“I held a grudge against my parents that I wasn’t an adult in the 1970s, so I could actually have fun then. It just feels right again now.”
That’s Peter Dundas, speaking of his vibrant Seventies riff for spring. The designer wasn’t alone in showing love for the decade’s pre-disco years. The era—its sense of freedom, the gypsy and boho-luxe vibes, the Stevie Nicks references—reverberated through the four fashion capitals, but especially so in Milan, where Gucci’s Frida Giannini had a backstage mood board pinned with photos of a chic Ali MacGraw circa Love Story. Etro played a Doors soundtrack, frequently repeating “Riders on the Storm,” and even Max Mara captured a Seventies bourgeois vibe.
“One of the reasons we are seeing so many Seventies references is that many of the top designers today were children [then] and are feeling nostalgic about the era, what they saw happening around them, how their parents dressed, the music they heard,” noted Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue. “These were exciting times. People dressed to have fun and express themselves, it was not about a uniform.”
The dark side of those times that led to the sartorially carefree spirit then—the energy crisis, Watergate, the Vietnam War—has its modern-day equivalents in such things as the state of the global economy, the gruesome violence of ISIS and the fear of Ebola.
As Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus’ senior vice president and fashion director, put it, “It is about escapism, and as the news of the day becomes more and more treacherous to be able to absorb when you turn on the television or pick up a newspaper, the ability to escape reality for a moment in how you dress yourself, the dream of what fashion is really all about, is here, and the time could not be more right for that.”
As for Fleetwood Mac’s Nicks, an evergreen fashion inspiration, she had her own take on spring’s phenomenon. “You know it comes around about every five years,” she told WWD. “So I’m aware of it and then I’m aware of it and then I’m aware of it and they talk about me and they talk about me and they talk about me.”