'The Seventies Aura' by Stella Lizardi
Somewhere between the swan song of the restless ‘60s and the frenzy of disco, fashion revelled in an extended period of sweet excess. The ‘70s were a time when everything was allowed, with diversity and plurality bringing about a never-ending party. Sophisticated yet innocent, slipping into style’s garden of pleasures to live in the moment, the eternal girl of the ‘70s has been with us ever since.
Responsible for bringing Gucci back in the 1990s with a rock collection inspired by the ‘70s, Tom Ford was once again on point in 2015, when he put Bianca Jagger on his own house’s runway clad in dandy-style velvet suits. Later in the same year, Alessandro Michele – who had taken the creative reins of Gucci – followed in Ford’s footsteps by using materials from the same decade to compose his very own vocabulary of luxury. The secret of the 1970s’ influence can perhaps be summarized in the design philosophy of the most iconic master of the period: Halston. In contrast to the couture outfits of his French contemporaries, the American designer responded to his generation’s demand for simpler, “real” clothes, creating looks that were somehow both discrete and enthralling. Adorning celebrities on the red carpet and in glossy magazine spreads, they highlighted every detail of female anatomy without failing to satisfy the modern requirements of fast living and unrestricted movement.
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Tailoring gave way to more fluid and daring lines, and magazines celebrated dazzling women who seemed both proud and familiar, adorned in furs and gold jewellery, and wrapped in wispy jerseys, silk easy-on-easy-off maxi dresses and sexy bell-bottom suits. Like Bianca, Lauren, Farrah, Jane, Talitha… How is it possible for one decade to have given birth to so many indelible images of style? “In the early ‘70s”, says Beverly Johnson, the first African-American top model to appear on the cover of US Vogue back in 1974, “the revolutionary delirium of ‘60s fashion, experimentation and exaggeration had subsided”. An air of indolent sensuality permeated the years from 1967 to 1974, filtering what was dubbed ‘70s style through an unprecedented mix of bohemian lifestyle and cosmopolitanism. Ossie Clark’s patterns; Yves Saint Laurent’s jumpsuits; Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress; Halston’s silk gowns; they’re all emblematic of that era, and they’ve all been repeatedly reimagined and relaunched ever since by modern designers engaged in an endless mash-up of nostalgia. It’s no wonder that the ‘70s are considered the mother-lode of creativity and style.
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