Bring back some good or bad memories


March 22, 2014

37 Beautiful Portraits of the 70s Fashion and Style Icons

As a 70s revival stomps ahead for summer, rifle through our definitive list of the decade's style icons for inspiration a-plenty.

1. Farrah Fawcett

From the naïf, buttoned-down shirts to the high-waisted denim flares, not only did Fawcett set the small screen alight but her look came to define a generation. The ‘Farrah Flick’ became the first must have celebrity hair style and the image of the actress in a swimsuit, head tilted back and grinning broadly, has sold over 12 million copies worldwide. She is consistently name-checked by designers when a 70s revival rolls round.

2. Bianca Jagger

This Nicaraguan-born activist rewrote the fashion rule book when she wore a white suit by Savile Row tailor Tommy Nutter to marry her Rolling Stone in St Tropez in 1971. Jagger not only wore 70s fashion, she lived it; a Studio 54 stalwart, she was friends with the likes of YSL and Halston, playing model and muse alike. From turbans to tube tops, nothing was off limits for this original fashion risk-taker.

3. Iman

When someone with the fashion clout of the late, great Yves Saint Laurent singles out someone as his “dream woman”, it’s time to pay attention – and Iman was the recipient of that prestigious accolade. First shot for Vogue in 1976, this Somali glamazon had her pick from the 70s catwalks as all the top designers of the day – think Halston, Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Issey Miyake and Donna Karan – courted her beauty.

4. Debbie Harry

When Blondie’s Heart Of Glass burst onto the airwaves in 1979, a whole army of teenage girls started emulating lead singer Harry’s insouciant, laid-back disco style: mussed hair, red lips, funked-up maxis, leopard print. A great piece of trivia: in the now-iconic music video for the single, Harry wears an asymmetrical silver dress designed by Stephen Sprouse, which was photo-printed with television scan lines then sandwiched between two layers of chiffon to create an optical illusion. Groovy.

5. Diane Von Furstenberg

Diane Von Furstenberg lived a fashion fairytale – literally. Having married her first husband Prince Egon of Furstenberg in 1969, she launched her own-name fashion label in 1970. "The minute I knew I was about to be Egon's wife, I decided to have a career,” she has said. “I wanted to be someone of my own, and not just a plain little girl who got married beyond her desserts." She achieved her dream in spectacular style, launching her signature wrap dress in 1973 – fast forward almost 40 years, and there is still no wardrobe that’s considered complete without one.

6. Liza Minnelli

The glitz! The glamour! The spotlight fell on Minnelli in 1972 with the launch of Caberet, in which she played the vulnerable yet ballsy Sally Bowles. The theatrical make-up and dramatic bob she rocked in the film became her style signatures; the flipside of the sweet, natural beauty favoured on the catwalks of the decade and an ingenious vehicle for establishing herself as a star in her own right, away from the shadow of her own superstar mum, Judy Garland.

7. Faye Dunaway

The girl-next-door look that helped Faye Dunaway play a convincing good-girl-gone-bad in 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde saw her storm into the 70s very much in demand, swapping her iconic 60s beret for the wide-brimmed felt hats du mode in the process. Chinatown, in which she starred alongside Jack Nicholson in 1973, is a feast of to-die-for looks.

8. Joni Mitchell

The original free-spirit, nobody epitomized the hippy lifestyle – or, indeed, style – like Canadian musician Joni Mitchell. Her penchant for floaty maxi dresses, tie-dye and leaving her hair uncut secures her place in our list of icons of the 70s, the decade in which she achieved mainstream success.

9. Olivia Newton-John

When Grease was released in 1978, Olivia Newton John’s career went stellar. While the film – in which the 29-year-old actress played a school girl – famously showcased 50s prom skirts and pedal pushers, off-screen its Australian leading lady rocked a neat line in on-trend maxi dresses and floral prints. The cover of her 1971 debut album If Not For You, which features Newton John looking sultry in a cornfield wearing nothing but a blush colored vest – braless, of course – sums up the mood of the decade perfectly.

