The miniskirt was introduced in 1965 at the fashion show of French designer André Courreges (1923–). He felt that the design of women's clothes was not keeping up with the modern trends of the 1950s and 1960s and wanted to introduce a look that was modern, streamlined, and easy. His miniskirts were A-line skirts, narrow at the waist and wider at the hem, that ended four inches above the knee.
The audience at Courreges's show greeted his new designs in shocked silence, but it would not be long before fashion critics and women themselves embraced the exciting modern look. Meanwhile, in London, fashion designer Mary Quant (1934–) also began to sell a new look for the modern woman. In 1955 Quant had opened a London boutique called Bazaar in which she sold designer clothes that could be worn by the average person, not just fashion models. Shortly after Courreges had revealed his line of clothes, Quant introduced her own miniskirt, a tightly fitted skirt with an even shorter hemline, up to the middle of the thigh.
Quant's miniskirt became part of a new "mod" style, named after the reigning fashion among British youth in the 1960s. Courreges and Quant both paired miniskirts with flat white boots and geometric prints, and celebrities like British model Twiggy (1946–) and French actress and sex symbol Brigitte Bardot (1934–) popularized the new look. Soon the new short skirts were seen on such respectable figures as American first lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929–1994).
Over the years minis kept getting shorter, becoming the micromini and even the micro-micro. The average woman did not wear the most extreme styles, but the miniskirt did begin a trend of shorter skirts and a freer, more relaxed style for women. Rather than being expected to keep themselves covered up, modern women of the 1960s were presented in a style that was bold, sexy, and fun.
Hemlines have gone up and down several times since 1965, and the miniskirt has been reintroduced several times, notably in the 1980s when singer Madonna's (1958–) short skirts popularized the mini again among young women.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Crawford, Nigel. Key Moments in Fashion. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2001.
Powe-Temperley, Kitty. 20th Century Fashion: The 1960s, Mods and Hippies. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens, 2000.
Quant, Mary. Quant by Quant. New York: Putnam, 1966.
Schneider, Karen. "Up, Up, and Hooray! Designer Andre Courreges Celebrates 25 Years of Miniskirt Fame." People Weekly (July 9, 1990): 79–82.