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Nancy Hall-Duncan

BOUTIQUE Synonymous with the youth movement and counterculture fashions of the "Swinging Sixties," the boutique radically changed ways of making, marketing, displaying, and buying clothing. Names and places such as Mary Quant, Biba, Paraphernalia, the King's Road, and Carnaby Street evoke the spirit of freedom, individuality, and rebellion that characterized the social upheaval of that decade, and defined a style of dressing. As a retailing concept, the boutique is associated with a distinct identity that reflects the taste of the designer or owner; small-scale production with rapid turnover of merchandise; fashion novelty and experimentation; innovative displays and interiors; and an informality among owner, salespeople, and clientele. Although the boutique phenomenon of the 1960s played itself out by the mid-1970s, boutiques remain a vital part of the commercial world of fashion— whether as an individual enterprise or incorporated into a larger setting, such as a department store.

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