10. Cheryl Tiegs

One of the most successful models of the 70s, Cheryl Tiegs had appeared on the cover of US Glamour magazine by the time she was 17 years old. Her look was a key part of the 70s style sea-change: out went the petite proportions, pouts and pixie crops of the 60s and in bounced a new wave of tanned, healthy, smiley, wholesome American babes. The provocative 1978 poster of her in a pink bikini became a pop culture ‘moment’.

11. Anjelica Huston

Who better to explain Anjelica Huston’s impact on fashion than David Bailey? “All the good girls, they have to have a big personality – it’s no good just being beautiful. Anjelica wasn’t beautiful in the normal sense; she had her own beauty, and I always liked girls who had their own beauty, like her and Penelope Tree. You need something else to go with the beauty.” Described by turns as ‘unusual’, provocative’ and ‘dramatic’, Huston – who started life as a model before turning to acting – brought an element of mystique to the Studio 54 set during her Vogue days.

12. Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda started the 70s as one of the biggest names in Hollywood, thanks to her starring role in cult 60s hit Barbarella. Like all greats, however, she adapted easily with the times; a love of high necklines and pussybow blouses saw her through the 70s with her style cred intact.

13. Stevie Nicks

Fringed shawls, flares, denim, suede boots... Stevie Nicks’ freewheeling style conjures up images of hot dessert sun and youthful heartbreak. Despite the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman’s penchant for flamboyant silhouettes and psychedelic prints, her look was essentially conservative: part gypsy, part Dickensian dandy. “I'm an extremely modest woman," she said in a 2008 interview. "I guess you can probably see it through my clothes all down through the years with my long chiffon skirts and my big wispy sleeves. I always looked at it like, people wondering what was under all that was much sexier than having all that out there."

14. Margaux Hemingway

The six-foot model grand-daughter of writer Ernest Hemingway landed a lucrative fashion first in the 70s: her contract to become the spokesperson for Fabergé’s Babe perfume was the first million dollar deal ever awarded to a fashion model. She had a meteoric rise to fame over the course of the decade – little wonder for a tall, athletic, natural beauty with strong features and natural affinity with glamour.

15. Nico

Having been discovered at the tender age of 14 in Berlin, Nico earned her fashion stripes as a model – for the likes of Chanel and Lanvin, no less – in the 50s and 60s. But it was her association with Andy Warhol, his infamous Factory and The Velvet Underground for which she is remembered. Slight and feline with prominent facial features and eyes permanently ringed with kohl, her penchant for black (and, of course, her hauntingly sad singing voice), led to her becoming a cult figure, and a style beacon for the underground culture of the time.

16. Pam Grier

“Me, sexy? I'm just plain ol' beans and rice,” Pam Grier once famously exclaimed – but we’re not the only ones who beg to differ. Grier made her name in the films of the 70s ‘blaxploitation’ movement, rocking a killer line in flares and halter tops. Her take on the decade’s fashion? “It’s always fun to put on bell bottoms and have your butt hanging out.”

17. Barbara Bach

It doesn’t get much more glamorous than being a Bond Girl – especially a 70s Bond Girl. Mrs Ringo Starr cemented her sex bomb status in 1977 when she played Anya Amasova (aka KGB Agent XXX) in The Spy Who Loved Me – a woman as at home in an evening dress as she was rolling around in the Sahara shooting bad guys. She’s regularly named in ‘Best Bond Girls’ lists and saw out the 70s off-screen in sexy denim and crochet pieces imbued with plenty of va-va-voom.

18. Lauren Hutton

Pre-Vanessa Paradis it was Lauren Hutton who first put the gap-toothed smile on the fashion map. In contrast to the ethereal model ideal, Hutton’s ‘imperfect’ smile lent her a down-to-earth look that appealed to editors who wanted something different for their pages. Championed by Diana Vreeland, Hutton has the distinction of pioneering the modern-day endorsement deal, having signed an exclusive contract to be the face of Revlon cosmetics in 1974. Contemporary icon Alexa Chung cites Hutton as a key influence on her own style.

