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Unforgettable Color Footage of London in the Swinging ’60s

The 1960s were a decade unlike any other. From the beginnings of the peace movement to the changes in fashion and the revolutionary sounds of psychedelic rock and roll, the decade ushered in a whole new way of being for many young people. Mods, hippies, bikers, and babydoll chic models mingled together at the hippest parties. One of the trendiest areas at the time was London, which in the 1960s boasted a growing cadre of vintage clothing sellers, artists, musicians, and free-thinkers the drew curious people from around the world. This made the mood in certain parts of London during the decade quite different to other cities.

Newsreel footage from British Pathé of the era brought a few of the ideas of the free love generation to the masses. And, it wasn’t just about the clothing, the music, and the lifestyles of the flower children. Rather, the whole scene is explored from women working in respected positions to nightclubs to performance art. Young women with pixie haircuts in peter pan collars are shown working in offices while across the city they zoom in on designer, Mary Quant, whose new cosmetics line at the time was quite a big deal for young ladies.

The so-called “freaky fashions” worn by the youth of the day are described by the narrator as appalling, yet the overall tone is one more of interest than of judgement. More than once the phrase “youth speaks to youth” is used to define a new way of doing business that young people at the time were engaging in- and it didn’t requite a grey flannel suit and a high-paying job either.

Follow the young people of the 1960s from paper dresses to hand-painted cars to a “happening” and beyond. Have a look at this fascinating color footage from 1967 of London in all her swinging glory in the video below.

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