Few books show the monumental social change that happened throughout the Sixties in a more appealing visual style than Lifestyle Illustrations of the 1960s (Rian Hughes & David Roach, Carlton Books, currently £24.50 on Amazon).

With 563 pages packed with illustrations originally published in the UK’s best-selling magazines throughout the Sixties – like Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Journal – the book provides a fascinating insight into the extraordinary artistic talents of some now-forgotten illustrators while revealing the era’s significant social changes, particularly in women’s roles, from the shy, dependent homemakers of the early Sixties to the more empowered dollybirds of the later decade.

If you’re wholly unfamiliar with the leading British illustrators of the decade, think Coby Whitmore, Andy Virgil or Lynn Buckham, this book makes a wonderful introduction to their work and the key visual styles of the decade. But fashion aficionados will be equally enthralled by the vast array of styles, hair and make-up documented throughout the book.

With little text to go by, a short introduction on the illustrators aside, Lifestyle Illustrations of the 1960s is very much a coffee table book  – gorgeous to look at, a wonderful visual feast – but a little more historical context would have helped to tell the story of how women’s narrative moved on from the romantic, passive male object to the mini-skirted flaneurs of the King’s Road.

 

1962

 

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