several variants on this sequined, bejeweled design, one of which was worn by singer Sylvie Vartan.
Yves Saint Laurent
Couture cocktaile dress, circa 1968
Pale yellow silk crepe, sequins, rhinestones
The Museum at FIT, 79.185.6
Gift of Mrs. Doris Strakosch

Trench coats were linked to French youth fashion. Alongside flat shoes, striped shirts, and poorboy sweaters, they were specifically identified as a favorite style of the "ye-ye" pop singers. Notably, both of these coats were part of their designers' ready-to-wear lines, making them more accessible to a wider—and perhaps younger—clientele. Couture Future (Andre Courreges) Ready-to-wear trench coat, circa 1968 Cream cotton twill The Museum at FIT, 82.20.1 Gift of Marguerite B. Gleysteen Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Ready-to-wear trench coat, circa 1967 Tan cotton twill The Museum at FIT, 90.10.1 Gift of Ellen Robinson Design

Trench coats were linked to French youth fashion. Alongside flat shoes, striped shirts, and poorboy sweaters, they were specifically identified as a favorite style of the “ye-ye” pop singers. Notably, both of these coats were part of their designers’ ready-to-wear lines, making them more accessible to a wider—and perhaps younger—clientele.
Couture Future
(Andre Courreges)
Ready-to-wear trench coat, circa 1968
Cream cotton twill
The Museum at FIT, 82.20.1
Gift of Marguerite B. Gleysteen
Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Ready-to-wear trench coat, circa 1967
Tan cotton twill
The Museum at FIT, 90.10.1
Gift of Ellen Robinson Design

Marc Bohan's low-cut necklines made headlines. Marilyn Bender, fashion editor at the New York Times, dubbed the style "Dior decolletage." The provocative neckline of this dress is emphasized by the dense array of oversize sequins. While the blouson bodice suggests an ease of wear, the fabric conceals a rigid understructure that held the dress—and its wearer's body—firmly in place. Christian Dior (Marc Bohan) Couture cocktail dress, 1964 White silk organza, sequins The Museum at FIT, 81.250.15 Gift of Mrs. Jane Holzer The Dior Boutique sold off-the-rack fashion, but clients could request alterations. While the boutique clothing was nowhere near as costly as couture, its fit and attention to detail—evidenced by the delicate, hand-beaded accents on this dress—led New York Times editor Gloria Emerson to recommend it only for those with "lots of money to spend." Christian Dior Boutique Read-to-wear cocktail dress, circa 1965 Beige linen, white plastic and glass The Museum at FIT, 2014.15.17 Gift of Christina Noble

Marc Bohan’s low-cut necklines made headlines. Marilyn Bender, fashion editor at the New York Times, dubbed the style “Dior decolletage.” The provocative neckline of this dress is emphasized by the dense array of oversize sequins. While the blouson bodice suggests an ease of wear, the fabric conceals a rigid understructure that held the dress—and its wearer’s body—firmly in place.
Christian Dior
(Marc Bohan)
Couture cocktail dress, 1964
White silk organza, sequins
The Museum at FIT, 81.250.15
Gift of Mrs. Jane Holzer
The Dior Boutique sold off-the-rack fashion, but clients could request alterations. While the boutique clothing was nowhere near as costly as couture, its fit and attention to detail—evidenced by the delicate, hand-beaded accents on this dress—led New York Times editor Gloria Emerson to recommend it only for those with “lots of money to spend.”
Christian Dior Boutique
Read-to-wear cocktail dress, circa 1965
Beige linen, white plastic and glass
The Museum at FIT, 2014.15.17
Gift of Christina Noble

The luxury of couture embellishment is epitomized by this cocktail dress, which features dense rows of individually-placed feathers. A similar dress by Givenchy, in black velvet and feathers, was shown in Harper's Bazaar in 1968. Its silhouette was likened to "the fluting curves of a fir tree." Hubert de Givenchy Couture cocktail dress, circa 1968 Navy blue silk twill, feathers The Museum at FIT, 70.37.17 Gift of Mrs. Edwin Hilson

