Fifty years ago, the first miniskirt appeared in Vogue magazine. Unlike the thigh-baring styles seen today, it brushed just above the knee. But for young women, it was liberating. Suddenly, their legs were free to dance.
Like the Fab Four, the miniskirt came from across the pond. London designer Mary Quant—often credited as the mother of the mini—began shortening hemlines in the late 1950s, when she opened her store in Chelsea. Inspired by the ballerinas she watched as a child, Quant wanted to create clothes that allowed women to move. Her young customers embraced the sleek style, requesting that she make her skirts even shorter. Although other designers were trimming hems, too, Quant’s shop became the fashion center of the emerging mod scene.
Once the Chelsea-girl look caught on in London and models like Twiggy rose to superstardom, the miniskirt made its way to the U.S. In 1967, ABC aired a television special called The Mini-Skirt Rebellion, which introduced the skimpy style to all Americans. To their parents’ dismay, teens embraced the trend. If only they’d known hot pants were on their way just three years later.
Take a look back at the evolution of the miniskirt in this slide show of retro photos, shared by fashion archivist Jessica Hastings of myvintagevogue.com.
Did you know…
- Mary Quant named her skirt sensation after her favorite car, the Mini Cooper.
- American clothing companies were reluctant to adopt the mini—until they spotted trendsetter Jackie Kennedy wearing one.