We chart the most iconic acts of defiance that have come to define many generations of youth.
"Twiggy embodied the ’60s "
The decade that witnessed the pendulum of influence swing into the hands of the young and the birth of the miniskirt. The Beat Generation, the non-conformist youth movement led by literary giant Jack Kerouac, was already gaining steam in New York during the ’60s. Across the pond Mary Quant, often regarded as the inventor of the short skirt, introduced young women to a new empowering way to dress. Mod fashion, what with its graphic colours, stripes and patterns, filled London’s Carnaby Street with vigour and vitality. Twiggy was the face fashion couldn’t get enough of. The Beatles sparked global mayhem. And then came along the skinheads and their clean-shaven heads and Dr. Martens boots; and hippies, whose free-spirited attitudes promoted peace and love. Glam rock burst onto the scene during the ’70s, bringing with it glitter, vertiginous platform heels and a certain amount of camp. In his alter ego as Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie carried the hopes of his generation within the lyrical verses of his songs. With a new decade looming on the horizon, punk shifted that balance. Sex, the boutique ran by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, stocked bondage and a host of other gear that pushed the boundaries of taste. Outside, youths customised their leather jackets with studs, slashed their netted tights, and matched their tartans with hair in spiky towering columns.
Miu Miu fall/ winter 2017
Clockwise from top: David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust. Denim vests and patches at Vetements fall/winter 2017. Punk was about fearless self-expression
Pop culture truly came into its own in the ’80s, thanks to the birth of MTV. Boy George and the Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” ﬁlled the airwaves; as did Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”. Love was the order of the day, and besides a growing catalogue of tunes, the theme played out in fashion via bold shoulders on oversized blazers and funky tights. Michael Jackson thrilled with an unprecedented 13-minute-long music video, giving new meaning to the term “zombie chic” with strong-shouldered leather jackets. But really, who can forget the commotion a certain lace-clad Madonna Louise Ciccone caused when she cooed about being like a virgin, touched for the very ﬁrst time?
From left: Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello fall/winter 2017. Madonna and Boy George ruled with their music and images
Raf Simons fall/winter 2017
Calvin Klein and Brooke Shields opened up discussions about sex
Grunge raged through the streets in the ’90s, in the form of torn jeans, ﬂannel shirts and white t-shirts. The likes of Nirvana (fronted by the enigmatic Kurt Cobain), Pearl Jam and Soundgarden explored introspective themes of increasing social alienation and a desire for freedom in a changing world, especially with a new millennium fast approaching. On the catwalks, the minimalist fashion championed by the likes of Helmut Lang and Calvin Klein reached its peak. Hedi Slimane was changing the game at Dior Homme with skinny suits on whippet-thin male models. Elsewhere, a certain Belgian designer named Raf Simons was quietly rewriting the rules of masculinity at his namesake label, mining the codes of youth tribes. It wouldn’t be long before he would be seen as the new bastion of youth—a state of mind he references to this day. ■
Kurt Cobain sang about the pains of his generation
PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY AND TPGVIP/CLICK PHOTOS; SHOWBIT