In the early 1970s, Vogue proclaimed "There are no rules in the fashion game now" due to overproduction flooding the market with cheap synthetic clothing. Common items included mini skirts, bell-bottoms popularized by hippies, vintage clothing from the 1950s and earlier, and the androgynous glam rock and disco styles that introduced platform shoes, bright colors, glitter, and satin.
New technologies brought advances in production through mass production, higher efficiency, generating higher standards and uniformity. Generally the most famous silhouette of the mid and late 1970s for both genders was that of tight on top and loose on bottom. The 1970s also saw the birth of the indifferent, anti-conformist casual chic approach to fashion, which consisted of sweaters, T-shirts, jeans and sneakers. The French designer Yves Saint Laurent and the American designer Halston both observed and embraced the changes that were happening in the society, especially the huge growth of women's rights and the youth counterculture. They successfully adapted their design aesthetics to accommodate the changes that the market was aiming for.
Top fashion models in the 1970s were Lauren Hutton, Margaux Hemingway, Beverly Johnson, Gia Carangi, Janice Dickinson, Cheryl Tiegs, Jerry Hall, and Iman.
The 1970s began with a continuation of the hippie look from the 1960s, giving a distinct ethnic flavor. Popular early 1970s fashions for women included Tie dye shirts, Mexican 'peasant' blouses, folk-embroidered Hungarian blouses, ponchos, capes, and military surplus clothing. Bottom attire for women during this time included bell-bottoms, gauchos, frayed jeans, midi skirts, and ankle-length maxi dresses. Hippie clothing during this time was made in extremely bright colors, as well as Indian patterns, Native American patterns, and floral patterns.
Women's hippie accessories of the early 1970s included chokers, dog collars, handcrafted neck ornaments, and accessories made from natural elements like wood, shells, stones, feathers, Indian beads and leather. All of these replaced standard jewelry. Unisex hippie accessories included headbands, floppy hats, balumba balls, flowing scarves, Birkenstocks, and earth shoes.
Although the hippie look was widespread, it was not adopted by everyone. Many women still continued to dress up with more glamorous clothes, inspired by 1940s movie star glamour. Other women just adopted simple casual fashions, or combined new garments with carefully chosen secondhand or vintage clothing from the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s.[
Clean-cut, all-American active wear for women became increasingly popular from 1975 onwards. The biggest phenomenon of this trend was the jumpsuit, popular from 1975 onwards.
Accessories were less of an importance during this time, but two very desirable accessories included sneakers and tennis headbands.
Pierre Cardin was an Italian-born naturalized-French fashion designer. He is known for what were his avant-garde style and Space Age designs. He preferred geometric shapes and motifs, often ignoring the female form. He advanced into unisex fashions, sometimes experimental, and not always practical.
Cardin arrived in Paris in 1945 where he studied architecture and worked with the fashion house of Paquin after World War II. He worked with Elsa Schiaparelli until he became head of Christian Dior's tailleure atelier in 1947.
Cardin founded his own fashion house in 1950. His career was launched when he designed about 30 of the costumes for a masquerade ball in Venice, hosted by Carlos de Beistegui in 1951. Cardin inaugurated his haute couture output in 1953 with his first collection of women's clothing and became a member of the Chambre Syndicale, a French association of haute couture designers, The following year he opened his first boutique Eve, and introduced the "bubble dress", which is a short-skirted, bubble-shaped dress made by bias-cutting over a stiffened base. He was the first couturier to turn to Japan as a high fashion market when he traveled there in 1957.
As haute couture began to decline, ready-to-wear ('prêt-à-porter') soared as well as Cardin's designs. He was the first to combine the "mini" and the "maxi" skirts of the 1970s by introducing a new hemline that had long pom-pom panels or fringes.
Beginning in the 1970s, Cardin set another new trend: "mod chic". This trend holds true for the form or for a combination of forms, which did not exist at the time. He was the first to combine extremely short and ankle-length pieces. He made dresses with slits and batwing sleeves with novel dimensions and mixed circular movement and gypsy skirts with structured tops. These creations allowed for the geometric shapes that captivated him to be contrasted, with both circular and straight lines. Cardin became an icon for starting this popular fashion movement of the early 1970s.
Inspired by space travel and exploration, Cardin visited NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in 1970, where he tried on the original spacesuit worn by the first human to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong. Cardin designed spacesuits for NASA in 1970. He died in Paris in December 2020 at the age of 98.
Courtesy - Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The 1900's - Men wore three-piece lounge suits with bowler or cloth caps. Jackets were narrow with small, high lapels. Most collars were starched and upstanding, with the corners pointing downwards. Some men wore their collars turned down, with rounded edges and modern knotted ties. Beards were now reserved for mainly older men, and most young men sported neat moustaches and short hair.
The 1910's - The three-piece lounge suit was commonly worn, but from 1914 to the end of the decade, many men were photographed in military uniform. Hair was worn parted at the side or the middle. Older men sported beards, but younger men wore moustaches or went clean-shaven.
The 1920's - Men wore narrow-cut lounge suits, with pointed collars turned down, and plain or simply patterned modern knot ties. Cloth caps were popular amongst the working class, though homburgs were worn by the middle classes. Hair was cut very short at the sides, parted severely from the center or the side and smoothed down with oil and brilliantine, or combed back over the top of the head.
The 1930's - Men now generally wore three-piece suits for work or formal occasions only. Two-piece suits (without a vest) and casual day wear were becoming increasingly common, including knitted cardigans, tank-tops, and soft collared or open necked shirts. For the first time it was not obligatory to wear a tie. Trousers were very wide, with turned up hems and sharp creases down the leg. They were belted high at the abdomen. It was common for men to be clean-shaven, and bowler hats were now generally only seen by city businessmen.
The 1940's - During the war, most men wore military uniform of some kind. Hair was short at the back and sides, and most men were clean shaven. Men in civilian clothing were often dressed in lounge suits with broad shoulders, with wide trousers belted high at the abdomen.
The 1950's - Men's fashions still revolved around the suit. Grey flannel suits were common, worn with shirt, tie and pocket handkerchief. Tweed or check jackets worn with non-matching trousers were also popular, and open collars were permitted for casual wear. Hair was worn with a side parting but slicked back with 'Brill cream'. Teenagers began to appear as a separate group during the 1950s. Their fashions were influenced by American stars, who wore leather jackets and jeans. The Teddy Boys, who wore pointed shoes, tight trousers and long jackets with velvet trim, were also a significant teenage group.
The 1960's - Perhaps the most remarkable development in 1960s dress was the dramatic change in menswear. For the past 150 years, clothing for men had been tailor-made, and plain and somber in appearance. Now, colorful new elements were introduced, such as the collarless jacket, worn with slim-fitting trousers and boots. During the mid-1960s frills and cravats were worn with vividly printed shirts. Finally, lapels and trousers took on exaggeratedly wide dimensions. Clothing became increasingly unisex as men and women shopped at the same boutiques for similar items.