Hold on to your lapels! The 70s sashay back (again) for spring summer 2015 – and beyond…

Fashion, as we know, goes in cycles with the past routinely revisited for inspiration, and this spring/summer, there’s no escaping the fact that designers have descended on our favourite decade – the dizzyingly diverse 1970s.

Many of the key looks from those years – which correspond to several core themes of our book, 70s Style & Design – loomed large on the catwalks: pop cartoon colours, big buttons and huge spoon-shaped collars at Prada and Miu Miu; romantic hippie-meets-Victoriana get-ups in voiles and broderie anglaise at Chloe and Dior; denim and khaki utility kit at Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs; glam rock-inflected, David Bowie-esque ensembles at Saint Laurent; boho deluxe, 70s-hippie-trail dresses at Etro and Pucci – the latter surely inspired by the queen of the floaty gypsy frock Thea Porter, whose work is the subject of a timely exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textiles Museum.

Here’s a compare and contrast of some of 2015’s major trends and their 70s looky likeys…

Boho deluxe

Boho opulence by Thea Porter

Boho opulence by Thea Porter

Zandra Rhodes Ophelia

Zandra Rhodes’s take on doomed romantic heroine Ophelia, photographed by Joe Gaffney


Chloe hits the hippie trail in Afghanistan, 1970


Charlie promotes the dude outdoorsy look

An ad for Charlie’s cosmetics line chimes with the 70s outdoorsy look

Oliviero Toscani joins the army for L'Uomo Vogue

Oliviero Toscani joins the army for L’Uomo Vogue

Hermes mixes denim and khakis with a classic silk scarf - very Gucci S/S 2015

Hermes mixes denim and khakis with a classic silk scarf – very Gucci S/S 2015


patchwork bed

Living the patchwork lifestyle, from 70s style bible Native Funk & Flash

patchwork levis

70s patchwork Levi’s as seen in Peter Beagle’s book American Denim

French Elle cover

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s patchwork blanket coat

Rustic romance


A still from Peter Weir’s 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picture 006

Laura Ashley’s prairie girl chic

crash jeans ad

Happy homesteaders in an ad for Italian jeans label Crash

Trashy glam

The Moodies

Early 70s performance artists the Moodies


Harri Peccinotti pop fashion

A 19 magazine fashion story by Harri Peccinotti, 1971


Swanky Modes show

A late 70s Swanky Modes fashion show featuring singer and actress Eve Ferret, by Niall McInerney

Yes, 70s fashion rules right now, but while it’s being touted in the media as the latest thing, we’re of the opinion that this is just a spike in a trend that’s been hiding in plain sight for years. Think about all those fashion staples we take for granted ­– army surplus, wedge-heels, shaggy fur jackets, satchels, Le Style Anglais heritage looks, knee-length boots, platforms, flares, culottes – even the ubiquitous skinny jeans. And the decade is perennially present in the collections of designers such as APC and Isabel Marant and the rock chick wardrobe of Kate Moss.

What’s more, the decade continues to captivate beyond planet fashion: a re-edited version of the 70s-set 1998 movie 54 showed at this year’s Berlin Film Festival; the super-popular Mad Men TV series is now entering that decade (its trailer soundtracked by Diana Ross’s smooch-tastic Love Hangover); Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter are cooking up a 70s drama produced by Mick Jagger, and Baz Luhrmann is working on a series for Netflix based in 70s New York called The Get Down (which traces the evolution of disco, punk and hip-hop).

Perhaps the latter will reignite interest in the second half of the decade, which was conspicuous by its absence on the spring/summer catwalks – although Isabel Marant did produce a skintight asymmetric disco shift that wouldn’t have looked out of place in 1979. Given the groundbreaking nature of punk and new-wave style alone, it’s curious that more designers haven’t mined this part of the decade – but perhaps it will form the next chapter of fashion’s fascination with the 70s.

Meanwhile the early 70s influence is going nowhere, judging by the autumn/winter collections of Chloe, Gucci, Burberry – even Topman, which nodded to the ultra-pop style of Mr Freedom and those tartan teenyboppers the Bay City Rollers. Here’s hoping the Sex Pistols will play muse next…

Never can say goodbye: the 70s are sticking around for A/W 2015

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