I admit it, I am an avid fan of the world of seventies fashion and costumes. I love the ostentatiousness of this era, and its blatant disregard for subtlety or elegance. Which decade can lay claim to flared trousers, concord collars and ‘big’ curly hair? And which decade gave birth to disco music, and disco fashion? Why the 70’s of course!
It’s my argument that the 1970s gave birth to the modern fashion world! Indeed, you only have to look to the catwalks and the world of Haute Couture to realise that the trend towards theatricality in fashion has its roots in the 70s. Look at designers like Vivienne Westwood, and you’ll see an extreme aesthetic born of the 1970s punk era. And there are countless other designers that also take their inspiration from this period.
But just what is it about the fashions of this era that proves so appealing to people? First of all I would say that it’s the sense of boldness and confidence. Flared trousers are a great example of this. Are they practical or sensible? No. Do they look elegant in the traditional sense? No again. But do they make you smile and make an impact? Yes!
Look at TV programmes such as ‘Starsky and Hutch’ and you will witness a range of clothes that will make your eyes pop. The main characters sport thick jumpers with patterned designs. Strangely enough these kinds of jumpers are fashionable once more! These guys also permed their hair and wore big ‘over the top’ sunglasses. Subtle they were not, but man did they look cool!
Another totally cool character from the world of Starsky and Hutch was the totally brilliant ‘Huggy Bear’. As well as bearing one of the best names of any character in television he also helped to form the ‘pimp’ look. This included one piece ‘leopard skin’ suits, canes, wide brimmed hats and of course the obligatory ‘big’ sunglasses. Hip Hop artists in recent years have helped to bring this look back to the forefront of popular culture and fashion.
Of course one of the most extreme fashions from the 1970s was punk. This was born of the punk rocker music movement, and it embodied the sense of anger and disenfranchisement of the youth of that era, particularly in the UK. Bands like The Sex Pistols helped to rock the very foundations of the political and cultural world and also changed the face of fashion. Tight denim, Mohawks and bovver boots were the order of the day, and this stripped down but rebellious aesthetic helped symbolise the energy and anger of these young men and women. And whilst the punk movement isn’t with us now in the strictest sense, it has helped to influence countless bands of the 90s and beyond, such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the Foo Fighters.
Of course the movement that helped define the 70s the most was Disco. Films such as ‘Saturday Night Fever’ helped to popularise disco music and its fashions. Who can forget the way that John Travolta looked in that white suit and black shirt, and of course, his big hair and gold medallion. Indeed when most people dress in 70s costumes it is this look that they try to emulate most.
I hope this brief journey through the world of the 1970s has helped to convince you just how influential this era was in terms of defining our modern attitude to fashion and style. As far as I’m concerned even now the 1970s rule!