After a burst of frank flag colors in the spring, colors quieted in the fall to ladylike neutrals with beige and gray in the lead. Black staged a dramatic comeback and the "little black dress" tentatively returned to sophisticated favor.
Ireland continued to progress in the field of fashion, By 1967 clothing manufacture had grown to be one of the country's leading industries, and Ireland's first Fashion Fair was held in Dublin in April 1968. Donald Davies, whose shirtwaist dresses were already appreciated throughout the world, opened a shop in Paris' West End. A newcomer to the Irish fashion scene was Thomas Wolfangel, winner of the Couture Class gold medal in the London Tailor and Cutter Exhibition for both 1966 and 1967, who opened his own salon in Dublin during the year.
The closing in 1968 of such well-known houses as Balenciaga and Castillo in Paris and Worth in London was symptomatic of the changing pattern of the industry since World War II. In the 1960s the old concept of haute couture was proving to be no longer valid, and younger, more resilient firms such as Dior, Venet, Courreges, Ungaro, and finally Givenchy; following the lead given by Cardin, were opening ready-to-wear shops and boutiques in many Western capitals and in leading provincial towns.
After a short-lived interest in curls and moplike hair styles in the early part of the year, smoother, smaller heads were proposed by leading Paris stylists for the fall. Alexandre's "apple head"—round and smoothly shining as its name suggests—was accepted as the significant trend by hairdressers in New York, London, and Rome. The general vogue in the fall for helmets, hoods, and snoods was no doubt the cause of this volte-face and the success of the "small, con-Mined" style of hair dressing.
"The stretchiest stockings and panti-hose yet, resulting from a new concept of hosiery manufacture," were announced by the British firm Pretty Polly. These articles were marketed in one standard size and were guaranteed to fit all normal dimensions. Bear Brand, one of Britain's largest hosiery firms, explained its #207,000 group loss in 1967 by the massive swing in consumer preference to stretch stockings, tights, and the popular new "self-support" hose, and a subsequent worldwide shortage of stretch yarn.
Boots continued to be extremely popular, especially with younger women. The latest style to be reported from New York was a two-tone, two-material model either knee or hip high. Shoes, however, appeared to be returning to general favour. Influenced by Italy's lead in styling, the most fashionable shape in Paris, London, and New York was cut well-up on the foot, had a chunky heel that was higher than in the preceding year, and was "piled high with decoration." Toes were still broad but squares were rounded off. Heels continued to climb as the hour grew later.
Meanwhile, the world of men's fashions continued to make news—the more so, perhaps, because of its long quiescence. Even among the more conservative, combinations of colours and patterns that would have been unthinkable a few years earlier were becoming commonplace, and such styles as the turtleneck and pendant were accepted, at least for casual wear. The high-collared Nehru jacket—which even at the height of its popularity had been confined largely to the young and flamboyant—appeared to be losing favour. Symptomatically, one large U.S. formal-wear establishment offered to exchange Nehru suits that it had sold for more conventional evening wear. On the other hand, the closely fitted Edwardian look was apparent, in varying degrees, in both "high-style" clothes and in the pervasive business suit
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