Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The 1970s captures a piece of my heart because I find it to be an era of contradictions. There is a real aura of glamour that was perpetuated by American startlets, and the complete mash together of styles from the punks and the whispering (but present) New Romantic scene. There are aspects that I myself try to emulate: I would absolutely adore to have huge, rollered, bad bitch Jerry Hall hair but I struggle with a far more Diana Ross-like mane. This is the era of disco and Studio 54 - whilst we may not thank it for the return of disco-pants that now cause bile to emerge from my stomach, it truly is an iconic time.

Throughout the era there is a strange juxtaposition between the desire to abandon all social conventions in what became a definitive moment - the emergence of the punk scene - and the capitalist, aspirational lifestyles that eventually spilled out into the 1980s. There was a constant tension between true decadence and a mentality where individuals, following political upset and economic decline in both the UK and the USA. The UK saw the socialist's nightmare in Margaret Thatcher, whilst the US was still in turmoil following the Watergate scandal under Richard Nixon. In both countries, there was a roar of distrust in the direction government, and this led to a grassroots revelation that saw the punk revolution in the late 1970s. Clubs such as The Blitz and The Roxy became havens for those individualists who wished to push the envelope of fashion and break free from social stigma.

(Above: Punks from the "We're Desperate" series by Jim Jocoy, c. late 1970s)

Boy George of Culture Club and Steve Strange of Visage in The Blitz Club, London

To me, one of the most intriguing aspects of this era is the beautifully luxurious makeup that women such as Jerry Hall and Grace Jones donned. I'm a self-professed champagne millionaire on a lemonade budget. If I buy a bottle of Amaretto before a night-out, I think I'm the dog's bollocks and I would not think twice about buying a Chanel foundation at Harvey Nichols even though firstly, I cannot afford it but secondly, I'd be too embarrassed to say I couldn't afford it. I feel that my makeup needs to reflect this, and I am constantly lusting after that golden tan that seventies' beauties such as Farrah Fawcett and Bo Derek displayed. However, as I have the skin of a Simpson with reclusive tendencies, I will never achieve this look of perfection. The iridescent shimmer of eyeshadow looks from this era is magnificent, coupled with the orange-reds that coloured the pouts of those Studio 54 goers. Think, "I've just snorted a line of cocaine off a New York street and now I'm about to fuck Mick Jagger." I'm not condoning those things, I'm just asking one to channel them. Live vicariously through Bianca Jagger. It is pure indulgence that is the key of the mid-70s look compared to the more geometric, harsh lined creativity that is characteristic of the late 70s and early 80s. 

The British music of the 1970s, for me, is unbeatable, too. Championing the fashions of this time were innovators such as Kate Bush (my sin, my soul, Kate Bush - my ongoing obsession with Queen Catherine of Kent is for another post where I can gush embarrassingly about every note she's ever made), David Bowie and Roxy Music. In the 1970s there's was sense of harking back to the glamour of the past, but camping it up and creating an air of flamboyance. The British Art-Rock movement really came to fruition during this time, incorporating esoteric lyrics with elaborate productions to create a truly sweet sound to the ears. Lavish stage shows, ostentatious costumes and the intangible air of uniqueness were what was truly characteristic of these pioneers. 

Debbie Harry of Blondie and Joey Ramone of the Ramones. Debbie Harry has a lot to answer for the amount of bleach I went through in my youth, and the pout of haughtiness I have incorporated into my drunken routine when I am trying to maintain composure. Both staples of the CBGB in New York, they have become incredible influential and have become a part of a wider music scene that has translated into music even today.

The Southern California cool that infiltrated the whole of America beyond that state. Stevie Nicks' ethereal beauty and sexily smokey voice were real trademarks to the seventies. Another woman I have been hugely influenced by. There is nothing more liberating than dancing with hands flailing and trying to copy that distinctive voice but sounding like you're sitting on a washing machine (or something more untoward). The bohemian look of kaftans, fringe and floatiness is still prevalent now, something which should definitely be attributed to, not just in part, to Stephanie Lynn Nicks.

Two of my absolute filmic heroines: Elvira Hancock in "Scarface" (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the majestic Rizzo in "Grease", peering over the shoulder of the eternally irritating Sandy.

This was just a brief retrospect over the seventies, an era which is too important to talk about in a singular blogpost. If anything, it was pure self-indulgence because I love this era although if I ever do an eighties' post watch me embarrassingly fangirl over copious amounts of blusher, hair that looks like mine when I venture into humidity and shoulder pads that allow me to channel my inner "woman-in-power." Don't forget those glorious synthesisers, which often sound like a frog with flatulence (many apologies, my analogical skills are never at their optimum at 12.56am) but have soundtracked the lives of many a heartbroken teen in John Hughes' films.

(Just a little sidenote: follow my blog with Bloglovin and I will be such a Grateful Gretchen.)
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