Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture

Beautiful People explores how a handful of Chelsea boutiques sparked a fashion revolution in the mid-1960s.

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Dates

1 October 2021 – 13 March 2022

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The Fool designs on the Apple Boutique stairs. Models Anke Ferris, Charlotte Martin & Renate. Copyright Karl Ferris.
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“We were young, rich and beautiful, and the tide – we thought – was turning in our favour. We were going to change everything, of course, but mostly we were going to change the rules.” – Marianne Faithfull.

For the Chelsea boutiques of the mid-1960s, individuality was the order of the day. Changing attitudes towards gender and sexuality, framed by the socio-political climate of the time, inspired new ideas, freedom of expression and opposition to establishment values. Fuelled by this creative exploration, a generation of radical young designers emerged, catering to an elite group of artists, aristocrats and musicians: The Beautiful People.

Presenting over one hundred ensembles across three galleries, Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture explores fabulous and rare examples from these era-defining stores. Designs worn by the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix are displayed in colourful, graphic recreations of eight iconic boutiques: Hung On You, Granny Takes A Trip, Biba, Apple Boutique, Apple Tailoring, Mr Fish, Dandie Fashions and Quorum.

Step into the heady, star-studded world of London’s 1960s counterculture, and enjoy an immersive exploration of one of the most dramatic periods in British design history.

This exhibition is curated by Dennis Nothdruft, head of exhibitions at the Fashion and Textile Museum, in collaboration with Mark and Cleo Butterfield of C20 Vintage. The accompanying display, Beautiful People: Photographs 1966 – 1973 is curated by Terence Pepper and Grace Lee.

Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture is a Fashion and Textile Museum exhibition.

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In place of a permanent display, the Fashion and Textile Museum hosts a diverse programme of temporary exhibitions, displaying a broad range of innovative fashion and textiles from designers and makers around the world.

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Goldwork Sampler for the Coronation Robe of State, 1953. Copyright Royal School of Needlework.

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