The luxury of couture embellishment is epitomized by this cocktail dress, which features dense rows of individually-placed feathers. A similar dress by Givenchy, in black velvet and feathers, was shown in Harper’s Bazaar in 1968. Its silhouette was likened to “the fluting curves of a fir tree.”
Hubert de Givenchy
Couture cocktail dress, circa 1968
Navy blue silk twill, feathers
The Museum at FIT, 70.37.17
Gift of Mrs. Edwin Hilson

Michele Rosier, the daughter of Elle editor Helene Gordon-Lazareff, ran her own popular ready-to-wear label. V de V was short for "Vetements de Vacances," or "Vacation Clothes." She specialized in stylish skiwear, exemplified by this boldly-printed jacket, and was nicknamed the "Queen of Vinyl: for her pioneering use of that material. V de V (Michele Rosier) Ready-to-wear ski jacket, 1966 Yellow, orange, and pink nylon The Museum at FIT, 87.146.44 Gift of Rosalind Gersten Jacobs

Michele Rosier, the daughter of Elle editor Helene Gordon-Lazareff, ran her own popular ready-to-wear label. V de V was short for “Vetements de Vacances,” or “Vacation Clothes.” She specialized in stylish skiwear, exemplified by this boldly-printed jacket, and was nicknamed the “Queen of Vinyl: for her pioneering use of that material.
V de V
(Michele Rosier)
Ready-to-wear ski jacket, 1966
Yellow, orange, and pink nylon
The Museum at FIT, 87.146.44
Gift of Rosalind Gersten Jacobs

Karl Lagerfeld abandoned the world of couture in 1964 to design for the up-and-coming Chloe label. His sense of fantasy and exuberance soon came to characterize the brand. The credit line "Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe" appeared in Vogue Paris by 1965, setting him apart from the label's other designers as the creator of certain garments. Chloe (Karl Lagerfeld) Ready-to-wear evening dress, 1967 Hand-painted ivory silk crepe The Museum at FIT, 88.84.1 Gift of Melanie Miller Gerard Pipart began working at Nina Ricci in 1964. Although he was keenly interested in designing couture, his background was in ready-to-wear—he had previously worked at the forward-thinking Chloe label. Pipart brought the daring, vibrant appeal of ready-to-wear into his couture creations, such as this ensemble worn by "It" girl Jane Holzer. Nina Ricci (Gerard Pipart) Couture evening ensemble: halter top and skirt, circa 1965 Blue and magenta printed silk twill The Museum at FIT, 83.186.2 Gift of Jane Holzer

Karl Lagerfeld abandoned the world of couture in 1964 to design for the up-and-coming Chloe label. His sense of fantasy and exuberance soon came to characterize the brand. The credit line “Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe” appeared in Vogue Paris by 1965, setting him apart from the label’s other designers as the creator of certain garments.
Chloe
(Karl Lagerfeld)
Ready-to-wear evening dress, 1967
Hand-painted ivory silk crepe
The Museum at FIT, 88.84.1
Gift of Melanie Miller
Gerard Pipart began working at Nina Ricci in 1964. Although he was keenly interested in designing couture, his background was in ready-to-wear—he had previously worked at the forward-thinking Chloe label. Pipart brought the daring, vibrant appeal of ready-to-wear into his couture creations, such as this ensemble worn by “It” girl Jane Holzer.
Nina Ricci
(Gerard Pipart)
Couture evening ensemble: halter top and skirt, circa 1965
Blue and magenta printed silk twill
The Museum at FIT, 83.186.2
Gift of Jane Holzer

Philippe Venet worked for Givenchy before opening his own couture house in 1962, and he was soon mentioned alongside Courreges and Saint Laurent as a leading young couturier. Although Venet's aesthetic tended toward the conservative, his business decisions were forward thinking: by 1965, he had launched a ready-to-wear label. Philippe Venet Couture coat, 1963 Purple and magenta double-faced wool The Museum at FIT, 78.183.11 Gift of Mrs. John Hammond Balenciaga's sophisticated coats were especially popular among his American clientele. A 1963 Women's Wear Daily article reported, "Even when [Balenciaga] is not causing fashion revolutions, he offers something great to inspire the jaded coat and suit designers." It referred to this style as his "great raqlan sleeve." Cristobal Balenciaga Couture coat, circa 1963 Pale aqua wool The Museum at FIT, P80.9.4 Museum purchase

