Seventies Nostalgia

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sartorial Seventies



It’s incredible to think that when I started writing “Frantic” at the beginning of the Seventies, the clothes of that period are still in vogue today. Alice, "Frantic's" heroine wore ‘an authentic Coco Chanel sheath (purchased from the Chelsea Antique Market), which moved like a slither of black and white lilies,’ when she went backstage to see The Riverbleeds, a rock group in “Frantic". If that dress hadn’t disintegrated, I’d still be wearing it to parties. Chelsea Antique Market wasn’t the only market where you could buy scrumptious second hand clothes. Kensington Market was also a popular hang-out for second hand dresses, now selling for a fortune in vintage shops.

Mr Freedom in Kensington was a popular boutique. The owner was a man called Tommy Roberts who had a very successful boutique called Kleptomania in Carnaby Street during the Sixties. His clothes could easily be worn today. For instance, I bought a pair of turquoise platform soled booties and a postbox red, double-breasted trouser suit (both of which Alice wore in "Frantic"), which I would still be wearing over three decades later, if they hadn’t been stolen.

You didn’t need a lot of money to dress well in the early Seventies. Birkenstock styled sandals first became fashionable then, and although they looked like clodhoppers, they were the 'must-have' accessories. London trendies imported them from the States at an affordable cost, and as soon as the bulky sandals collapsed, they would immediately order another pair. They made a comfortable change from the platform shoes all the girls were running around in at the time. When I wasn't breaking my ankles in platforms, I used to alternate my clomping Birkenstock look-a-likes with my silver Anello & David silver dance shoes. Manolo Blahnik shoes designed his first collection of shoes for an Ossie Clark fashion show in 1972. They were so classical, they could still easily be worn today, and would look more fashionable than ever. I remember one pair he gave me: a pair of black and gold, silk skyscraper heeled shoes, which I ran around in during every waking hour. In "Frantic", Alice bought a pair of 'exquisite rose-petal high heel shoes' from his Chelsea shop. In those days, even Manolo's shoes and the non-vintage clothes were affordable. Ossie Clark costumes with Celia Birtwell’s original prints, so fashionable and fairly cheap in the Seventies, are now sold in Vintage stores at a million per cent mark up from the original price.

Now, you need a mortgage just to feel the fabulous fabrics of the Seventies.

Copyright: Frances Lynn

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