The 1970s was a decade which rocked the fashion world.
Ushered in on the coat-tails of the ’60s hippie sartorial statement,
the ’70s evolved into an era of fashion flamboyance:
a melting and melding of influences from every global corner.
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’70s design interpretation of an Afghan coat
Called a posteen, it is the
traditional overcoat of Afghani tribes
It was an era of fervent political activism dominated by
increased anti-Vietnam War protests, anti-apartheid rallies
and the second wave in the surge of feminist advocacy.
Cries for global peace and people equality
were the earnest pleas of the ’70s generation.
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It was the decade of dance floor decadence,
exaggerated at celebrity hotspot Studio 54 (NYC)
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It was a span of pure fashion fun
which spoke to the passions of a generation.
It was That ’70s Fashion Show.
A few people, garments, bits and things that made
the credit list of That ’70s Fashion Show:
During the high-stepping ’70s, trouser fashion had a definite leg up.
It is arguably the first decade during which women
uninhibitedly donned trousers for any occasion- liberating!
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White trouser suit
worn by Bianca Jagger at Heathrow Airport, 1972
Later in the decade, actor John Travolta donned a white suit
to make cinema history with a big scene on the big screen-
disco-dancing in the movie Saturday Night Fever.
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White trouser suiting
‘Staying Alive’ on the disco dance floor
actor, John Travolta in the movie Saturday Night Fever, 1977
The jumpsuit was the trouser fashion one-piece wonder.
Worn by ladies and gents, it was the ultimate in unisex wear.
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worn by American model, Jerry Hall
Hot pants, which bared bottoms,
also had their moment in the spotlight.
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Hot pants sizzles on a pedestal
However, it was the flared (wide-leg) trousers
which became synonymous with ’70s fashion.
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Hot pants ensemble (l)
Embroidered flares (r)
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Cropped tops and flared trousers
Jeans were worn tight, tighter, and tighter still.
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Trouser fashion combined with the free-spirited vibe of the era,
lent itself to unisex design and styling.
Mini, Midi, Maxi – More
Skirt hem lengths were a barometer of ’70s attitude:
up, down and everything in between.
Introduced in the late 1960s,
purportedly by British designer Mary Quant-
the ’70s saw the mini hem inch its way further up the knee.
Mini lengths accessorised with over the knee leather boots
The calf-length midi and floor-sweeping maxi
were also en vogue skirt length options.
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Graphic maxi and fashion pals (from l to r)
trouser suiting, mini skirt, maxi, and mini dress
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Maxi- length with fringe hem
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And of course, hem-length to knee!
There was no skirting the issue:
the ’70s was a decade of fashion variety-
imbued with a little bit of everything.
For the ladies, tops ran the gamut from the flowy peasant blouse-
inherited from the ’60s hippie fashion scene,
to the stretchy tight tube top trend.
Whatever suited ones fancy.
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Cropped, striped halter top, matching flared trousers
and platform shoes (1971)
by designer Mary Quant
Men, shunned solid colours, and embraced patterned shirt designs with
every conceivable geometric shape and imaginable psychedelic swirl.
Whatever the garment, prints and patterns were central motifs .
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There were several innovative designers whose clothing
seem to capture the prevailing social sentiments:
inclusivity, global awareness and global peace.
Fashion label, political tag
by Diane Von Furstenberg
Designed by Diane Von Furstenberg in 1972
the wrap dress seemed to fashion represent qualities expressed
by the then women’s movement:
unambiguous in intent, universal in appeal.
The DVF wrap dress became an iconic garment:
cut to compliment any size, any shape-
an “I’m Every Woman’ piece.
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Following a moral compass
by agnès b
French designer, agnès b (née Agnès Andrée Marguerite Troublé)
launched her clothing label in 1973.
Ever the idealist, she vowed
never to advertise-
considering it “immoral” to do so;
never to manufacture her clothing outside of France-
in effort to avoid participation in exploiting foreign labourers.
She promoted an idea of “democratic fashion”,
an accessibility of style choices.
Her design philosophy mirrored social sentiments of the time.
(from agnès b.com):
Signature piece from agnès b
simple, striped, fashion-accessible cotton t-short
World Wide Fashion
No one fused various ethnic elements into clothing constructs
better than Japanese designer, Kenzo Takada.
His collections on the Paris runway,
were an eclectic, cosmopolitan style.
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Of global perspective
by designer Bill Gibb
and knitwear master Kaffe Fassett
Scottish designer Bill Gibb and American textile artist Kaffe Fassett
collaborated to create clothing, which embodied key ’70s leitmotif:
colourful, romantic, exotic.
To the design equation,
Gibb factored in the element of romance, fantasy
and Fassett ignited the colour explosion.
by designer Bill Gibb
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Of romantic fairy-tales
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Leather and sequins
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by Bill Gibb and Kaffe Fassett
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Double breast knit maxi coat, a/w ’75 – ’76
by Bill Gibb and Kaffe Fassett
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Full length jumper
by Kaffe Fassett
At the bottom: it’s a shoe in
The accessory of the decade was a pair of platform shoes.
In the early 1970s platform shoes started with a quite slim sole.
As the decade progressed, this moved from ¼ inch up to about 4 inches-
an elevated status.
Worn with a pair of flared trousers, this look became
the iconic fashion image of the decade.
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Flares and platforms
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Flared leg jumpsuit and platform shoes
On top: floppy hats
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Made of felt wool, with or without a band
the floppy hat was s ’70s hat wear of choice
The ’70s fashion was invitation to a Mad Hatter’s Tea:
exciting, emotive, outrageous, surreal.
It was a time of a fashion revolution,
polyester ruled fabrication and bright colours held court.
There were ups and downs in hemlines;
a range of light-fit and loose-fit attire-
all elevated on platform shoes.
It was a monster mishmash of ideas.
It was fashion fun and then some.