The seventies are a difficult decade to pin down sartorially speaking. Many designers were left baffled by the DIY approach to dressing that was so popular in the 1960s. At the start of the decade, Hippie inspired ensembles and a natural, healthy look were in vogue. Rock music continued to hold a stong influence over dressing and new music styles like Punk, Disco, and Glam brought new ideas into the mix . As the years wore on, however, a kind of campy, sexy decadent style emerged inspired by the 1930s. By 1976, with Yves Saint Laurent's Russian Collection, glamour and luxury had returned to fashion and the stage was set for the 1980s. Here are three trend-setters that stand out.
1. Jane Birkin
Although Jane Birkin first came onto the scene in the sixties (appearing, for example, in Antonioni's Blow Up from 1966) it was in the seventies that she became a Parisian superstar. She had become romantically involved with Serge Gainsbourg in the late sixties, and they came to become the chicest, coolest, most fashionable couple around. Birkin's relaxed, casual style was perfect for the early seventies; she always kept it simple and natural yet managed to appear sexy and fashionable. The Hermes company, in fact, made the iconic Birkin bag for her after an executive of the leather goods house met her on an airplane and was horrified that someone so chic was always carrying a basket as a handbag.
2. Donna Jordan
Donna Jordan was a model, and in the 1960s had been a periphery figure in Andy Warhol's Factory scene in New York. By the seventies she part of fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez' clique, and she allowed the group to transform her into a tarted up, glamorous Mae West like figure. She modeled for Antonio's work, and became somewhat of a muse to Karl Lagerfeld in Paris.
In Alicia Drake's great book The Beautiful Fall she cites a great quote from Donna about the period, and the result of hanging around so many fashion obsessed men: "It was fun. You do what you're told...I had all these sculptors around me and they were sculpting me, moulding me and making me who I became- the blonde bombshell! They were creating this image and I was allowing it."
3. Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks rose to fame with Fleetwood Mac, yet her raspy mesmerising voice has made her an iconic singer/songwriter in her own right. Her unique style, however, is as equally iconic as her voice. Stevie crafted a distinct image for herself of flowing medieval style dresses, glittering jewelry, platform boots and wild hair. One can definately see a connection between Janis Joplin and Stevie's style; it is unquestionable that Nicks was greatly infuenced by the doomed blues singer. The combination of Nicks' powerful haunting voice and glamorous witchy style has made her a powerful performer and a lasting figure.