Mode 68

Mini, sexy, provokant

(Fashion 68 – Mini, sexy, provoking)

Please note: As of 04.06.22 masks are no longer mandatory in indoor areas. We still recommend wearing an appropriate mask indoors.

Two dolls: one with colourful shirt with circles and checks, and one with orange shirt and denim dress.

At the end of the 1960s, the Federal Republic of Germany experienced the greatest social, cultural and political upheavals since its foundation. The change took place in all areas of life - especially visible in clothing - and it did not come suddenly, but had been in the making for years. 1968, the year in which the student unrest came to a head, was in many ways the culmination of this development and became a symbol for these changes.

Patterned 1960s clothing: red cape, blue bikini and yellow dress.

All things different!

No decade before offered so many differentiated opportunities for consumption, personal development and individualisation, but also for political participation. Social norms were loosened; an individual, free way of life and a new attitude to life suddenly seemed possible. Not everyone was enthusiastic about the change in society's values. There was tension between conservative, more insistent forces and those who promoted the modernisation of society. What some appreciated, felt as a threat to others. This was also reflected in clothing.

Detail of a newspaper with the headline "Vietnam Info" from the 1960s. It's rolled up and tucked in the jacket pocket of a khaki parka.

Away with tie and collar

Fashion could hardly have been more contrary: Instead of ladylike elegance and haute couture, miniskirts and maxi dresses, hot pants and bell-bottoms, space look and hippie outfit, asymmetrical short haircuts and wild manes were all the rage. And not to forget: Parka and jeans. Lady-like chic was just as out as ties and collars. What had happened? The new influence of teenagers and students was also noticeable in the field of fashion. This new young generation with purchasing power could and would no longer identify with their parents' clothing and fashion.

Head of a mannequin with sunglasses and colourful bandana.

New role models

Youthfulness became the new model - an ideal we still know today. Fashion role models were now sought on the street, in the youth cultures of the post-war baby boomers and the emerging Anglo-American pop culture. The new 'it girls' were models like Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton with childish, girlish looks. The hip pop stars also influenced fashion like never before - above all the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. Fashion was also inspired by modern art, pop art and op art. Since the 'Summer of Love 1967', the fashion of the hippies was added. They brought back colourful patterned garments and jewellery from their travels to distant countries in search of spirituality and adventure, especially India and Latin America, which they creatively mixed with other styles. In solidarity with oppressed indigenous people, they wore Indian or South American indigenous clothing.

Against the establishment

Clothing was now often meant as a political statement. The Che Guevara star on the beret indicated affiliation with the left. Hippie robes were influenced by the peace movement. Miniskirts, hot pants and bikinis were seen as a statement of sexual liberation - although liberation should not be confused with emancipation. And the political and student scene of 1968? Rudi Dutschke? What role did fashion play for them? Most of them didn't seem to care about clothes at first. In suits and shirts, they held their speeches in the lecture halls, discussed and went to the demonstrations. Only gradually did they adopt the new clothes of the youth cultures, swapping suit trousers for jeans, the shirt for the turtleneck. Only 'Kommune 1' staged the protest quite deliberately with provocative outfits.

Gender roles

The new clothes were a thorn in the side of many. Too sloppy, too untidy, too political, too permissive, too liberal. Young people were called bums; many families fell out over the issue of long hair. When boys with long hair supposedly looked like girls, they seemed to threaten the ascribed gender order and thus society. Some girls, however, found these boys attractive and suspected a new type of man behind the new façade: affectionate, considerate, not macho. In the course of the student unrest, they realised that they were wrong. The men who were fighting for a better world were doing their thing alone, leaving the women to make coffee and look after the children. No wonder that resistance arose and the women's movement was formed in 1968. And with it, in turn, a new style of dress emerged that was clearly different from the childish, girlish and sexy style of the 60s.

The exhibition

More than 150 original items of clothing and accessories from the museum's own extensive textile collection await visitors to the exhibition "Mode 68 - Mini, sexy, provocative", which covers an area of around 500 square metres. They are supplemented by exclusive loans from fashion collectors and contemporary witnesses. Together with extensive picture and film material from the time, they bring the eventful 1960s between the protest movement, Swinging London and Flower Power back to life.

A catalogue is available for the exhibition at a price of 10 €.

Exhibition teaser “Mode 68 – Mini, Sexy, Provokant” (Fashion 68 – Mini, sexy, provoking)

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Tickets for the exhibition can be obtained at the site or in advance from our Webshop.

Please arrive 10 minutes before the tour begins. Otherwise, the purchased tickets will expire or be passed on to other people.

10.4.2022 - 23.10.2022

Opening times:
Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Closed on mondays

Entrance fee:
5.50 €, reduced 4.50 €, combined ticket with permanent exhibition 6.50 €

Children and young people up to 18 years of age have free admission to the LVR Industrial Museum.

Visitor information:
kulturinfo rheinland
Tel: 02234 9921-555
(Mon–Fri 8–18 hours; Sat, Sun and public holidays 10–15 hours
Fax: 02234 9921–300

Exhibition location:
Kraftwerk Ermen & Engels

Engels-Platz 2
51766 Engelskirchen