What a difference a decade makes: The fashion images that show how British women moved out of the 1950s and into the Swinging Sixties

What a difference a decade makes: The fashion images that show how British women moved out of the 1950s and into the Swinging Sixties

With beehives, elfin crops, laughter and a carefree attitude, this picture perfectly evokes the atmosphere in Swinging Sixties Britain.

Featuring models-of-the-moment including Melanie Hampshire and Celia Hammond, it was an unused cover for Life magazine in 1963.

But rewind just a few years and women were directed to strike a more sombre pose.

Life magazine 1963,Kings Road

Melanie Hampshire, Celia Hammond and other models feature in an unused 1963 cover shot for Life magazine

The stunning set of images, shot by renowned photographer Norman Parkinson, span across two decades and form part of a new exhibition chronicling ten years in fashion from 1954-1964.

Reflecting a pivotal decade in the
emancipation of women – and the fashion that celebrated it – the exhibit also documents the work of the designers who launched the modern fashion industry.

‘An Eye for Fashion’, a
collaboration with Parkinsons's former assistant, Angela Williams, who owns the rights to the images and became a success in her own right after working with Parkinson in the early 1960's, features around 60 original and vintage prints.

Queen Magazine 1960 (c) Norman Parkinson Ltd - courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

A 1960 black and white editorial shot for Queen magazine, shot by Norman Parkinson

They were taken from an important
collection of over 200 images, that comprise the AWA’s (Angela Williams
Foundation) ‘Designers of British Fashion’ portfolio.

The images are a fashion snapshot of life in the late Fifties and early Sixties and includes editorial shots from Vogue, a picture of Parkinson with veteran model Carmen Dell'Orefice, who is now 80.

One picture shows The Rolling Stones with French model Nicole de la Marge.

Advertisement for Daks Vogue 1961

Still in Vogue: An advertisement for Daks in 1961, shows fashion has gone full circle

Complementing the photography is a
selection of 1950s and 1960s ephemera, including high street fashion and
other objects from the museum’s own collections.

During the peak of his career,
from 1945 to 1960, Parkinson was employed as a portrait and fashion
photographer for Vogue.

Ffrom 1960 to 1964 he was an Associate
Contributing Editor of Queen magazine and from 1964 until his death in 1990,
he worked as a freelance photographer.

Vogue 1957 Tania Mallet wearing Susan Small

Lady-like: This image featured in Vogue magazine in 1957 and shows model Tania Mallet wearing Susan Small

Vogue 1954 Rotherhide Docks

Another Vogue shoot from 1954, featuring models in ball gowns at the Rotherhithe Docks

Angela Williams enjoyed a creative collaboration with
Parkinson when she worked as his assistant and has
spent the past decade carefully cataloguing and researching the archive
to preserve Parkinson’s legacy.

She said: 'These prints represent one of the most
creative periods of Parkinson’s career, but most of the images have not
been published or exhibited since they were first taken, so it is very
exciting to be able to bring these works to a new audience.

'Parkinson always claimed he was a working photographer not
an artist, but with the passage of time these photographs have gathered
substantial artistic and historical significance, and the images now
transcend their original purpose.

Queen magazine 1964 Rolling Stones with Nicole de la Marge.jpg

I'm with the band: French model Nicole de la Marge poses with the Rolling Stones

Parkinson with model Carmen Dell' Orefice in the Bahamas in 1959, shooting for Vogue

Fun times: Veteran model Carmen Dell Orefice, now 80, with photographer Norman Parkinson in the Bahamas

'He was the first fashion photographer
to take his models out of the stuffy confines of a studio into the real
world, where he captured their natural beauty with his trademark mix of
realism and wit.

'Parkinson’s innovative yet meticulous approach ensured
there was always a touch of magic in his work; he did not merely
document, but also influenced, the Zeitgeist.'

An Eye for Fashion: an exhibition of British fashion phorpgraphy by Norman Parkinson runs from 21
January – 15th April at the M Shed in Bristol

Jean Shrimpton'Plain Girl'

Snapped up: Actress Jean Shrimpton ‘Plain Girl’ 1963, wearing James wedge

Queen Magazine1962 model wearing Rembrant

A model wearing Rembrant for Queen magazine in 1962