We’ve reached the 1964-65 in the BBC’s celebration of the decade when Britain began to swing. Joining Lulu in the Rewind the 60s studio is fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, to chat about what it was like to be young, free and single during that exciting time.
By the mid-1960s the black and white of 50s Britain had given way to a world of colour. There was a fashion revolution going on, and Zandra tells Lulu what it was like starting out as a young designer in the mid-60s. While London was the style capital, dedicated followers of fashion could be found all around the country. We hear from Yvonne, then a teenager in Newcastle, who talks us through the experience of being a fashion-obsessive on Tyneside, and how you just couldn’t get away with some of the looks that were popular down south. People were quick to judge, and so hemlines were kept below the knee. If a girl wore a miniskirt, “ all the neighbours would be out. And saying look - its above the knee. She would be classed as someone who was quite risqué”.
We meet an ex-mod and an ex-rocker, who give us the inside story of the decade’s most notorious gang rivalry. As John, a mod, admits, “it didn’t bother us being labelled as hooligans. Because that’s what we were.” Nevertheless, he tells us about witnessing the infamous tussles between mods and rockers on Brighton Beach, and describes how he feels the media blew it out of all proportion. Also in today’s episode, Charlie Ross discovers how the mods achieved ‘Lambrettability’ with that most groovy of fashion accessories – the scooter. But why was it the mods favourite mode of transport? Apparently it was just perfect if you wanted to avoid getting oil on your bottle-green mohair suit.
The sixties was a great time to be young, and with the launch of Top of The Pops even the stuffy old BBC were taking teenagers seriously. In 1964, one young man suddenly found himself in the heart of the establishment. Robin Wilson recalls how, as a student at Oxford, he watched the results of the 1964 general election with the growing realisation that his father Harold was going to be the next prime minister. Robin tells us what it was like living in a flat at the top of 10 Downing Street, meeting pop stars and celebrities at swanky receptions, and having the PM pop upstairs to join the family for lunch, as he took a quick break from running the country.