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Feathercuts and Flares

Start Date 14 October 2011
End Date 11 October 2012
Venue Walker Art Gallery
Location Liverpool, UK

The 1970s have been referred to as “the decade that style forgot.” Maybe it was, but it seemed at the time that nobody really cared, as fashion designers started to have some fun and ‘anything goes’ was the order of the day. 

During that decade, Britain experienced social and political upheaval: economic troubles, strikes, power-cuts and terrorism. In reaction to these problems fashion went crazy. Flared trousers, platform shoes, jackets and shirts with enormous collars and lapels, many in conflicting colour schemes and patterns, were all popular. Skirt lengths changed quickly from short to long and back to short again, but there were also plenty of trouser styles for women to wear.

Fashion took its influence from many sources; Glam Rock, Disco, Punk and New Wave all spilled into the high street. Clothes became more shiny and sparkly for a time. Platforms got higher and tartan was popularised by the Bay City Rollers and later by Punks. Nostalgia for fashions from the 1920s and 1930s led to a revival of those styles but with a new twist for the 1970s.

It wasn’t just the clothes that were elaborate. Hairstyles and facial hair for men all grew in size. To start with, hair was worn long and layered by both men and women. The Feather-cut, Afro, Flick and Wedge were all popular in their time. Men’s beards, moustaches and large sideburns were very common early in the decade.

The 1970s did have style, much of it unforgettable it seems, as its constant revival in today’s fashions is still clear for all to see.