The 1960s was the decade when hip boutiques for young people offered colourful clothing items and accessories in lieu of the more conservative fashions that were popular in the '50s. Free love, rock music and psychedelic drugs took fashion to a whole new creative level during this decade. A broad range of innovative leather handbags emerged during the '60s; they suggested change and the promise of freedom from conformity.
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The 1960s were a flamboyant age, and Emilio Pucci rose to the challenge of designing leather handbags to accentuate the times. His signature wild and colourful geometric patterns adorned the luxurious silk and leather handbags that made him one of the biggest names in fashion. The most famous Pucci leather handbag design from the '60s is the sleek, print clutch. This bag did away with bulky straps, allowing women to "clutch" their purses underneath one arm.
Coach sprang to the forefront of the fashion world in the '60s by introducing leather handbags manufactured from thick, authentic cowhide. Before Coach, most designers manufactured leather overlay bags that had a cardboard base. Coach leather handbags soon became synonymous with luxury, and high-end retailers quickly propelled the brand name to the icon status that it enjoys today.
A public fascination with space age fashion was a hallmark of the late sixties. Pierre Cardin upped the orbital ante with futuristic, geometrically-shaped leather handbags and bucket bags with oversized metal buckles and embellishments. During this era, Cardin was quoted as saying that he would like to have the first boutique on the moon. Far out.
Biba leather handbags personified the London Invasion of the early 1960s. Her mod designs and outlandish black and gold lacquered branding embellishment made her all the rage among London and American fashionistas alike. Biba's most swinging sixties bags include the slouch and the embossed leather doctor bag.
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