By 1965, London had become the fashion capital of the world as far as young people were concerned. At its centre were three streets – The Kings Road in Chelsea (put on the map by Mary Quant), Kensington Church Street (where designer Barbara Hulanicki ran a boutique called Biba), and Carnaby Street, which not so long before had been a run-down back alley behind Regent Street.
Carnaby Street became a Mecca for bright young things and clothes fanatics of both sexes. It owed its success to John Stephen, a Glaswegian who decided that men’s clothes should be as much fun as women’s.
His first boutique selling pink hipsters paved the way for dozens more, making the street a major drawcard for British youth and overseas tourists who came to stare at the parade of long-haired young men – many in the latest Eastern style kaftans and beads – and their mini-skirted girlfriends.
The girls either wore their hair long as well (but always straight) or cropped into the angular cuts made popular by hairstylist Vidal Sassoon.