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Swinging Sixties reviews

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Review by wheldon on 8th December, 2008
 
4 stars "The decade of the mini"

For those of us who were merely born, rather than lived through the 1960's, the decade has been represented to us through a serious of icons. Two of these are to do with the word mini. The first of these is the mini skirt, one of the defining fashions of the decade.

Mary Quant sold her own designs from a popular clothes shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea, London. It was called Bazaar, and from the late 1950s she began experimenting with shortened hemlines. The result was the launch of the miniskirt, this rather skant piece of fashion which became an international trendsetter and an integral part of London's image as the center of the Swinging '60s.

André Courrèges featured the mini skirt in his Mod look, for spring/summer 1965, worn with the famous white “Courrèges boots.” It became both fashionable and sensational and, combined with tights replacing stockings, highly popular worldwide.

The '60s also saw the tremendous popularity of the mini. It was chic and urban; a million cars had been sold by 1965, over 4 million by the end of the decade. It was a sensation, not only because of its status as a fashion icon, but also because it was a legend in races such as the Monte Carlo rally. At the 1963/64 rally, a small red David with a white roof left the established ultra-powerful rally cars in its wake, and virtually overnight the little "dwarf” had become a legend. Legends were made, such as Rauno Aaltonen, later to become world-famous as the "Flying Finn”, Timo Mäkinen and Patrick "Paddy” Hopkirk.

Of course the 60's involved so much more, there was a revolution in almost every area of life. Art, music, politics, religion, fashion, sexuality, you name it, there was something happening, and New Zealand, albeit a small country at the far flung ends of the earth, was caught up in the international trends. Graham Hutchins lived through it, and he presents in detail what happened in New Zealand. He captures the changes from the conservatism of the 50's through to the new world that faced New Zealanders heading towards the 70's.

A book for those who wish to reminisce, filled with photos from throughout the decade. And for those of us who weren't quite ready to party in the 60's, this is a wonderful book to discover what the '60s were really about, what our parents were getting up to, and the influences that the '60s have cast upon the society in which we live today.

Wheldon Curzon-Hobson