70S style fever: Bairbre Power embraces the 1970s
Step back in time for ultra-feminine looks, says Bairbre Power
Can you be fashion forward and nostalgic at the same time? Of course you can, case in point being the 1970s homage sweeping this summer's collections.
Some critics were diffident when the love affair with this decadent decade emerged last season. However, for summer 2011, the looks are far more wearable. Sexy, silky and slinky, there is a spirit of freedom to the clothes, and the 1970s gal is 'all woman', whether she is in flares, fringed waistcoat and floppy hat, or deciding between the three Ms -- mini, maxi or midi.
Marc Jacobs cut his teeth on fashion during this decade, so it was no surprise when he delivered a genius catwalk collection studded with strong, 1970s references -- covetable silks and satins imbued with vibrant, feel-good colours such as coral, fuchsia and magenta. And let's not forget the gold accessories, which were also very evident in Gucci's colour-blocked look.
Meanwhile, on the Irish high street, alwear is launching its 'Club Tropicana' 1970s love affair next Monday. Now tell me honestly, looking at these photos, would you suspect that all these dresses and tops can be bought for a total of €211?
It's a question of fashionable illusion, a bit like the shoot, which carries the potency of a hot day in Palm Springs but was actually shot in suburban Dublin by Andreas Pettersson. You can just imagine 1970s supermodel Veruschka looking totally wonderful in these frocks, which box above their weight when it comes to price.
So where do you stand on the three Ms debate? Alwear boss Annemarie Flood is a fiend for her midis, but what's not to love about a vivid purple, slinky maxi with batwing sleeves at €50? If you have time before buying your next summer dress, watch out in two weeks' time when a very cool black midi dress (€45) arrives on the rail. Annemarie says its length and cinched waist makes it bang on trend. More information from www.awear.com.
Elsewhere on the high street, River Island, Monsoon and M&S have a true appreciation for 1970s feminine fun and there is an enormous selection of floppy hats -- a must-have accessory, along with high wedges.
And what would a 1970s homage be without the white suit? John Travolta's dancer suit from 'Saturday Night Fever' will be a kitsch icon forever, but, on a serious level, Bianca Jagger's white suits were one of the highlights of the fashionable catalogue emerging from New York's stylish nightclub, Studio 54. Bianca loved her white-suit uniforms so much, she married Mick in St Tropez in a skirt version, wearing nothing under her tux jacket.
Warehouse has a very cool suit and M&S has great white separates for those of you who want to compose your own take on the look.
Seduced by the spirit of 1970s dressing, I recommend you explore the Biba collection by House of Fraser. Model Daisy Lowe fronts the campaign and, two years after being re-launched, the iconic London label is really finding its feet.
Photographer: Andreas Pettersson
Styling: Helena Carroll assisted by Lia Tallon
Hair: Joe McGivern
Make-up: Natalie Kinsella