The 1960s saw a revolution in fashion that was born, like most things new and hip in that era, of youth rebellion in the streets. For the first time, designers didn't dictate the trends. Instead, they trickled up into the top fashion houses, Halston and Yves Saint Laurent among them, by way of bohemian boutiques and avant-garde labels with names like Granny Takes a Trip and Cosmic Couture, and musicians like the Beatles, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. Defying easy definition but becoming an international phenomenon all the same, hippie fashion twisted and turned from trippy to retro and crafty to ethnic. The accompanying idea that one can express a personal style with clothing went against everything about the previous generation’s notion of matching suits or ladylike ensembles dictated by social class or profession. Sumptuous photography, dynamic design, and far-out images from the era make Hippie Chic a must-have book that goes past peace signs and patchouli to unearth how hippies forever changed the way fashion functions.
Lauren D. Whitley is curator in the David and Roberta Logie Department of Textile and Fashion Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.