Haute Hippy – This Season’s 70s Style.

There is change in the air. Last season’s sleeves suddenly got longer, flares were matched with jumpers of a new length, and we saw shearling boots, pompoms and whimsical florals grace the catwalks. They say fashion goes in cycles, and looking at the spring/summer catwalks this year, it seems safe to say that designers have as good as ditched the mod revival. Now, it’s all about bell bottoms, brown suede and iconic 70s patterns.

Yves St. Laurent have taken the 70s look and added sparkle
Yves St. Laurent have taken the 70s look and added sparkle

Inspired by iconic actresses Ai MacGraw and Jane Birkin,  Frida Giannini has brought the decadence of the era back to life for the Gucci spring/summer collection. Jimmy Hendrix was also paid homage to through military jackets adorned with gold bullion buttons. Although these individual influences are nothing new, crammed into single pieces they feel fresh, subversive and completely off the wall.  She has meshed together every extravagant look of the decade, creating a three dimensional collection of leather, florals and feathers.  Bloggers, fashion editors  and ‘it’ girls alike have also been inspired by the other extreme of 70s style: flared jeans and a plain, simple top, a timeless pairing that is still chic and stylish.

Classic Jane Birkin - plain top and high-waisted jeans
Classic Jane Birkin – plain top and high-waisted jeans

Chloé have also managed to reinvent the look rather than copy it. Their trademark sense of ease and freedom translates well into white lacy dresses, a 70s staple made current by the French fashion house. The light, fluid fabrics are reminiscent of ‘le flou’, which Karl Lagerfeld invented for Chloe in the 70s. But Waight Keller (creative director of Chloe) has captured the spirit of the era differently from her predecessor, the cut outs and lace add a contemporary twist that stops these dresses looking twee. Floaty light dresses are also becoming very popular on the high-street, their simplicity making them incredibly versatile. Dressed up with heels or down with denim, a white cotton dress is a subtle but pretty nod to the era.

Chloé's 70s offering
Chloé’s 70s offering

In some cases there is a lack of originality, but this season has not stolen the trademark looks of designers like Ossie Clark or Diane Von Furstenberg.  70s pop culture and music were the driving forces behind Hedi Silmane’s collection for Yves St Laurent.  Models walked in turbans and platform boots, infused with plenty of glam-rock glitter; the infatuation with disco after the release of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ in 1977 lives on in Silmane’s metallic, sequin-spangled looks. There seems a level of irony about this very literal interpretation of the past, which has deterred lower-end copy-cats.  Disco is certainly a style steal in danger of becoming ‘costumey’ because of its established aesthetic… so instead of recreating the daring YSL look entirely, combine glitz with simple, modern pieces for Saturday nights in 2015.

The ‘Hippy’ look presented by so many designers was perhaps the least creative. Long floral or paisley maxi dresses – reminiscent of evenings in Marrakech – seem rather cliché attempts to imitate 70s style.  From Tommy Hilfiger to Emilio Pucci, ‘floral’ and ‘paisley’ were the buzz words of this seasons long-line dresses. The high-street has responded to this with a myriad of flower child dresses in Moroccan and floral print. Full marks for festival wear, zero for originality.

This past season has been a traditional tribute to the decade, and a decisive move away from the tailored Mod trend. There has been a certain amount of mimicry in the spring/summer collections, but when done well it comes with a good dose of irony. If you want to avoid looking like you’re in fancy dress as Stevie Nicks, steer clear of the floral maxis this year.  Instead, take inspiration from the opulence of the era; have fun mixing prints and layering leather, denim and silky fabrics. Alternatively, as Jane Birkin demonstrated, a loose white shirt and blue denim will always look understatedly chic. There is a real juxtaposition between simplicity and drama this season. Feeling brave? Dress with both in mind.

Further reading:


23 Style moments That Defined The Decade

Elle: Fashion Trends and Collections

Words by Rebecca Fitzjohn

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