TREND REPORT

Miniskirts Forever: How One Piece of Clothing Came to Symbolize Women’s Liberation

From Twiggy to Paris Hilton to Bella Hadid, a look back at the trend that has symbolized women’s liberation since the 1960s.


Miniskirts! Aren’t we having fun already?

Since the early 1960s, miniskirts have existed as a symbol of women’s liberation. It is no coincidence that designers like Mary Quant, André Courrèges, and Yves Saint Laurent all began to raise hemlines, (and some eyebrows), during the early days of the feminist movement. In “Swinging London,” models like Twiggy sported mod miniskirts with white tights and go-go boots; in Paris, the look became part of the Space Age trend; and in America, activists like Germaine Greer and Gloria Steinem sported them on the front lines.

In fact, miniskirts became so politicized that when designers like Dior failed to show them on the runway, a group of women who called themselves the “British Society for the Protection of Mini Skirts,” protested outside of the show with signs that read, “Mini skirts forever.”

Women from the British Society for the Protection of Mini Skirts stage a protest outside the House of Dior in 1966, for its 'unfair' treatment of mini skirts.

Larry Ellis/Getty Images

Miniskirts never quite faded from the public consciousness—with icons like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, The Spice Girls, Ally McBeal and Cher Horowitz of Clueless all keeping the trend alive. But they really made a comeback in the early 2000s, when American designers like Tom Ford brought sex back into fashion, and It girls like Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton raised hemlines even further with denim miniskirts, proliferating what we now call the “micro mini.” As Hilton herself told W this year, “Skirts should be the size of a belt. Life’s short; take risks.”

Naomi Campbell on the cover of W Magazine December 1990.

Today, supermodels like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and are all doing their predecessors proud, flaunting miniskirts by designers like Gucci, Miu Miu, and Marc Jacobs on both the red carpet and at after parties. Long story short: In 2017, we’ve finally reached the point where our hemlines are free to be as macro or mini as the please.

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Miranda Kerr arrives at the Louis Vuitton show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2016 on October 7, 2015 in Paris, France.

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Bella Hadid seen leaving The Connaught Hotel on May 12, 2017 in London, England.

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Zendaya attends Glamour’s Game Changers Lunch hosted by Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive & Zendaya at AU FUDGE on April 20, 2016 in West Hollywood, California.

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Kristen Stewart seen out in Manhattan with her new blond buzz cut on March 09, 2017 in New York, NY.

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Selena Gomez attends the Louis Vuitton show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2016/2017 on March 9, 2016 in Paris, France.

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Chloe Sevigny is seen in the West Village on June 27, 2017 in New York City.

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Actress Charlize Theron attends The Huntsman: Winter’s War Photocall In Milan on March 31, 2016 in Milan, Italy.

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Alexa Chung is seen in Soho on July 19, 2016 in New York City.

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Jourdan Dunn attends the Maybelline Bring on the Night party at The Scotch of St James on February 18, 2017 in London, United Kingdom

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Rihanna is seen in Soho on October 18, 2016 in New York City.

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Kendall Jenner and A$AP Rocky seen leaving 1 Oak Night Club after Met Gala 2017 After Party on May 02, 2017 in New York, New York

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Emily Ratajkowski celebrates Intrigue Nightclub’s One-Year Anniversary party hosted by Perrier-Jouet at Wynn Las Vegas on April 28, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Ellie Bamber attends the launch of new magazine TINGS London at Mews of Mayfair on June 29, 2017 in London, England.

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Hailey Baldwin toasts to #REVOLVEintheHamptons with Moet & Chandon on July 4, 2017 in Bridgehampton, New York.

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Amelia Gray Hamlin attends Marc Jacobs Fragrances and Kaia Gerber Celebrate DAISY on May 9, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.

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