In terms of style & design, the 1970s is sometimes dismissed as being a bit naff or as the decade that taste forgot.
This is very wide of the mark – its influence being both wide ranging and long lasting.
This book, 70s Style & Design, by Dominic Lutyens & Kirsty Hislop clearly demonstrates this.
The decade was remarkable for its diversity – its range of cultures & counter cultures. It began with hippies & flower power and ended with punks & new wave!
There was a “loosened up spirit of fashion & design” during this period – a strong sense of doing your own thing, experimentation, freedom and fun.
There were trends & fashions of course, but it never descended into a bland homogenisation.
It was a very eclectic decade in terms of style & design – psychedelia & flower power spilled over from the 1960s, then there was the strong influence of Art Deco and Art Nouveau, nostalgic Victoriana, the folksy/back to nature style – and later on a harder edged industrial look.
It has been referred to as a decade of ‘the self’ – whether that be individuals looking towards & analyzing their inner self – or an outward expression through personal appearance or living & work spaces. This resulted in a real blossoming of creativity.
The book highlights the influence of various music scenes, movements such as gay rights & women’s lib, the importance of an increasing awareness of the environment, the political & economic factors prevalent at the time, the increasing & diverse student population, the new DIY ethos in both fashion & interiors, a craft renaissance – and the impact of shops such as Habitat, Mr Freedom, Biba and Granny Takes a Trip.
Divided into four chapters, From Pop to Postmodernism, Belle Epoque, Supernature and Avant Garde, the book tackles these subjects in great detail and does a remarkable job in drawing all these strands together.
The text is informative, articulate & well researched – the accompanying photographs capturing all the spirit of this fabulous decade.
The 70s isn’t a particularly well documented era in terms of style & design – this book helps redress the balance.
[Many thanks to Thames & Hudson for this review copy]