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Fashion in the 1970s

Fashion in the 1970s

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Fashion in the 1970s

5/5 (1 valutazione)
118 pagine
50 minuti
Oct 18, 2018


The 1970s was a decade of style contrasts: every extreme of fashion was met by an equally trendy opposite reaction. Ankle-length maxi skirts vied for attention with super-short hot-pants. Outfits in vibrant prints and obviously man-made fabrics contrasted with subtly-coloured ensembles in wool jerseys and silky crepes. Delicate floral cottons, hand-knits and hand-tooled leather came up against boldly synthetic and plastic looks perched atop platform shoes – for men and women alike. More so than at any other time, fashion looked backwards in order to dress the future with quirkily ironic retro looks, while alternative street-style movements such as Punk used appearance to startle and challenge the establishment. In this book, Daniel Milford-Cottam uses colourful photographs to illustrate an eye-opening introduction to the bold fashions that still have such resonance today.
Oct 18, 2018

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  • The seventies was the decade of the textile. Although regularly summed up as the Polyester Decade, there was also a strong emphasis on handcrafted and artisanal fabrics.

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Anteprima del libro

Fashion in the 1970s - Daniel Milford-Cottam

For H.M.B., good friend, soulmate, and support, who is totally worth it and so much more.


The sixties were over. As the Seventies dawned, there also came with it a slow realisation that things were changing. For Britain, the Sixties had been an affluent, exuberant decade driven by a population boom generation of post-war babies reaching independent young adulthood. Seventies Britain, although often remembered for its politics, crises, industrial strikes, power cuts and reports of economic doom and gloom, retained much of the resilience that had pushed the Sixties forward. For all the talk of economic woes, many of the populace seemed to be finding ways of affording life’s pleasures, be it a new colour television, Star Wars toys for the children, or simply throwing a party. The newly affluent up-and-coming hostess, a type immortalised by Alison Steadman in the 1977 film Abigail’s Party, had a shiny new trolley to keep dinner hot for her guests and a brand-new long gown in which to play the part. While serving crisps and Beaujolais, she might regale her guests with tales of her recent holiday abroad. In 1971, British holidaymakers took about four million foreign breaks, a number considered rather high but which had more than doubled two years later, and trebled by the end of the decade. Affordable package holidays made a fortnight in sunny Spain a realistic alternative for those formerly limited to the British seaside or a Butlin’s holiday camp.

The underlying optimism and resilience was also particularly apparent through music and popular culture, which for many people became a viewing lens through which to observe and remember the decade. Every vividly remembered aspect of Seventies fashion seemed to have filtered directly through popular culture, be it platform-soled footwear fit for singer-performer Elton John, frilled shirts and tailored velvet jackets like those regularly donned by Jon Pertwee in the BBC television series Doctor Who, or disco attire straight out of the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever.

This advertising photograph shows six couples at an intimate at-home party in a fashionable, luxurious interior. Similar-looking mass-produced clothes could be bought affordably from high street shops and catalogues. Even the wood-veneered walls could be faked with embossed wallpaper.

Holidays abroad became increasingly accessible during the 1970s, even if simply an affordable package holiday in Spain. Magazines promoted the idea of sun, sea and sand in exotic locations. The nylon bikini, printed with faux-denim-patchwork, was homemade in 1974.

Music was indisputably one of the biggest influences on the style of the decade, particularly when fans tried to emulate their idols. While it was often tricky to source menswear that replicated the outrageous, gender-bending Glam rock looks of early 70s David Bowie and Marc Bolan, their glittering androgyny was unforgettable. Other bands offered their fans an easier way of expressing loyalty. At the height of popularity of the Bay City Rollers, schoolchildren ripped the plaid linings out of their classmates’ duffle coats in order to make ersatz scarves bearing the band’s trademark tartan. Young women enraptured by the bohemian style of Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush could capture the look by layering drifting skirts and gauzy scarves over leotards. Even the unmistakable look of Punk was achievable without having to make pilgrimages to London to buy gear from Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s SEX boutique (renamed Seditionaries in 1976) on the King’s Road in London. The Punk band The Sex Pistols, managed by McLaren and named for the shop, were high-profile wearers of SEX clothing, particularly the bondage-strapped trousers and T-shirts printed with strongly sexualised imagery and aggressive language. One particularly confrontational shirt had DESTROY scrawled above a neon-coloured Nazi swastika. While many young Punks naïvely hoped that appropriating such symbols would emasculate their

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