Philippe Venet worked for Givenchy before opening his own couture house in 1962, and he was soon mentioned alongside Courreges and Saint Laurent as a leading young couturier. Although Venet’s aesthetic tended toward the conservative, his business decisions were forward thinking: by 1965, he had launched a ready-to-wear label.
Philippe Venet
Couture coat, 1963
Purple and magenta double-faced wool
The Museum at FIT, 78.183.11
Gift of Mrs. John Hammond
Balenciaga’s sophisticated coats were especially popular among his American clientele. A 1963 Women’s Wear Daily article reported, “Even when [Balenciaga] is not causing fashion revolutions, he offers something great to inspire the jaded coat and suit designers.” It referred to this style as his “great raqlan sleeve.”
Cristobal Balenciaga
Couture coat, circa 1963
Pale aqua wool
The Museum at FIT, P80.9.4
Museum purchase

Balenciaga's hats "showed the same pure construction as his clothes," wrote fashion historian Caroline Milbank, adding that his models wore them "perched like finials on the tops of their heads."  The couturier was known to insist that his clients wear his hats with their intended ensembles only.  Cristobal Balenciaga Hat, 1965 Black straw and organza ribbon The Museum at FIT, 78.134.59 Gift of Mrs. Ephraim London, Mrs. Rowland Mindlin, and Mrs. Walter Eytan in Memory of Mrs. Lincoln Schuster

Balenciaga’s hats “showed the same pure construction as his clothes,” wrote fashion historian Caroline Milbank, adding that his models wore them “perched like finials on the tops of their heads.” The couturier was known to insist that his clients wear his hats with their intended ensembles only.
Cristobal Balenciaga
Hat, 1965
Black straw and organza ribbon
The Museum at FIT, 78.134.59
Gift of Mrs. Ephraim London, Mrs. Rowland Mindlin, and Mrs. Walter Eytan in Memory of Mrs. Lincoln Schuster

Madame Gres experimented with cutouts and body-baring silhouettes throughout the 1960s.  This daring ensemble in striped silk is meticulously constructed, even in its simplicity.  Gres utilized three full width of th striped bands for the elegant bra top, which she seamed to follow the curves of the body.  Madame Gres Couture ensemble: bra top and skirt, 1965 Multicolor striped silk The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.61 Donated in memory of Isabel Eberstadt by her family  This dress was worn by Chessy Rayner, a Vogue fashion editor and New York socialite.  Although the dress appears to skim the body softly, the waist yoke is boned, gently shaping the wearer's figure.  Even at her most cutting-edge, Gres brought the hallmarks of couture construction into her work.  Madame Gres Couture evening gown, circa 1964 Ivory, beige, and brown wool/angora jersey The Museum at FIT, 88.180.1 Gift of Chessy Rayner

Madame Gres experimented with cutouts and body-baring silhouettes throughout the 1960s. This daring ensemble in striped silk is meticulously constructed, even in its simplicity. Gres utilized three full width of th striped bands for the elegant bra top, which she seamed to follow the curves of the body.
Madame Gres
Couture ensemble: bra top and skirt, 1965
Multicolor striped silk
The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.61
Donated in memory of Isabel Eberstadt by her family
This dress was worn by Chessy Rayner, a Vogue fashion editor and New York socialite. Although the dress appears to skim the body softly, the waist yoke is boned, gently shaping the wearer’s figure. Even at her most cutting-edge, Gres brought the hallmarks of couture construction into her work.
Madame Gres
Couture evening gown, circa 1964
Ivory, beige, and brown wool/angora jersey
The Museum at FIT, 88.180.1
Gift of Chessy Rayner

