Whether the Seventies can bring anything like the fashion explosion of the Sixties is an unanswered question. No other decade has seen so many changes, so many different styles in so short a time.
The decade began with Balenciaga and Givenchy, kings of a fashion that emphasized ladylike elegance. Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn were the mass fashion idols who brought this look to wide public attention.
By 1969, both had been dethroned, and the fashion was being set by unknown kids in London streets, hippies and the weirdly costumed members of rock and roll groups. Camp had dethroned elegance, but some of the mod fashions came from designers, too, notably Mary Quant of London and Andre Courreges of Paris — both virtually unknown when the decade began.
Serenely above the changes, Chanel continue to ride high, the epitome of all that Twentieth Century fashion has meant since 1920. Most widely-worn designer of all in 1960, she ended the decade as the heroine of a big Broadway musical about herself, the only designer ever so honored.
The rapid changes of the decade are almost too numerous to mention.
A few of the more obvious ones: In 1960, fashions accented nothing of the figure, and knees were covered. By 1969, everything, including the bosom, was showing. In 1960, pants were being shown only by the then daring Coureges. By 1969, they were worn in the streets and at the most elegant evening affairs.
In 1960, the hemline seemed firmly anchored at an inch below the knees, but within the decade, it had risen nearly to the hips and plunged again to the ground. For the first time in fashion history, different hemlines were being worn at the same time.
This trend is perhaps the only one that can be foreseen as the Seventies open.