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Timeline: Modern Fashion

Part II: 1930-1968

by David Johnson
1930 1940-1945 1947 1950 1954 1960s 1968 Next: 1970-1990

Hemlines drop; then gradually rise

Alix "Madame" Grès becomes famous for elegant draped dresses

Tennis star Rene Lacoste, known as "le Crocodile," manufactures a versatile new tennis shirt. It features an embroidered crocodile, believed to be the first instance of a designer logo to appear on a garment.


World War II forces many Paris couture houses to close


Christian Dior reestablishes Paris as fashion center; revives haute couture; replaces wartime austerity with the glamour of the "New Look" with tight waist, stiff petticoats, billowing skirts


Shoes have pointed toes, stiletto heels


Cristóbal Balenciaga introduces "semi-fit" dresses with soft, round shoulders; is the classic designer of the 1950s

Early 1960s

Pierre Cardin becomes first designer to license his name for various products; is first to create ready-to-wear lines

London boutique owner Mary Quant champions the youth movement; introduces mini-skirt, hot pants; launches Twiggy as supermodel; becomes 1960s most influential 1960s designer


Yves St. Laurent opens fashion house; often uses ethnic inspirations; remains most classic modern designer, heir to Chanel, Balenciaga

Mid 1960s

Influenced by rock music, "Mod" scene makes London major fashion center with fun, revolutionary clothes: bell bottoms, psychedelic prints, wild colors, dresses made of vinyl, paper, cellophane, metal, covered in mirrors; go-go boots; ruffled shirts for men; Nehru jackets; fur vests

Rudi Gernreich creates "radical" fashion - topless swimsuit, see-through blouse, "no bra" look


Calvin Klein begins producing elegant, simple clothes, favoring neural earth tones and luxurious fabrics

Ralph Lauren creates men's wear line; expands into women's wear; favors natural fabrics; designs feature western or country motifs

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