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Seventies sparkle

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Vintage & Sustainable Fashion

Author: Lynda Rowland, Posted: Wednesday, 22nd March 2023, 15:30

The 1970s was an era of contrasts. The hippy lifestyle was lingering from the latter part of the previous decade, whilst the glam-rock genre and the emergence of the anarchic punk movement were providing more strident alternatives to the whimsical images and sounds of the late sixties.

Musically, the atmosphere was pretty diverse with the creativity and innovation of David Bowie, Kate Bush and various progressive rock bands vying for chart places, with cheesy, middle-of-the-road groups like Brotherhood of Man and The New Seekers.

Glam rockers and teen idols like The Sweet and David Cassidy rubbed shoulders with easy listening perennials like the late great Burt Bacharach and velvet-voiced Karen Carpenter. Disco, which began knocking on fashion’s door in the latter part of the 70s, generated yet another clothing explosion, with lycra and neon shades reflecting the upbeat mood of the dancefloor.

Of course, this eclectic musical mixture inevitably sprinkled its stardust all over the fashion industry, influencing designers such as Halston, Bill Gibb, Barbara Hulanicki at Biba, Fiorucci, Ossie Clark, Pucci, Yves San Laurent and the emerging Priestess of Punk, Vivienne Westwood.

Dame Vivienne’s style has been going strong ever since those heady early punk days and is enjoying an even greater resurgence now in the wake of her recent death. However, this season’s new collections, as shown at last month’s fashion weeks around the globe, are re-introducing us to lots more looks from the decade that some people still consider ‘style forgot’.

With our urgent concerns about the need to reduce the use of plastics, the disco look with its lycra, sequins and lurex fibres, is probably one best left to ardent vintage shoppers. Charity shops, rummage sales and your mum’s – or granny’s – old wardrobe are the best places to try to source garments from the golden age of glitter. Shopping from brands which specialise in garments made from more chemically-derived fabrics and man-made fibres will obviously have a very detrimental environmental impact.

Fortunately, the trends which are coming through most on the catwalks are more easy to wear styles, with the biggest impact being made in trouser shapes, skirt lengths, floaty fabrics and a resurgence of the trouser suit. These were often worn to dazzling effect by Bianca Jagger when she was muse to Mick.

A block colour trouser suit, or even a striking white or cream one as famously worn by Bianca for her wedding in 1972, is a great way to look pulled together, and is one of the big trends for the coming spring/summer season. If you can’t quite carry it off with nothing underneath as Bianca did, why not try a seventies style skinny rib sweater or wide collared shirt, buttoned daringly low.

By now, many women have ditched the ubiquitous skinny jeans for a pair of wider leg or boyfriend cut denims. To be even more fashion-forward, a pair of ultra-wide flares or bell-bottoms – tight on the leg with a kick flare from the knee down – are the latest look. Pair these with a peasant blouse with a gathered neckline and voluminous sleeves and perhaps a pair of espadrilles or clogs, as these popular forms of seventies footwear are also making a comeback, along with other styles of platform shoes and boots.

Skirts and dresses with a seventies vibe can be mini, midi or maxi, so there is something to suit everyone and, should the summer be ultra warm and you feel you’ve got the legs to carry them off, why not incorporate a pair of denim hotpants into your new wardrobe?

All these looks should make for a versatile mix-and-match style base to take you from pop festival to disco, while channelling your inner seventies chick through the hopefully lazy, hazy days ahead.  

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