Synonymous with defiance, the miniskirt has been regarded as a symbol of liberation since its creation in the early 1960s. British designer and fashion icon Mary Quant was inspired by what she was seeing on the streets of London, and raised the hemlines on her skirts, giving riseto the iconic piece while also becoming an instrumental figure in the London-based Mod movement.
At around the same time, French designer André Courrèges debuted his iteration of the new trend with futuristic, space-age minimalist dresses. This shift into leg-baring hemlines provoked France’s haute couture world into a frenzy, serving as a rejection of the stifling patriarchal rules and traditions of the previous generations. Supermodel Twiggy was one of the first influential figures to hop on the miniskirt bandwagon, becoming the unofficial poster child of the movement. Other prominent public figures such as Jackie Kennedy and Brigitte Bardot swiftly followed suit.
As women entered a new age of liberation with the invention of birth control and more comprehensive laws set in place to protect them, the image of the woman shifted from one of domesticity to one of worldliness and sexual freedom. This is precisely what the comfortable and non-restrictive miniskirt embodies. Condemned yet very much loved, the miniskirt exploded into the political landscape challenging societal rules and shaking up conservative values.
The miniskirt was all the rage in the ’90s, with icons like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and the Spice Girls keeping the powerful piece hip, trendy, and never really leaving the public sphere. Suggesting both empowerment and vulnerability, liberation and exploitation, the miniskirt was a controversial item of clothing shifting the dynamics and allowing women to take charge of their own sexualities.
Miniskirts made a resurgence in the early noughties when icon Paris Hilton raised her hemline even further with denim “macro minis” and Tom Ford decreed the mini-est of micro skirts to be the it item of spring/summer 2003. Today supermodels like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner continue to flaunt miniskirts on and off the runway and designers continue to play with the silhouette with asymmetrical hemlines, ruffled textures, embroidered embellishments and more.
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