The 1970s introduced fashion ideas and trends that eventually became staple wardrobe items. These designs, such as the wrap dress and pants suit, were made popular by designers who have become icons in the fashion industry for creating influential works of art that left a major imprint on the fashion history of the 20th century and beyond.
Dubbed the “Mother of Punk,” Vivienne Westwood is a British fashion designer who played a big role in punk rock’s influence on fashion in both America and Great Britain during the 1970s and beyond. Throughout the ’70s, Westwood was romantically involved with Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, designing for his London boutique, SEX. Together the two created “a symbiotic relationship between music and fashion that effectively set the tone of popular culture for decades to come,” according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Westwood’s name is synonymous with bondage pants, platform shoes and punk.
Diane von Furstenburg
Diane von Furstenburg became a design icon in 1972 with the creation of the wrap dress, which sold into the millions in less than a five-year period. The wrap dress became known as a symbol of “female power,” as more women entered the workplace. The dress was so popular that in 1997, the designer relaunched it, and it continues to remain popular in the 21st century. In 2005, von Furstenburg received a Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award.
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent was known for making pants acceptable for women to wear for work and dress. Prior to the 1970s, women wore pants mostly only in casual settings. In 1966, Saint Laurent introduced the city trouser, and then in 1968, his collection included women’s trouser suits, such as the safari suit. The trends began to take hold during the 1970s and remain a popular style in the 21st century, although the designer passed away in 2008.
Famous for draped jersey dresses, lean trouser suits and the use of ultra-suede fabric, Roy Halston Frowick designed fashion staples of the 1970s. The designer, known simply as Halston, also created turtlenecks, knitwear, sweaters, sweater sets, boxy square jackets and wide-legged jersey trousers. He was also a famous eveningwear designer. Halston became a popular social icon in the ’70s, often known for frequenting Studio 54 in New York City, and died in 1990.
References and ResourcesYves Saint Laurent
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Vivienne Westwood (born 1941) and the Postmodern Legacy of Punk Style
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Pantsuit, spring/summer 1970 Designed by Yves Saint Laurent