Over the last week I could not seem to escape the 1970s. Firstly there was the sad news that disco queen, Donna Summer, had lost her battle with cancer. Two days before this, I had bizarrely enough started to create a new music playlist including some of my favourite songs of all time, such as Heatwave – ‘Boogie Nights’ and Bee Gees – ‘Jive Talkin’. And then the final retro 70s cherry was placed on my mirror ball cake in Flares nightclub in York city centre, in which I caught a nasty case of disco fever, cough, cough. But seriously, why do we not focus, in a fashion sense, more on this incredibly stylish era?
It was the age in which John Travolta came out (so to speak), glam rock had men flirting with gender boundaries and British design royalty including Bill Gibb ruled supreme. When you merely google the fashions of the decade, the images are colourful, sparkly and exciting. Admittedly there will be some lesser-loved trends to emerge from this time, but how can we not love and respect colour blocking, men with long hippy hair, chunky wooden platforms, playsuits and pussy bow neckties? The list we are thankful for is endless.
Movies such as Boogie Nights give us a little taste of what the disco era would have been like with great viewing pleasure. The eye candy clothes seen being worn by modern day glitterati Dakota Fanning and Kirsten Stewart in biopic The Runaways, leaves any girl feeling a little dull when you see how high the glamour stakes were back then. Then place these silky soft images with a soundtrack like Donna Summer – ‘I feel love’, and it all just seems so very dreamy.
For example, hotspots of today include for your Essex girlie – The Sugar Hut, London scenester – The Hoxton Pony, or flamboyant clothing king or queen – 285 Kent, New York. But when you compare these three to the original party juggernaut of Studio 54, ran by the intriguing Steve Rubell, they don’t come close to that kind of fun. With Rubell on the door dissecting your appearance and only allowing the beautiful or wild people in, the crowd was elite. Requests for party goers to strip off were common orders in which many would happily oblige. Then once through the inspection process the quality of music played, calibre of celebrities enjoying themselves with your average 70s Joe Bloggs, with the backdrop of a decor unlike any other ever, it really put things into perspective with my recent ventures to Flares.
Journalist Alex Needham recently stated that ‘… disco was as radical as punk’, a statement that I firmly support. He describes how Donna Summer’s legacy and influence has leaped time into the stars of today, including Beyonce and Janet Jackson. With this acknowledgement by Needham, it further backs my argument as to why “The only way is 1970”. Let this diamond disco era wash over us and may we give thanks where due to this lesser known fashion period that we do not tend to give credit where so much is due.