Resources / Centuries and Decades / 1970s


The 70s were the time of postmodernism and eclecticism. Everything was mixed and everything was tried – the main goal was self-expression. Retro-kitsch, disco, glamour rock, and ecological consciousness – anything would go under the motto "The best taste is bad taste!" - the more shocking and ridiculous, the better. However, this decade brought a real revolution into the world of fashion. Freedom of self-expression, boldness on and behind an edge of taste, rigid provocation and childish admiration for the ridiculous and ugly – this was the force freeing the creative powers of the seventieth.

The basic directions in fashion were "naturalness" - a heritage of the hippie, "artificiality" of the disco style and "aggression" of punks in the second half of the decade. Sexual minority groups and numerous subcultures exerted considerable influence on fashion. Platform was the footwear of the decade: men as well as women wore them. Platforms and wedges reached improbable heights (up to 18 cm) and the frightened doctors issued warnings of irreversible problems with backbone when wearing this footwear. In London, platforms were popularized by Barbara Hulanicki - the owner of the "Biba" boutique, and Terry de Havilland called "the king of the platform". Rock-stars like Elton John, David Bowie and Gary Glitter appeared on stage with an incredible make-up, bright suits and high platforms, opening new borders of man's sexuality and asserting aestheticism.

In the second half of the decade the footwear has lost high platform, and a low, more graceful wedge sole, an elegant heel appeared; there were also high heel and flat sole sandals, espadrille, lace up boots and classical pumps. Tight-fitting female boots up to the hips were worn with the ultra-short briefs known as hot-pants, which barely covered the buttocks. They were made of velvet or Lurex. Color was of great importance: boots were decorated with the psychedelic patterns, application and embroidery and contrasting inserts; patchwork was extremely fashionable. The texture of the material was the important characteristic of the footwear: shoes were made from tapestry, denim, suede, flax, canvas and materials with "wet" effect. By the end of the decade quality leather came to the forefront.

To the middle of the 1970s, oil crisis has led to the world economic depression, which somewhat suppressed the rampage of imagination. There was a certain preference to the fashions, which would last more, than one season. Jeans, a shirt and a sweater were pertinent for all occasions. Women wore low heel pumps with a single strap and cowboy's boots in black leather. In the evening pumps with the open back and simple sandals were more preferable. Men wore loafers with buckles or tassels, army boots and biking boots. Fashion was becoming more and more "specialized", answering inquiries of separate social and cultural communities. Closer to 1977 many young people have turned to the punk culture. Their style could be defined as exasperate epatage. The clothes have been cut to pieces and covered with obscene images and aggressive slogans. Leather and latex clothes and boots were cluttered up with useless fasteners-zippers, belts, rivets and pins. Vivenne Westwood has ingeniously transformed the punk to fashion. Her sado-masochistic styles of the 70s have earned her a title of "queen of shocking".

The boot of the Doctor Martens became the cult footwear of musicians, a symbol of the punk, of the gothic style and other youth cultures. By the end of decade the fashion has turned its back to the streets. Well-to-do people have addressed to classics and the young designers, making ready-to-wear clothes. The idea that the garment is not only the expression of individuality, but also the tool, assisting to succeed in life and to promote career has further evolved. This has also stipulated the drive for a healthy way of life, which popularized fitness that in many respects will define the sports tendency in the fashion of the 80s.