Marc Bohan's introduction of shorts and culottes in 1967 was a pragmatic response to the fashion for increasingly short hemlines.  "Short skirts rise to the waistline when you raise your arms," the couturier observed.  Short, swinging culotte dresses were presented for all times of day.  Christian Dior (Marc Bohan) Couture culotte dress, spring 1967 Black and white silk crepe The Museum at FIT, 78.75.3 Gift of Wendy Jackson

Marc Bohan’s introduction of shorts and culottes in 1967 was a pragmatic response to the fashion for increasingly short hemlines. “Short skirts rise to the waistline when you raise your arms,” the couturier observed. Short, swinging culotte dresses were presented for all times of day.
Christian Dior
(Marc Bohan)
Couture culotte dress, spring 1967
Black and white silk crepe
The Museum at FIT, 78.75.3
Gift of Wendy Jackson The Miss Dior boutique opened in 1967, and sold a range of well-priced accessories and casual clothing: not a single formal evening dress was to be found. This shirtdress, emblazoned with the words “Miss Dior,” is an early example of branding that allowed consumers to “buy in” to a luxury brand at relatively little cost.
Miss Dior
(Philippe Guibourge)
Ready-to-wear dress, 1968
Red and navy printed silk
The Museum at FIT, 80.261.6
Gift of Mrs. Walter Eytan

This dress was created shortly before Balenciaga's retirement in 1968.  It provides an example of his canted hemline, a design Balenciaga refined over the course of the 1960s.  When in motion, the dress would swing to create a perfectly conical shape.  When the wearer stood still, the fabric fell into soft vertical folds.  Cristobal Balenciaga Couture evening gown, 1968 Black and white silk gazar The Museum at FIT, 78.134.6 Gift of Mrs. Ephraim London, Mrs. Rowland Mindlin, and Mrs. Walter Eytan in Memory of Mrs. M. Lincoln Schuster

This dress was created shortly before Balenciaga’s retirement in 1968. It provides an example of his canted hemline, a design Balenciaga refined over the course of the 1960s. When in motion, the dress would swing to create a perfectly conical shape. When the wearer stood still, the fabric fell into soft vertical folds.
Cristobal Balenciaga
Couture evening gown, 1968
Black and white silk gazar
The Museum at FIT, 78.134.6
Gift of Mrs. Ephraim London, Mrs. Rowland Mindlin, and Mrs. Walter Eytan in Memory of Mrs. M. Lincoln Schuster

Arlette Nastat co-owned the high-end, ready-to-wear boutique Real, and she also acted as its designer.  In the United States, Real fashions were adapted by a Seventh Avenue manufacturer and marketed under the name Mademoiselle Arlette.  Nastat's trendy designs were favored by French fashion icons such as Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, and Sylvie Vartan.  Mademoiselle Arlette (Arlette Nastat) Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1966, USA Black and pink linen The Museum at FIT, 2016.17.1 Museum purchase

Arlette Nastat co-owned the high-end, ready-to-wear boutique Real, and she also acted as its designer. In the United States, Real fashions were adapted by a Seventh Avenue manufacturer and marketed under the name Mademoiselle Arlette. Nastat’s trendy designs were favored by French fashion icons such as Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, and Sylvie Vartan.
Mademoiselle Arlette
(Arlette Nastat)
Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1966, USA
Black and pink linen
The Museum at FIT, 2016.17.1
Museum purchase

Vogue referred to Givenchy's 1967 designs for uneven hemlines as "marvelous, airy frames for legs."  This original design included two bands of purple stones around the twisted halter neckline and a matching shawl.  Givenchy learned his mastery of gazar fabric—which was simultaneously stiff, lightweight, and flexible—from Balenciaga.  Hubert de Givenchy Couture evening gown, 1967 Purple gazar The Museum at FIT, 71.240.4 Gift of Mrs. Edwin Hilson  A version of this dress in boldly-printed silk was featured in a 1968 issue of Elle.  The caption noted that the dress was "majestic and masterfully cut...fit for a queen," and pointed out the square shape around the arms and shoulders.  Gres's mastery of geometry was informed by her studies of non-Western dress.  Madame Gres Couture evening gown, 1968 Brown silk twill The Museum at FIT, 78.73.1 Gift of Vicki Cohen

