The 1970s was the decade that defined this season’s showings. As often as designers break new ground and test out innovative techniques, the distinctive look of disco era fashion has become a mainstay for many top houses.
What sets this seventies season apart from all its previous iterations is that no one particular style stood out. There was a lot more to the look than just bell bottoms and platform shoes—although both of these did make more than one appearance on the runway—with designers from around the world tapping into different elements of the era.
The bohemian style of Stevie Nicks, on display in the long printed dresses at Etro and Aquilano.Rimondi, and the California cool of Joni Mitchell—seen in a crocheted white dress from Emilio Pucci and Salvatore Ferragamo’s sandy shaded ensembles—were two of the top inspirations. At Andrew Gn and House of Holland the look was sleek city chic, reminiscent of the decadent Studio 54 days. But amidst all the nostalgic name-checking this season, there was one person that nearly every designer paid homage to: Yves Saint Laurent.
YSL REVISITED Arguably in his prime during the 1970s, Saint Laurent took those 10 years and redefined how modern women dress. Last year his enormously successful retrospective at the Petit Palais in Paris was a must-see for any fashion designer worth his salt. Unsurprisingly, the man who put women in pants, dressed them in artful prints and usurped le smoking from menswear had a potent effect on the collections designers were working on at the time.
One of the most telling tributes to the late designer’s work was seen on the runway at Gucci, where designer Frida Giannini was upfront about her fascination with the maestro’s use of rich jewel tones and safari style. But she made the looks her own by giving her Gucci girls a safari jacket with the sleeves sliced off, twisting her richly hued pieces about the body and even transforming the classic black tuxedo into a fluid jumpsuit. Marc Jacobs was another leading designer who alluded to Yves Saint Laurent with a collection that showcased frizzyhaired models donning voluminous peasant dresses, bell-sleeved coats and high-waisted, full-legged trousers— all rendered in a color palette that Saint Laurent would certainly approve of: Purple, burnt orange and blush pink.
With so much referencing and reverence, by the time the fashion world got to Paris the buildup for a stellar show from Stefano Pilati, who helms the house that Yves built, was at a fever pitch. How did the designer do? He sent out a controlled collection that distilled both the designer and the decade down to its purest form, showing ensembles that touched on the past with palazzo pants, bow collar blouses and colorful ruffle edged skirts. The result was an utterly modern collection, and one of Pilati’s strongest yet.
WHERE TO BUY
HOUSE OF HOLLAND
Gilda de Bartoli
YVES SAINT LAURENT