The 1950s was the first decade when American fashion became truly American. The United States had always relied on Europe for its style leads, but during World War II, when necessity became the mother of invention, the country had to find its own way. American designers looked to what American women needed and found new inspirations for American fashion design. Sportswear became a strength, but not at the expense of elegance. Easy-wear materials were adapted for producing more formal clothes, and versatile separates and adaptable dress and jacket suits became hallmarks of American style. This book follows the American fashion industry from New York's 7th Avenue to the beaches of California in search of the clothes that defined 1950s American fashion.
The media made light of the movement in 1957 by coining the term “Beatnik,” adding the Russian suffix from Sputnik to Beat. Sprouting from a group of New York writers in the late 1940s, the Beat generation swelled into an international movement that embraced atonal jazz, black coffee, free love, existentialism, scruffy beards, dark glasses, berets, and sandals.
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The first awards, in 1938, were given to American and European designers, equating the two as equally important for the American market