Women’s Fashion by the Decade
Current Designers Take Inspiration from the Past

Now more than ever, designers are melding together bits and pieces of fashion history as they create new looks.  All of today’s popular 50strends find their roots in styles of yesterday. The most recent hipster trend stems from 50s and 60s culture, and the electronic dance music craze can be compared to the hippie trends in the late 60s.

Here we break down the most recent decades and the trends they were known for before revealing modern designers who are influenced by the last 60 years of fashion.



Christian Dior introduced this decade to an amazing new fit. This piece was made as a fitted jacket with a cinched waist, and a full skirt below. This style was dubbed the “New Look.” Chanel soon followed in Dior’s footsteps, mimicking the New Look’s shape with a boxier figure, slimmer skirts, and synthetic fabrics. Since Chanel made these pieces affordable, teenagers became a force in the fashion market for the first time.

Some other notable trends were: black leotards, poodle skirts, ballerina flats, ponytails, and strapless evening gowns.


The 1950s allowed the youth to have an influence on fashion; the 1960s gave them complete control. Two sub groups developed in the 1960s:  The Rockers had a darker, tougher style while the the Mod look was happy, flamboyant and bright.

In 1966 the mini skirt was introduced and bold young women everywhere, were suddenly encouraged to be even younger and bolder. In the later 60s, the hippie movement developed, and bell-bottoms and tie-dye shirts took over fashion throughout America and the UK. Other notable trends were the beehive hairdo, pale lipstick and dark eyeliner, and white vinyl “go-go” boots.

The main fashion icon was Jackie Kennedy, and Twiggy ushered in the era of the supermodel.


Travel increased immensely during the 1970s. This meant that there were beautiful stewardesses…and a lot of ethnic inspiration.80sAlso introduced in the 70s was disco, and this meant that polyester was now the main textile. This led to the production of a lot of shiny, tight-fitting clothing. This look has been credited to the freedom and revolutionary ideas of the young generation during the period.

Towards the end of the 1970s teenage culture was pervaded by punk rock, which hit the fashion industry hard, considering it was anti-fashion and anarchist.


The 1980s were the definition of materialism. The economy was booming for the first time in a while, which led people to flaunt their designer brands as a symbol of wealth. MTV was also introduced, which gave musicians more influence on fashion.

Notable trends from the time were collars and hems with frills, power suits with big shoulder pads, long fake pearl necklaces, and 90stunics over leggings.


The 90s grunge aesthetic was a rejection of the excessive, high-velocity, flashy looks of the 80s.  The casual looks of the time depended heavily on neutrals and earth tones. A huge influence on this trend, as well as the flannel trend, was the development of the grunge music scene.  The purposely unkempt, layered looks were modeled by grunge music icons like Kurt Cobain and hip, young actresses like Winona Ryder.



Lanvin 80sLanvin’s most recent ready-to-wear collection utilizes iridescence and bright colors in almost every look. Including the styling of the models, the entire collection screams 80s and 70s disco.  Here is an excerpt from style.com on the collection:

“Alber Elbaz is confounding expectations once again, in a collection that he defined as ‘an homage to the fabric industry,’ before adding, ‘Going to the factories, to the basements and warehouses where fabrics are kept, tells you the truth. I didn’t want to do a collection based on the forest or Marilyn Monroe.’”

Saint Laurent:

If you could list one current designer as the most relevant in pop culture and celebrity lifestyles you could probably narrow it down to about three at this point. Givenchy, Hood By Air, Margiela, Alexander Wang and a few more are all big names, but nobody masters aesthetics like Saint Laurent.

Beck, Lindsay Lohan, Daft Punk, Marilyn Manson, Sky Ferreira and more have recently modeled for Saint Laurent’s monochromatic look books, and nothing says “rock and roll” like this lineup of models. They all rock looks that feature classic black leather jackets, messy hair and a great mixture of 50s rock, 90s grunge, and 70s art direction. Many different pieces from the brand can be found at Barneys.

Jilsander 80sJil Sander:

Jil Sander’s 2014 looks bring a great mixture of different decades. Many light pinks, oranges, and whites show influence from the late 80s and early 90s. Sander contrasts these friendlier colors with minimalistic shades of black and grey, which along with many other designers, hint at a big 90s trend in 2014.

This attached picture reminds us of David Bowie and how purple can be so magnificent.

Fabbri Furs:

FabbrifursNothing says luxury and status like a real fur coat. Fabbri Furs is the place to go when it comes to achieving this level of luxry through clothing. This design team takes the fur looks from the 80s and re-creates them in a way that is still appropriate and stylish today. Of course you can buy faux fur at a cheaper price, but you won’t be fooling anyone.

Everyone steals from everyone – that’s a basic truth in art and fashion.  It’s impossible for modern designers not to be influenced and inspired by great history of 20th Century fashion.  The great ones, however, take the past and form into something new and extraordinary.

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