98for98: The century in photographs: today 1969: Everyone's gone to the moon

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
Today, The Independent's photo-history of the 20th-century,in association with the Hulton Getty Picture Collection, brings us to 1969, the end of the Sixties in more than just a chronological sense. A hedonistic, self-confident spirit had defined the decade in which Britain finally left post-war austerity behind, but, by 1969 there were signs that the party was coming to an end.

The outlandish and fantastic fashions (the model pictured is wearing false eyelashes made from fake flowers and real hair) engendered by the last few years of psychedelia were beginning to give way to the richly textured fabrics and more sombre colours typified by Biba, the trendy London fashion outlet. Within five years, Biba had grown from a small boutique to a Kensington department store. The hemline also reflected changing times. In recent years, the mini-skirt had reigned supreme, growing ever shorter as the decade progressed. 1969, however, marked the advent of the maxi-skirt, an ankle-length reaction to the mini.

The year took its toll on the 1960s' beautiful people in yet more tragic ways. Just three days before their free pop concert in Hyde Park, the Rolling Stones suffered the loss of Brian Jones, who drowned in his swimming pool. A month later, Roman Polanski's actress wife, Sharon Tate was found murdered along with four others in the couple's Beverly Hills mansion. Tate had been eight months pregnant at the time of her death. By December, police had charged the leader of a commune, Charles Manson, and a number of his followers with the brutal killings. After the year's mammoth rock concerts in Woodstock, NY, and on the Isle of Wight, it was commented that hundreds of thousands seemed to have gathered more in a valedictory, rather than purely celebratory, spirit

July heralded what was undoubtedly the biggest event of the 1960s: the day man set foot on the moon. Just before four o' clock in the morning, British Summer Time, a television audience of hundreds of millions watched as Neil Armstrong descended the ladder of Apollo 11's lunar module. The Eagle had landed after a four-day trip and was scheduled to make the return leg within 24 hours. "The surface is like a fine powder," Armstrong reported while taking rock samples. "It has a soft beauty all of its own, like some desert of the United States."

Comments