Relaxed Rebellion: A 1970s Retrospective

Walking downtown on any given springtime Saturday in New York City, one can easily walk by a Farrah Fawcett clone after a Santogold look-alike — followed by a mini Edie Sedgwick. In a time when inspiration is only mouse click away, some say the trend market is over-saturated to the point of being nonexistent. One day we can satisfy our inner Brigitte Bardot and the next channel androgyny a la Patti Smith.

Fashion in the 1970s was a response to the forced futurism of the 1960s. It’s not uncanny that a parallel is drawn between then and now, especially as stores are stocking up on their spring inventory that echoes the decade of free love and youth expression. Designers today may be reacting to other obstacles –- high manufacturing and shipping costs or the many show seasons in any given year perhaps -– but a call to this rebellious decade is clearly the focal point for many Spring 2010 collections.

Halston and Sonia Rykiel both reinterpreted favorite archive pieces for the season. The intermediary designers –- who welcomed Marios Schwab this most recent season -– suggested relaxed ruffles and signature one-shoulder silhouettes for spring. Flexibility and simplicity sung from the collection reverberating 1970’s casual and low maintenance appeal. Rykiel and her daughter recreated a disco atmosphere for her collection, disco ball included. Intensely colored and luminous dresses pleaded to be taken out for a dance, while breezy and carefree jumpsuits were perfect for a daytime date.

Pairing possibilities for day and night are endless at Etro. With signature fluidity of shape and ever-present prints, the line’s heritage has been firmly upheld. Beautiful maxi-dresses were all-purpose for every body type while draped tanks and kindly designed skirts and Bermuda shorts were wonderful options for the office.

Ann Demeulemeester interpreted the 1970s vibe less in her clothing, but more in her messaging for Spring 2010. Models with wiring wrapping their faces accompanied by the background sounds of birds conveyed the illusion of birdcages. Patterns of birds present on most of the looks sparked questions Demeulemeester seemed eager to pose both to the industry at large and also the consumer: what are your trappings? Do we live in self-constructed cages? Or is there perhaps an additional force that is driving our behavior? With pure insinuation, the 1970s rebellion is recaptured and presented to a mostly new audience.

Whether it is playing with a personality du jour or standing for a greater cause, it is evident that 1970s vitality is a raging force for our closets this spring. In being effortlessly casual and playing with simple and multi-functional pieces, we will certainly have time to create and inspire with one another in true 70s form.


Liz Doupnik began her career at (Worth Global Style Network), the global leading fashion forecasting and trend analysis as a Market Editor. Always searching for inspiration, she became involved as a brand ambassador and contributing editor for, a new personal style website. Liz has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the College of Charleston and has earned a second degree in Fashion Design from Parsons. Fashion aside, Liz is fascinated by astrology (she’s a Leo) and unicorns.

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