19. Janice Dickinson

Before she clambered on the boobs ‘n Botox wagon in a big way, our Janice really was a style icon. With her dark, exotic looks, in demand as fashion went truly international in the 70s, she started a run of Vogue covers that topped at an astounding 37. She has proclaimed, "I was Versace's muse, I was Valentino's muse, I was Alaia's muse, Lancetti's muse, Calvin Klein's, Halston's. I could go on and on." You’d be forgiven for thinking this was hyperbole – but it (probably) isn’t.

20. Ali MacGraw

It would probably be quicker to list the fashion credentials Ali MacGraw doesn’t have. The New York-born actress started out working behind the scenes on major glossies such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue before breaking onto the big screen in major 1970 weepie Love Story. Her style, bohemian-meets-preppy, not only became a defining marker of the era but she also achieved a rare double-whammy by marrying ultimate male style icon Steve McQueen (though they divorced in 1978).

21. Jerry Hall

From humble beginnings, this leggy Texan bombshell burst onto the 70s fashion scene aged 16 and immediately threw herself into the Studio 54 scene – all the while commanding a cool $1000 a day. But she never forgot where she came from. “My greatest inspiration was my mother,” Hall admitted in a 2008 interview. “She made a lot of her own clothes and created special outfits for me to take to Paris, copies from the Frederick's of Hollywood catalogue, the only magazine we got at home.” Her own daughters, Lizzie and Georgia May, recently took the fashion baton with lucrative modelling deals of their own.

22. Marie Helvin

Part-Japanese, part-American and in raised in Hawaii, Marie Helvin’s exotic looks were much in demand in the 70s and she was lauded for her beautiful eyes. She worked with the top designers of the day – Yves Saint Laurent, Versace and Valentino notable among them – and, having met photographer David Bailey on a shoot for Vogue, married him. She was ranked #24 in Channel 5's World's Greatest Supermodel.

23. Jill St John

Another Bond movie, another Bond girl for the men to lust after and the girls to want to be. St John played Tiffany Case to Sean Connery’s Bond in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, earning herself a place in the 70s style icon cannon for her smouldering, sexpot sass.

24. Jaclyn Smith

The second of Charlie’s beloved Angels in our round-up, Jaclyn Smith played Kelly Garrett for the full five series of the show; she was the only of its three original female leads to do so. The sensitive brunette to Farah Fawcett’s sunny blonde, her fashion choices were the more understated of the two – and it earned her a cool $40,000 a week.

25. Patti Smith

“I know fashion is a material thing, but we live in a material world and I love clothes.” So says Patti Smith, aka the Godmother of Punk, who not only set the sound standard but the sartorial one, too – think ripped jeans, slogan Ts, wild hair. “My style says ‘Look at me, don’t look at me,’” she’s said. “It’s, ‘I don’t care what you think.’”

26. Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling’s alluring mix of vulnerability and raw sexuality – as well as an eye for a stand-out Celia Birtwell print – made her a great influencer of style in the 70s, both on-screen and off. But to Rampling, being attractive means more than clothes: "I'm not in any way a master of sex at all, but there's something in me - I know because I can see it when I come on screen - there's some animal thing that emanates. When you go to parties and you see how people turn on their sexuality, that's all I do for a role. You turn on the predator, and you go with it."

27. Kate Jackson

Alabama-born actress Kate Jackson completes the trio of original Charlie’s Angels. She played the unofficial leader of the group, Sabrina Duncan, earning her place in fashion history alongside Farah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith as one of the most popular – and emulated – TV actresses of the 70s. Though she didn’t always feel it... "Sometimes I think the work I do on the show is so obvious that it’s invisible. Sometimes the better an actor is, the less he’s noticed,” she said.

