The thing about Retro Fashion is that the people for whom it’s being targeted are those that are too young to remember what it looked like the first time around or should I say, what we looked like IN IT the first time around.
After recently shopping what’s in store for fall 2010 and catching some of the US and European fashion shows (spring 2011) I noticed that the ’70s have strode down the runways and into the trends, clogs and all. Not sure about you, but I have photos of myself from this decade, which I’ve kept hidden in the deep recesses of photo boxes rather than displayed in albums. Why? Aside from the flash bouncing off my braces, this might have been the most unflattering time in fashion history. Think hot pants and billowing kaftan, shiny polyester print shirts and you’ll get the picture. I was 10 when the decade was ushered in by mini/maxi skirts and due to my mother’s (an ex runway model and VP for a ready-to-wear company) passion for clothes, I became a mini fashion victim, sporting every trend sent down the catwalk during those years.
We shopped at Bloomingdale’s and boutiques throughout the city where I got wide legged pants, Huka Poo print tops, Faded Glory jeans (with embroidery, studs and grommets) and then headed to Greenwich Village to find authentic peasant tops, dangling ethnic earrings, poison rings and pea coats. At the small strip mall in our suburban hometown, we found mood rings, long beads and magnifying glass pendants. I learned how to iron my hair and wrap it around my head to create the middle parted mane that Ali McGraw wore in Love Story and then had it chopped into a Jane Fonda/Klute shag. I then set it free into a sort of Carol King, circa Tapestry frizz fest, until I was feathered like Farrah Fawcett and everyone else I knew. There were velvet jackets, high ribbed turtlenecks and chunky sweaters.
Later there was Lurex, although these days, I think we just call it “shot with metallic thread” — so much more sophisticated than the associations of men who hustled me into a Saturday Night Fever haze of discos and synthetic fabric dresses that kind of stuck to me by the end of the evening.
My 14-year-old niece, Sammie is loving this look the way I did back then because, well, she is the same age as I was when I wore many of the same things. Plus, she’s beautiful and has enough personal style to pull it off. “I share the ’70s shots of me with her and she examines them like a photo editor for a Fall Issue magazine spread.
“Here’s where you went wrong, you took the look too literally. And, you didn’t mix the proportions. When it’s wide on bottom, it needs to be skinny on top and visa versa.”
“Good advice” I tell her and shove the pictures back into the box.
As far as the more recent ’70s-inspired looks, I do like what certain designers have done with the peasant shirt and tunic–more minimal, not overly billowy but elegantly loose and feminine and I would definitely incorporate one or two of these into my wardrobe. Same for the “metallic shot sweaters and scarves, ” but the rest I will leave to my niece and the models on Marc Jacob’s runway . The bohemian in me cries out for some way of looking chic without looking vintage myself.
So, I’ll mix in one piece of clothing and accessorize with the right jewelry–pieces that will work with the feeling, are inspired by the time period but transcend the trends and can be worn for years. . Fine jewelry designers have renewed and contemporized the mixed bag of looks that were the highlights of my youth: Victorian-inspired chokers and poison rings by Leslie Greene and Sydney Evan, large stone rings by Jamie Joseph, long pendants by Irene Neuwirth and Moritz Glik, strands of beads and modern day variations on the friendship bracelet by Lena Skadegard and crochet style dangling earring by Miguel Ases.