As I promised here’s the second part of my complete guide to 1970′s fashion, completely dedicated to accessories. How could you be perfect without a statement bag and a pair of fabulous shoes?
Here you’ll find detailed answers to your glamorous questions for a 70s inspired outfits!
In case you missed it read “Part 1” of my guide to learn about the icons and designers that made the decade.
Tod’s: comfort and luxury
Tod’s is an Italian brand, which represent at best the American Dream. As Diego Della Valle went to New York, beginning to sell his family’s beautiful handmade shoes in his hotel’s bedroom in Manhattan, a new chapter of the rise of Made in Italy was written. American’s department store went crazy for Della Valle’s shoes, especially for the luxurious driving shoes, called Gommino. The soft leather moccasins were named Gommino, because of the 133 rubber pebbles, or studs, on its sole and heel that helped stop feet from sliding off the pedals when driving. They embodied a perfect blend between masculine practicality and feminine softness.
“If God had wanted us to wear flat shoes, he wouldn’t have invented Manolo Blahnik.”
Vogue editor Alexandra Schuman used to claim to describe the work of one of the most famous shoe-designer of the century: Manolo Blahnik. He started his career as a fashion designer but his couture efforts were immediately dismissed by Diana Vreeland, who suggested him to try shoe-design, instead. Manolo Blahnik began a new career, designing men’s shoes, but he found the limitations and the restrictions so frustrating. Ossie Clark contacted him, during the 70′s to design shoes to match with his couture creations. Blahnik’s creations were so daring, flamboyant, avant-garde, that shoes were very difficult to wear. He described his high heels as “walking on quicksand.”
The icon of the 70′s: Platform shoes
The Art Decò trend of the 70′s gained popularity, because of the success of Biba. The huge store in London, designed and managed by Barbara Hulanicki, set the rules for fashionistas for mostly a decade. And shoes were absolute protagonists. The 1930′s inspired platform shoes carried an ostentatious style, glamour and kitsch and were adopted by glam rockers and disco-dancers. Capturing the allure of the 30′s and combining it with geometric patterns and bright colors, Biba had caught a style, which was designed to be an icon.
The symbol of wild adventures: Timberland boots
The Abington Shoe Company was founded in 1933, in Boston. In 1973 the company began to expand its business, after creating its most popular product: the Timberland Boot. The company was renamed Timberland, to capitalize on its success. Timberland started the production of a waterproof pair of boots, with thick soles, robust stitching andchunky outline. During the 70′s Timberland was primarily the symbol of freedom and adventures gaining huge popularity in the American market.
Nike: the myth of sport shoes
The symbol of Nike’s production is the Waffle trainer. These pair of shoes contributed to make Nike Inc. a global and innovative leader in athletic footwear. One of the founder of Nike, Bill Bowerman, developed in 1971 a lightweight, gridlike sole, after testing out liquid polyurethane in his wife waffle iron. Bowerman, whose studies concerned the development of new materials to improve both grip and speed while running, contributed to create the first company’s best seller.
Ugly or not, Ugg boot were a hit at the end of 70′s. The name Ugg probably derived from the world ugly, epitomized by the bulky shape of these Australian sheepskin boots. In 1978 one Australian surfer, Brian Smith, took these boots to California, where he tried to gain success in the American surf market. Soon he registered the UGG as a trademark and sold the brand, though it was two decades or so before it finally hit the fashion scene. Bold and cozy, those ugly boots took a long time to conquer their space into fashion, but now they express an urban chic lifestyle.
Young people were obsessed by sport icons during the 70′s and these role models set a glamorous sporty lifestyle, which everyone wanted to imitate, even the least fit. Athletic style became a hit and street style was mostly inspired by sporty outfit for everyday, and even a night out. The sporty bag became a must-have, a pop-culture statement of urban savvy. The bags vaunted their utilitarianism, they were made by durable synthetic rubber, their shape was unfussy and they came in bold colors and strong logos.
A bucolic accessory: the basket
The wicker basket brought a surprising touch of bucolic charm to diaphanous dresses, to minis shorts and skirts and add a touch of decadence to voluminous furs. The basket’s adoption was justified by its ancient history, its naive and sophisticated allure, which contributed to make the basket the most appreciated accessory of spoiled Parisian ladies through the 18th century. Jane Birkin, whose charm was renowned in all France, used to carry the basket for everyday life, while taking a walk with the daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg. The space age femme-fatale made the Flower Power trend her zenith, choosing the basket as her ultimate signature of a 1970′s outfit.
The IT bag is born
Prada Nylon bag is maybe the most famous creation of the designer Miuccia Prada. In 1978 she introduced a range of totes and backpacks made with the most unglamorous fabric in the world, black nylon, throwing away the excellent quality of leather goods of the family’s firm. Miuccia Prada, as an artist, a feminist and freethinker, created her own vision of luxury, with a monastic attitude and rigorous simplicity. Prada aesthetic was about absolute discretion and cool modernity, inspired by the Arte Povera concept, of abstract luxury.
My Final Thoughts
Dear ladies, you have plenty of time to experiment marvelous 1970s outfits. The flower power will keep hitting the street also next winter and if you’re in love with this decade, as I am, you’ll be surrounded by thousands of cool garments and statement accessories, which will make you feel an irresistible IT-girl of the 70′s.