Fine feathers are strewn on a mini-halter, mini-skirt. Improbable-peacock plumage is printed on nylon and acetate matte jersey. By Scott Barrie, $55. Frosty pastel chains by House of Joy.
Long before there was "Coachella fashion" there was the hippie-inspired fashions of the late 1960s. While the hippies themselves wore a mixed-bag of second-hand and imported ethnic clothes, their unique style directly influenced all levels of the fashion industry.
This is a rather amazing description of the sheer wildness of most hippie counter-cultural garb, from Richard Miller's 1977 book, Bohemia: The Protoculture Then and Now:
"To walk from Hippie Hill in the park down Haight Street in the summer of 1967 was to be in an amazing carnival seen perhaps once before, on a smaller scale, in the Paris of the Hugolaters... In the park and for half a mile on Haight Street, on both sidewalks, and on the street too, smoking dope, spare-changing, selling dope, a vast throng, mainly under twenty-one, almost half arrived there directly from other states, circulated in a great swirl of hair, flowers, jewelry, love-beads, all the hats of Hallowe’en and the masks of masquerade, Wild West clothes, East Indian clothes, clerical clothes, medieval clothes, Chinese clothes, gowns robes trunks leotards capes bells flutes bongos harmonicas guitars painted-faces Indian headbands dancing with Dorothy down the yellow brick road laughter songs kisses for everybody dope-euphoria omnipresent over an underlying and pervading pain trying in spite of it and despite the anxiety of being on your own in a teen-age slum like a rolling stone a complete unknown to be kind and generous, open and gentle.”
It was actually young hippies who inspired Thea Porter to start designing, after they came into her interior design/decorative arts shop in London in 1967 and bought antique Middle Eastern caftans that she had originally purchased to sew into cushions. While she took the aesthetic to the high end, it also seeped into the mass-market. This editorial from a 1969 issue of Cosmopolitan showcases outfits from a range of low-to-high end American retailers, all exhibiting a wild hippie-gypsy look further enhanced by pastel chains and large beads.
Photos by Chris von Wangenheim for Cosmopolitan, October 1969.
Last summer you were a tanned, carefree gypsy—now, you've come in by the fireside and the look is more... seductive. Now, gypsy's in your SOUL!
Victorian roses on French wool challis soften a romantic dress with short, tiered-ruffle skirt, low scoop neckline. By Edie Gladstone for Deebs, $245. Corded and tasseled belt, Bill Smith for Richelieu. Handful of rings, House of Joy.
Smoldering-campfire look is for post gypsies. Three-part put-together starts with suede pants fringed in tiers all the way to the ankle, adds a cashmere pull with a neckline that converts to a hood, ties it up with a cotton challis shirt and all the beads in your cache. Suede pants, $175; pullover, $45; both by Bonnie Cashin for Philip Sills. Shirt, $11, by Pilot. Beads, Sandy Goldberger.
Sultry fringes enliven an at-home look of subtly sophisticated coloring. Camisole is a little tank suit of stretchy Enkalure; silk linen makes the periwinkle pants; plaided shawl is Dacron double-knit. By Jon Haggins; tank suit, $30; pants, $110; shawl, $190. Belt and jewelry, Bill Smith for Richelieu.
Romantic gypsy hearkens to another era, combines satin pull with skirt and shawl taken from a century-old trunk lining print. By Luba, for Elite Juniors, wool challis skirt and shawl, $56; acetate and rayon overblouse, $30. Belt and jewelry by Sandy Goldberger.
Pantaloon for a peri has deeply plunged neckline, high-banded waist, attached leggings. Of shimmery Enkalure by Jon Haggins, $160. Turban is a twist of cobwebby gold and silver scarves from Glentex; turban ornament and necklace by Bill Smith for Richelieu; gold mules by Bressan.
Dusky jewel colorings make an off-beat shorts outfit with slash-necked, elasticized pullover, very short shorts. Of rayon and acetate crepe, by Scott Barrie, $65. Silky multicolored tassels by Elegant.
Bronzy red paisley is sashed high, animated by golden-coin jewelry. Dress of silk surah by Jacques Tiffeau, $250. Coin jewelry, Bill Smith for Richelieu.