20 iconic outfits that prove the 70s really were the best fashion decade

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  • From Joni Mitchell to Cher, we highlight the greatest icons of 1970s fashion.

    Anyone who’s paid attention to the catwalk these past few seasons will know that the 70s have inspired designers such as Victoria Beckham, Chloe, Stella McCartney amongst others for a while now. That decade was quite simply bold and overstated at its best.

    Continuing the 1960s fashion theme of individual style, flares, platforms, fringing and suede dominated the era with icons aplenty; Joni Mitchell, Cher, Bianca Jagger and more making huge waves in the style world. It’s safe to say the seventies’ style was a stark contrast from the 1980s fashion that followed it.

    From Gucci to Halston, Laura Ashley to Biba, there were plenty of brands making 1970 fashion their own back in the day, giving us hippie chic, power dressing, glam rock and even punk – all within an exceptional 10-year timeframe. Here are 20 iconic get-ups that prove that the seventies really were the best fashion decade.

    Diane Von Furstenberg’s 1970s fashion

    Diane Von Furstenberg 1970s fashion

    Diane made her now-iconic wrap dress in 1974 after setting out to create a relaxed, silk jersey dress that could suit every woman’s body shape with ease. Originally available in a small range of very seventies prints, she was quickly given the cover of business bible Newsweek and declared the ‘most marketable designer since Coco Chanel.’ The magazine was right, and by 1976 Diane had sold over 5 million of the dress worldwide, building a lasting fashion empire in the process. A true seventies icon.

    Joni Mitchell
’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    The poster girl of hippie chic, Joni Mitchell was undoubtedly one of the seventies’ ultimate style icons – and with good reason. She wore tie dye blouses, earth-goddess hair and billowing kaftans like no other, usually completing her trademark look with bare feet and a guitar in hand.

    Cher’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    First rising to musical fame as one half of Sonny and Cher, the star released a whopping 10 albums in the 70s meaning, quite simply, that she was absolutely everywhere. From more-is-more prints to epic perms, she trialled every trend the decade had to offer with gusto, meaning she was seventies fashion personified (and she’s still considered an absolute legend today).

    Halston’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Meet the 1970s’ most popular guy; The (now legendary) designer Roy Halston Frowick shot to fame in this decade thanks to his minimalistic draped gowns and his greatest invention, the jersey halter dress. You’d find him at Studio 54 with Elizabeth Taylor on one arm and Liza Minelli on the other.

    Studio 54’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Speaking of Studio 54, the New York was the Seventies hottest ‘place to be’ bar none. From Andy Warhol to Yves Saint Laurent, anyone who was anyone could be found right here, having the time of their lives every day of the week. Here’s Bianca Jagger riding into her Studio 54 birthday party on a white stallion, just because.

    The Osmonds and ALL the 1970s fashion trends

    1970s fashion moments

    Just look at Donny and Marie Osmond. Could they be any more seventies? The fringing, the platforms, the glittering lurex trousers. The Osmond family hit the big time in 1971, becoming clean-cut idols for teens around the world. We said it was fashion, we didn’t say it was always good fashion.

    David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    The late David Bowie’s alter ego skewed ideas about gender and fashion in the seventies; the star would perform in spray on leotards, foil flares and a whole lotta face paint. The ultimate style chameleon, Bowie transformed his look again and again throughout his career, but this will always be the moment where he changed 1970s fashion (and beyond) forever.

    Diana Ross’ 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Post The Supremes, Diana was all about lilac eyeshadow, loose wrap dresses and XXL hoop earrings. Like Cher, she whipped up an incredible nine albums in her first decade as a solo artist and was a key style icon, too. We’re sure the sepia tones and retro wardrobe choices in this picture must have inspired American Hustle?

    Karl Lagerfeld’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Before Karl Lagerfeld became the reigning Kaiser we all know and love at Chanel, he worked for another major fashion label – Chloé. His vision defined the house’s trademark boho direction, an aesthetic that current designer Clare Waight Keller still nods to today. We love the below swimwear look from his 1974 collection, perfectly encapsulating what 1970s fashion was all about.

    Barbara Hulanicki’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    What did real women wear in the seventies? Barbara Hulanicki’s London boutique Biba experienced a huge sales boom, selling bell bottom power suits (cat covered, of course) and smock dresses in saturated colours, all at affordable price points. The roots for high street fashion were firmly planted and, thanks to an unrivalled mail ordering service, women around the country were able to experience fast fashion for the first time.

    Margaret Thatcher’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Whether you love her or loathe her, the Iron Lady definitely knew how to make a fashion statement. Her rainbow coloured suits and trademark pussy bow blouses ensured she stood out from the men in suits on every political occasion.

    John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Saturday Night Fever hit cinemas in 1977 and the world fell head-over-heels in love with disco. John Travolta’s car-salesman suit and Karen Lynn Gorney’s major commitment to ruffles had everyone reaching for their platforms and dancing their troubles away. Nothing quite says seventies like a disco dancefloor, am I right?

    Laura Ashley’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Women were hooked on Laura Ashley’s romantic silhouettes and floral-drenched prints when it came to getting their 1970s fashion fix. When they were first created, the Edwardian-style dresses and vintage-look fabrics divided opinion amongst the more fashion-forward. ‘They’re not particularly clothes for making a splash in a dramatic place,’ the designer justified at the time. ‘They’re simple garments to wear at home, and when you get home perhaps you need the security of nostalgia.’ Personally, we love them.

    Farrah Fawcett’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Farrah Fawcett became one of the most celebrated TV icons ever when she took on the role of private investigator Jill Munroe in hit series Charlie’s Angels. She and co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith defined the working woman’s wardrobe of the 1970s; checkered shirts, skinny rib vests and, of course, a high waisted pair of flares were seventies uniform.

    ABBA’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Now there’s a pair of flares. Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid burst onto the music and fashion scenes in 1972, introducing the UK to the concept of ‘Scandi cool’ for the first time. Their outfits were outrageous (but we loved them) – think sequin hot pants and silver moon boots, or the entire quartet all clad in white kimonos. Just glorious.

    Elton John’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Oh, those tinted glasses. When it came to 1970s fashion, the must-have accessory was a pair of sepia shades, as sported by Elton back then (and pretty much every day ever since). Here he is at Studio 54 with and equally glitzy Diana Ross and Cher. Definite squad goals.

    Debbie Harry’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    Double denim? Hell yes. The denim market completely exploded in the 1970s as a denim shirt and flared jeans were declared the decade’s ultimate casual wear ensemble. Newcomer Debbie Harry caught on to the trend early, just as Blondie took off and the punk era really kicked in. Teamed with lashings of smokey liner and tousled her, she was the epitome of seventies punk.

    Vivienne Westwood’s 1970s fashion

    1970s fashion moments

    The new queen of punk Vivienne Westwood was about to make fashion history when she opened her boutique Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die on Kings Road in 1971. Two years later, she changed the shop’s name to SEX, turning fetishes into fashion under the catchy tagline ‘rubberwear for the office.’ It was innovative, expressive, and the people loved it – it’s no wonder she ended up becoming one of fashions biggest names.

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