28. Karen Carpenter

Long-line skirts, high waists and cheery prints personified Karen Carpenter – one smily, clean-cut half of 70s sibling pop duo The Carpenters. Her public persona may have concealed dark personal problems but her free-spirited style remains a beautiful illustration of the era.

29. Jane Seymour

British-born actress Jane Seymour began the decade as a hard-working ingénue and ended it with her star firmly in the ascendant. Cast as psychic Solitaire in 1973 James Bond classic Live And Let Die, her style was the mix of glamour and coquettishness that was de rigeur in Hollywood at the time.

30. Shelley Duvall

With her huge eyes and bird-like figure, Texan actress Shelley Duvall’s kooky beauty – not to mention the fact that she made her name in horror films – afford her a cult 70s status. She may have described herself during the era as “a pretty little twit”, but her impact on fashion remains; US designer Porter Grey was inspired by the actress’ turn in The Shining for the coming season.

31. Joan Jett

“Aggressive, tough and defiant may describe me, but that leaves the impression I'm mean and I'm not. People expect me to have fangs.” So says Joan Jett, ‘poster’ girl of The Runaways – if that weren’t too much of a contradiction in terms. One of the original rock chicks, Jett was too busy making loud, ballsy music to adhere to trends. Her signature look? Leather jackets, band Ts and Converse.

32. Anita Pallenberg

The original rock groupie, Anita Pallenberg’s sexpot style was dubbed "evil glamour" by her on-off friend Marianne Faithfull. Having ripped up the 60s in renegade heart-shaped glasses, feather boas and suede jackets, Pallenberg adopted a more grown-up look in the 70s in satins, kaftans and flares. Although the decade ended badly for her, musician John Phillips summed her up as “so clever, so European, so built... She exuded a stylish and playful decadence that was at once intellectual, sultry, and mischievous”.

33. Marisa Berenson

Marisa Berenson’s fashion pedigree is impeccable; the grand-daughter of Elsa Schiaparelli, she was dubbed ‘the girl of the 70s’ by Yves Saint Laurent. Already a major fashion model when the decade began, she played Jewish department store heiress Natalia Landauer in the 1972 film Cabaret (for which she received two Golden Globe nominations, a BAFTA nomination and an award from the National Board of Review, no less), and her screen career took off. Naturally elegant with fine features and a cascade of dark hair, she mixed with the era’s movers and shakers and set trends as well as following them.

34. Peggy Lipton

As the star of cult TV hit The Mod Squad, which ran from 1968-1973, New York-born actress Peggy Lipton was very much a prominent 70s star. With her centre-parted blonde hair, bell-bottoms and lovebeads, she was the perfect embodiment of haute hippie – plus, she became one half of the decade’s power couples when she married super-producer Quincy Jones in 1974.

35. Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve’s name is inextricably linked with one of the top designers of the 70s, Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent, for whom she served as muse and mannequin for many years. Although her breakthrough roles in Repulsion and Belle du Jour mean she is most regularly slotted into the icons of the 60s bracket, her fame never waned in the 70s and, when she became the face of Chanel No 5 in the latter part of the decade, she famously caused sales of the fragrance to go through the roof in the US. She is renowned for her Gallic sophistication and elegance.

36. Beverly Johnson

Beverly Johnson changed the face of fashion forever in 1974 when she became the first black model to feature on the cover of American Vogue, repeating the triumph with French Elle the following year. Athletic, poised and striking, she is considered the breakthrough name who put black models firmly on the commercial fashion map.

37. Diane Keaton

As the eponymous Annie Hall of Woody Allen’s 1977 cult hit – for which she ultimately won a Best Actress Oscar – Diane Keaton spawned the breakaway mannish trend that was so at odds with the ultra-light, ultra-feminine fashion of the day. Her unself-conscious, androgynous looks for the film were sourced mainly from men’s vintage stores, spawning a niche style fan base who fell for neckties, vests, baggy trousers and fedora hats.

(via Glamour)


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