The 70s was one of the most dynamic fashion decades of all time. While not all of the fashions are still appreciated, the diversity and wide range of style have had an impact on the art and fashion worlds that is still felt today.
One of the best ways to experience 70s style is by watching movies from that era. The best of 70s cinema is fully infused with the fashions of the moment, from the clothes and the hairstyles to the decor and interior design.
In this article, we’ll work our way through some of the biggest fashions and look at the lasting influence of 70s style.
When Steve Dahl announced to his audiences in 1979 that disco was dead, he was so wrong. Despite a dip in popularity, disco would never really die. The movie most closely associated with disco is Saturday Night Fever – it was a movie that made John Travolta a star and brought disco fashion into the mainstream.
Disco fashion was all about being seen. The clothes were bright or flashy, with fitted trousers for both men and women, platform shoes or boots, and lots of glitter. The glitz and glitter were amplified on the dance floor by the use of strobe lights and – of course – the disco ball.
Today, disco’s influence can be seen in all of the most popular glam aesthetics. It has also influenced entertainment, including movies, party themes and games. It is possible to find disco ball-themed slot games at every casino site one may visit, and disco-themed dance nights at every club.
Art Nouveau revival
The Art Nouveau revival style of the 70s is one of the most remarkable and beautiful trends of the era. It began in the late 1960s and carried over into the next decade. Art Nouveau revival style is most obvious in home decor in films, particularly in the wallpapers. Black Christmas (1974) and The Exorcist (1973), two of the most significant horror films of all time, feature gorgeous Art Nouveau wallpapers.
The callback to Art Nouveau style that blossomed in the 70s has never really gone away. Art Nouveau’s delicately elaborate florals and gently swooping lines are a welcome alternative to the sterility of so much contemporary design. It remains an aesthetic that is more niche than mainstream, but we are likely to see a resurgence in it as a reaction to the blandness of minimalism.
Punk is one of the most instantly recognizable style trends of the 1970s. It’s an aggressive style that initially challenged and upset most social norms. It featured a lot of black clothing, torn denim, spikes, studs, patches, and shirts or jackets with controversial statements written on them. Most of the color in the look came from dyed hair or traditional plaid fabrics used in more modern ways.
While the movie Young Soul Rebels (1991) is mainly about soul music, there is a major character who embodies the quintessential punk style, ethos and living situation. Other movies that do a good job depicting the era and style are Sid and Nancy (1986), Rude Boy (1980) and The Blank Generation (1976).
The spirit of punk is one that appeals to a lot of young people, and the punk look appeals to even more. One reason why the style stayed so strong and consistent is that the original punk fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood, kept designing clothes into the 2010s. While Westwood represented the corporate side of punk after the 1980s, it was still a link to the origins of the style.
Soft style is hard to describe but immediately recognizable. The soft style, sometimes also called big style, was all about volume and layering. Natural, soft fabrics with a lot of drape and folds were key. Clothes that could be wrapped around the body, or folded and draped, made it an elegant but still comfortable style. Articles of clothing were often in muted colors and this was seen as one of the more refined looks of the decade.
Soft style’s influence is seen today in a celebration of Scandi fashion, which employs many of the same elements. The most important of these are neutral color palettes, a preference for natural fibers and a partiality for oversized items that can be draped or wrapped.
Soft style is often overlooked when discussing 70s fashion because it is so much more muted and gentler than the other major trends. It is, however, one of the most wearable styles. This made it more enduring, even if it’s difficult to identify with precision.