In 1965, Diana Vreeland, editor of Vogue, famously quoted that “London is the most swinging city in the world at the moment”.
For those with an appreciation of the cultural explosion that was the 1960s (whether you were there or not) the book London in the Sixties by Rainer Metzger is a visual feast.
Drawing together iconic images from the decade, including examples of the photography and art that epitomised the period, this book provides a colourful and kaleidoscopic glimpse of this exciting era including the music, theatre, film and, for the dedicated follower of fashion, a glimpse in to the voguish trends of the day.
A book on London in the ‘Swinging’ Sixties would not be complete without some reference to Westminster and, of course, Carnaby Street with its ‘Carnabetian Army’ of mods and hippies flocking to the fashionable boutiques. 1960s fashion can be explored further through the fashion collections held at City of Westminster Archives Centre.
Browsing through the book’s 342 illustrations (including a generous 137 in colour) other local highlights include the Beatles at Buckingham Palace, Lady Chatterley in Charing Cross Road, mass demonstrations in Hyde Park and Jimi Hendrix in St. Marylebone. Putting fashion and popular culture aside, Metzger also explores the important intellectual and political ideologies that fuelled a generation, and which led to the introduction of cultural reforms and new social freedoms.
You can explore more fascinating photographs of 1960s Westminster by visiting the Archives Centre. As well as photos of Soho in the Sixties, the Centre also hold the archives of Jaeger and Liberty, with eye-catching publicity material showing the fashions of the day. Find out more by visiting our Special Collections page.