Although the want for peace and love that was so prominent in the Sixties didn’t go away in the following decade, it took on a slightly different guise; one that was far more glittery than flowery. Cinema-goers became acquainted with Jedis and “The Force” for the very first time, while music-lovers experienced "Night Fever" under disco lights. Prints were the go-to in fashion, as well as platform shoes and bell-bottomed trousers. The 1970s is without a doubt a decade that will never be forgotten.
After last week’s psychedelic trip through the Swinging Sixties, it’s time to take a closer look at the decade of sparkly mirror balls and flared trousers. We are of course referring to the 1970s.
Some of the most notable films of the 1970s truly reflect what was going on from a music and fashion perspective during the period. We’re of course referring to the legendary movies, Saturday Night Fever and Grease, which still have people singing along at Karaoke and Wedding Receptions on a nightly basis worldwide. Other iconic films from the decade are Jaws, The Exorcist, The Godfather and last but in no ways least; Star Wars. George Lucas’ first in the sci-fi series was the highest-grossing film of the decade and was truly revolutionary for its time.
Music, literature and the arts
In the first part of the 1970s, several diverse forms of popular and rock musical styles emerged, such as jazz rock, southern rock, folk rock and soft rock (think The Carpenters and Carole King). Funk and psychedelic rock were both also extremely popular during the decade. By the mid-Seventies however, disco music had risen to prominence and dominated the last half of the decade with bands and artists such as ABBA, the Bee Gees and Donna Summer. Almost in direct rejection to this, musical styles such as Punk Rock and Glam Rock became extremely popular throughout the 1970s, with rebellious bands and artists such as The Sex Pistols and David Bowie leading the way.
In literature, the horror genre really came into its own in the Seventies and by the latter part of the decade Stephen King had become one of the most popular genre novelists. Meanwhile in art, the 1970s focused on environmental or minimalist ideas on a large scale, with several art forms emerging in popularity such as Earth art, land art and modern graffiti art. Graffiti also became firmly associated with the punk rock movement throughout the Seventies.
Many of the style characteristics from the 1960s, such as mini skirts and bell-bottoms, continued to be in vogue throughout the Seventies. However, the androgynous hippie look from the late 60s soon evolved in the following decade, making way for brand new popular pieces. These included platform shoes and wide-legged flares, which were worn by both women and men. This look was truly eternalised in the 1977 film, Saturday Night Fever, which saw John Travolta sporting the "disco look". By the late Seventies, disco style was replaced with punk fashion, including straight, cigarette-legged jeans.
In addition to the mini skirt, midis and maxis also became popular during the 1970s. Jeans continued to be frayed, while Tie-dye shirts and Mexican pleasant blouses also remained popular. Hot pants were another craze for woman during the Seventies, as well as trousers that were flared at the bottom and tight and revealing from the lower thighs up. Glam rock stars such as David Bowie and Roxy Music influenced fashion for both men and women (think glitter, glitter and more glitter), and punk rock brought out the rebellious side in many with tight drainpipe jeans, heavy black eye make-up and safety pins through all garments.
Throughout the 1970s men often wore lamé suits, satin quilted jackets, wide-legged denims and silver astronaut-style outfits. Hairstyles ranged from long and softly layered to spiky, multi-coloured mullets. The Seventies also saw a return to three-piece suits which were worn with open wide-collar shirts without ties; a classic disco ensemble. Meanwhile, punk rockers took a Do It Yourself stance on fashion, opting for black PVC or tartan bondage trousers, leopard-print T-shirts and dyed spiky hair or Mohicans.