Listen up, people – get your dancing shoes on and stomp your way into the decade that style almost forgot. The fabulous, sexy, gregariously, garishly abandoned 1970s. And it’s back, rehashed for your sartorial delectation.
The sensibility of the era connects to us emotionally through its music, with hundreds of hits from Marvin Gaye back then to today’s dubious duo, Pharrell and Robin Thicke. Similarly, 1970s fashion shows no signs of fading, allowing itself to be recycled time and time again to dizzying heights, as seen this season.
Do not get left behind. For some, it may not have been an era of great style, but I beg to differ. This decade gave us stupendous fashion, and future fashion stars Sonia Rykiel, Diane Von Furstenberg et al, and the utterly fantastic, almost-Jurassic platform shoe. This is the only type of shoe that is hideous yet beautiful, all in one breath.
The fashion cognoscenti has gone wild for platforms and from Gucci to Topshop, you can find a pair that will put you in the picture and raise your fashion credibility. They are sturdy, comfortable and have character! Star prints are in too, and Kurt Geiger are practically giving away their Heidi platforms in black suede, embellished with gold stars for a paltry sum of Rp.800,000. Own them.
Channel the Glam Rock scene and make the great Ziggy Star Dust, Marc Bolan, Donna Summer and Chic your reference points. Draw a line at Elton John in his heyday, but do find the tallest wedge you can and make your flares drape over them. They will add height to your frame, so you can glide and stomp your way through spring/summer. Leave your stilettos and any skinny heels out to shoe pasture and splurge on a platform or two, preferably a boot and a sandal.
It is imperative that you bag yourself a pair of flares; they will flatter all your beautiful imperfections and make you look fantastic.
As you pull them on and they hug you hip-to-thigh and begin to kick out at the knee, you will feel a kind of cool, badass attitude wash over you.
Superflares are super-duper cool, so surf Free People online and get yours. Alternatively, get a tailor to make you pair in pinstripe, add a floral or batik shirt, throwing in a print platform to complete the look. Check out Sophia Webster for inspiration. Buy and embellish at home, making yours the original platform. Find yourself a halter-neck and wear with armlets, throw around you a tasselled bag and tousle that hair as you stomp. Team your platform with a kaftan, huge backcombed hair – get an afro if you have to – and kohl eyes or garish eyeshadow in hues of the rainbow, not caring what the people may say!
Dungarees are another ‘70s trend you simply cannot ignore. There are different styles to suit all. Clip up one side or nonchalantly drop the bib, having the straps fall about your hips, pretending you forgot to pull them up! Add a crisp white shirt, open to display the top of a lacy bra. Tie a scarf around your wrist and let it flow, and if you can afford to, tuck your ‘rees into a pair of Gucci snakeskin platform boots. Check out Orchid Jeans whose overalls are rock chic, with rips in all the right places. A chiffon bell-sleeved blouse would work well too, so try your usual suspects like H&M, Zara or Topshop, or get the real thing from Chloe’s spring/summer collection.
Find yourself some zany, psychedelic prints. Let Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell guide you in how to do ‘70s chic. A suede waistcoat would look fetching alongside a maxi skirt with mind-blowing prints; bring it up-to-date and ask your tailor to put in a slit to show off those behemoth platforms.
You can rest assured that your platforms will take you into the next season. Wear some fabulous socks with yours. This is the only time the doyennes of fashion agree this is no faux pas, and that us mere mortals must follow suit. Sparkly gold or silver socks would perk up your crochet/knitted number. When the heavens start to pour, or the wind blows a chill, introduce your chunkiest shoe to colourful tights; add a leather mini-skirt with a roll-neck or shirt with a cravat.
Platforms, check; flares, check; dungarees check; and yes, get another pair of platforms!
On a recent trip to the UK, I found a vintage, denim, flared catsuit. I will be rocking it with my Heidis from Kurt Geiger (Kate Moss has a pair too!) I will not care that it is not a modern lightweight denim with long sleeves and will act as a sweatbox, since all that matters is that I will look like a ‘70s babe and enjoy being a fabulous fashion victim!
The ‘70s was in retrospect a cool, decadent, carefree decade. The people who lived it remember it with great fondness, and those who did not wish they had and live it vicariously through the era’s stories and films. This is why fashion likes to pay a visit to the past now and again.