Vogue referred to Givenchy’s 1967 designs for uneven hemlines as “marvelous, airy frames for legs.” This original design included two bands of purple stones around the twisted halter neckline and a matching shawl. Givenchy learned his mastery of gazar fabric—which was simultaneously stiff, lightweight, and flexible—from Balenciaga.
Hubert de Givenchy
Couture evening gown, 1967
Purple gazar
The Museum at FIT, 71.240.4
Gift of Mrs. Edwin Hilson
A version of this dress in boldly-printed silk was featured in a 1968 issue of Elle. The caption noted that the dress was “majestic and masterfully cut…fit for a queen,” and pointed out the square shape around the arms and shoulders. Gres’s mastery of geometry was informed by her studies of non-Western dress.
Madame Gres
Couture evening gown, 1968
Brown silk twill
The Museum at FIT, 78.73.1
Gift of Vicki Cohen

Charles Jourdan founded his shoe company in France in 1919.  Throughout the 1950s and 1960s his sons opened boutiques worldwide.  The labels immense success during the 1960s was due in part to the hiring of Karl Lagerfeld, as well as its associations with Pierre Cardin.  This silver heel style was recommended for wear with metallic tights.  Charles Jourdan Shoes, circa 1966 Purple suede, metallic silver The Museum at FIT, 91.210.44 Gift of Elaine Cohen

Charles Jourdan founded his shoe company in France in 1919. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s his sons opened boutiques worldwide. The labels immense success during the 1960s was due in part to the hiring of Karl Lagerfeld, as well as its associations with Pierre Cardin. This silver heel style was recommended for wear with metallic tights.
Charles Jourdan
Shoes, circa 1966
Purple suede, metallic silver
The Museum at FIT, 91.210.44
Gift of Elaine Cohen

Ungaro's ready-to-wear label, Parallele, was launched in 1968.  He enthused that the early Parallele collections allowed him to design in a relaxed and lighthearted manner, and that he wanted to bring that quality to his designs for couture.  This graphic dress resembles earlier designs by Emmanuelle Khanh.  Parallele (Emanuel Ungaro) Ready-to-wear dress, 1968 Navy blue wool, off-white wool The Museum at FIT, 90.188.9 Gift of Mr. Michael Borden for the Estate of Nina Hyde

Ungaro’s ready-to-wear label, Parallele, was launched in 1968. He enthused that the early Parallele collections allowed him to design in a relaxed and lighthearted manner, and that he wanted to bring that quality to his designs for couture. This graphic dress resembles earlier designs by Emmanuelle Khanh.
Parallele
(Emanuel Ungaro)
Ready-to-wear dress, 1968
Navy blue wool, off-white wool
The Museum at FIT, 90.188.9
Gift of Mr. Michael Borden for the Estate of Nina Hyde

Emanuel Ungaro worked for Balenciaga and Courreges before starting his own label in 1965, and the influence of both designers can be seen in his work.  Women's Wear Daily was first to report on the new couture house.  The magazine hoped that Ungaro would be "the force to cement the weaker forces tearing Paris apart."  Emanuel Ungaro Couture coat and dress ensemble, circa 1968 Brown and ivory wool The Museum at FIT, 91.210.10 Gift of Elaine Cohen

Emanuel Ungaro worked for Balenciaga and Courreges before starting his own label in 1965, and the influence of both designers can be seen in his work. Women’s Wear Daily was first to report on the new couture house. The magazine hoped that Ungaro would be “the force to cement the weaker forces tearing Paris apart.”
Emanuel Ungaro
Couture coat and dress ensemble, circa 1968
Brown and ivory wool
The Museum at FIT, 91.210.10
Gift of Elaine Cohen

