July 16–November 11, 2013

Hippie Chic

Paisley, beads, and fringe: celebrate hippie fashion

As the Woodstock generation challenged the status quo, a cultural revolution was born, and the world of fashion felt the reverberations. For the first time, haute couture designers weren’t dictating all the trends; instead, inspiration for many of the latest styles came from hippies and young people on the street. With their long hair and vibrant mix of ethnic and vintage clothing, hippies created a unique look that trickled up the fashion ladder, even to the runways of the world’s top fashion houses. The fun and colorful fashions that emerged were popularized by iconic rock stars and celebrities of the era: The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Cher. The emerging hippie culture adopted an eclectic, highly individual look, mixing vintage and ethnic clothing with fashions inspired by contemporary psychedelic Pop art, nature, fantasy, and ethnographic art. “Hippie Chic” celebrates the designs of innovative boutiques and young designers and includes 54 ensembles, in materials (crushed velvet, eyelet, satin, leather), techniques and embellishments (tie-dye, patchwork, beads, and fringe), and styles from psychedelic to retro.

The exhibition captures the energy and vibrancy of the style and period through works ranging from young hip designers and avant-garde boutiques such as Ossie Clark, Betsey Johnson, and "Granny Takes a Trip," to more established designers including Geoffrey Beene, Arnold Scaasi, and Yves Saint Laurent. "Hippie Chic" offers an immersive experience with shag rugs, spinning lights, rotating platforms throughout the gallery. A vintage jukebox sets the mood for this fun, far-out trip with original 45s of such pop hits of the era as the Grateful Dead's "Sugar Magnolia," "All You Need Is Love" by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze," and "Love Her Madly" by the Doors. Celebrate the spirit of the Summer of Love at the MFA and enjoy the colorful, fun spirit of "hippie" style that informed the beautifully made garments of "chic."

Fashions and interior by The Fool at the Beatles’ Apple Boutique (1967). Photograph by Ronald Traeger. Courtesy Tessa Traeger.

  • Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery (Gallery 184)