From Disco Divas To bohemian Style: Fashion History 1970- 1980.

The 1970s was a period of recession and social unrest in Britain, and the fashion landscape was characterised by coexistence of various styles. From disco divas to punk rebels fashion in the seventies embraced freedom, choice, and a fusion of influences.

The disco phenomenon of the 1970s had a significant influence on fashion. Women embraced form-fitting silhouettes that accentuated their curves, with high-waisted skirts and dresses featuring plunging necklines and thigh-high slits. Shimmering dresses, wrap tops, and metallic fabrics entered the spotlight. Platform shoes with their chunky heels added height and were often paired with flared trousers or bell-bottoms creating an exaggerated wide-legged silhouette. Although the 60s mini skirt continued to be popular at the beginning of the decade, it was the trouser counterpart, know as ‘Hot pants’ that gained brief but significant popularity.

Glam rock, known for iconic musicians like David Bowie and Marc Bolan, enabled experimention with bold and theatrical outfits. Glitter became a fashion statement, with disco-inspired jumpsuits, sequinned tops, and sparkling accessories taking centre stage.

While the glam rock movement brought an air of excess and flamboyance, the emergence of punk rock represented a rebellious and subversive counter-culture. Punk fashion rejected the established norms and opted for a more aggressive and edgy aesthetic. Leather jackets, ripped jeans held together with safety pins, and tartan suits adorned with bondage straps became punk fashion staples. Women embraced heavy makeup, tight black leather trousers, and dominatrix heels, expressing their defiance and individuality. Provocative T-shirts with explicit or controversial imagery added to the punk aesthetic.

The seventies marked a shift towards eco-politics and a desire to engage with planet Earth, fashion embraced a revival of craft techniques and a return to natural fabrics. Rejecting the perceived wastefulness of the 1960s, women sought alternatives to mass-produced fashion. Patchwork, appliqué, hand-knitted, and crochet garments became popular, reflecting a desire for individuality and a connection to craftsmanship. 

Maxi dresses, with their floor-grazing length and flowing designs, became a staple in every woman's wardrobe. Shaggy Afghans were draped over hot pants, kaftans, and long floral frocks paired with floppy hats, oversized sunglasses, and layered accessories, created boho-chic look.

Amidst the riotous fashion scene, there were timeless classics by designers like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein that appealed to women seeking timeless elegance. Tailored trousers and trouser suits became symbols of empowerment as women demanded equal rights in the workplace.

The 1970s witnessed a notable shift towards inclusivity with black models being introduced in beauty imagery. Unisex clothing, such as T-shirts and flared legged jeans, becoming the unofficial causal uniform for both men and women.

Hairstyles in the 1970s underwent a notable transformation. Initially, women embraced long and straight hair, often parted in the middle or on the side. However, with the introduction of  waving and perming techniques demi-curled hairstyles gained popularity, epitomised by Farrah Fawcett's iconic look in the television show "Charlie's Angels" in 1976. Big, voluminous hairstyles created through waving, crimping and perming techniques became synonymous with the disco era. 

Alongside wide-brimmed hats, in the early 70s berets and cloches also made a comeback. Russian-style fur hats gained popularity as a stylish way to keep warm while making a fashion statement. These hats featured a distinctive round shape and were typically crafted from plush fur materials like fox or rabbit. As the later part of the 1970s unfolded cozy unstructured soft knitted hats became popular. Scarves also played a versatile role in women's headwear and were typically wrapped around the head in a turban style or draped around the neck.

©Isabella Josie 2021 All Rights Reserved.