Jules Francois Crahay left Nina Ricci for the house of Lanvin in 1963.  Women's Wear Daily immediately enthused that Crahay was "uninhibited, young and not reminiscent."  From his first collection, the couturier established an aesthetic that was simultaneously bold and romantic, exemplified by this evening gown with its unique matching hood.  Jeanne Lanvin (Jules-Francois Crahay) Couture evening ensemble: dress and hood, 1964-65 Fuchsia silk chiffon, rhinestones The Museum at FIT, 86.66.1 Gift of Nancy Zeckenforf  This cleverly designed evening ensemble exemplifies Givenchy's experiments with cape-like silhouettes.  The ensemble looks like a single garment, but actually consists of two parts: a sleeveless, sheath-like gown and a puff-sleeved, frontless jacket that would have floated slightly away from the wearer's body as she moved.  Hubert de Givenchy Couture eveing ensemble: dress and coat, circa 1962 Black silk satin shantung The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.34 Donated in memory of Isabel Eberstadt by her family

Jules Francois Crahay left Nina Ricci for the house of Lanvin in 1963. Women’s Wear Daily immediately enthused that Crahay was “uninhibited, young and not reminiscent.” From his first collection, the couturier established an aesthetic that was simultaneously bold and romantic, exemplified by this evening gown with its unique matching hood.
Jeanne Lanvin
(Jules-Francois Crahay)
Couture evening ensemble: dress and hood, 1964-65
Fuchsia silk chiffon, rhinestones
The Museum at FIT, 86.66.1
Gift of Nancy Zeckenforf
This cleverly designed evening ensemble exemplifies Givenchy’s experiments with cape-like silhouettes. The ensemble looks like a single garment, but actually consists of two parts: a sleeveless, sheath-like gown and a puff-sleeved, frontless jacket that would have floated slightly away from the wearer’s body as she moved.
Hubert de Givenchy
Couture eveing ensemble: dress and coat, circa 1962
Black silk satin shantung
The Museum at FIT, 2007.46.34
Donated in memory of Isabel Eberstadt by her family

Louis Feraud opened his couture house in Paris in 1955.  By 1967, he was determined to create ready-to-wear fashion that maintained the design integrity of his couture line.  Feraud's distinctive color blocking technique—crafted from inset, curving pieces of boldly-colored wool—softens the sharp silhouette of this mini dress.  Louis Feraud Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1967 Navy blue, light blue, and red wool The Museum at FIT, 94.155.3 Gift of Joan Diamond

Louis Feraud opened his couture house in Paris in 1955. By 1967, he was determined to create ready-to-wear fashion that maintained the design integrity of his couture line. Feraud’s distinctive color blocking technique—crafted from inset, curving pieces of boldly-colored wool—softens the sharp silhouette of this mini dress.
Louis Feraud
Ready-to-wear dress, circa 1967
Navy blue, light blue, and red wool
The Museum at FIT, 94.155.3
Gift of Joan Diamond

Saint Laurent's fall 1965 collection was inspired by the paintings of Piet Mondrian.  While it became one of Saint Laurent's most famous collections, other designers had introduced similar design before him.  The Montreal Gazette claimed that color-blocked dresses by Michele Rosier inspired Saint Laurent to "add a few black lines" to his own creations.  Yves Saint Laurent Couture dress, fall 1965 Ivory, black, and red wool jersey The Museum at FIT, 95.180.1 Gift of Igor Kamlukin from the Estate of Valentina Schlee

Saint Laurent’s fall 1965 collection was inspired by the paintings of Piet Mondrian. While it became one of Saint Laurent’s most famous collections, other designers had introduced similar design before him. The Montreal Gazette claimed that color-blocked dresses by Michele Rosier inspired Saint Laurent to “add a few black lines” to his own creations.
Yves Saint Laurent
Couture dress, fall 1965
Ivory, black, and red wool jersey
The Museum at FIT, 95.180.1
Gift of Igor Kamlukin from the Estate of Valentina Schlee


About the author: Bill Indursky

Bill Indursky is an architect, trend expert, and digital entrepreneur. He is the former founder of V&M (Vintage & Modern (2006-2013)) and the current founder of Design Life Network (DLN). DLN is a MAGAZINE + DESIGN AGENCY + MARKETPLACE + TV CHANNEL promoting inspiring design of all eras online and on TV.


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