If you’re old enough to remember the 1970s, you’ll probably recall that decade’s obsession with the 1940s. I have a photo of some of the people at my Mum and Dad’s wedding (1949) and another of my elder sister’s friends at a 1975 wedding (see pic below). The similarities in what they’re wearing are quiet astonishing.
I remember it all very well (the 70s, not the 40s)… my sister in her Marlene Dietrich trousers and her platform shoes with her Hedy Lamarr hair (and make-up).
But there was a more louche side to the 40s fascination of the 1970s. Decadent and undeniably glam, it was more Bianca Jagger than girl-next-door and it was a look that was a favourite of catwalks and glossy magazines.
Between the three points of this style triangle (the actual 40s, the 70s woman-in-the-street’s version of the 40s, and the celeb glam version), we have pre-fall 2017 so far.
OK, it’s only two collections (Bottega Veneta and Erdem) but these are big names in the influencer stakes so it could be a tantalising hint of what’s to come, not just for the rest of pre-fall but for AW17 too.
Erdem Moralioglu actually said that he’d been thinking about the 40s as seen through a 70s filter for his pre-fall offer, confirming that fashion still isn’t ready to move on from its 70s obsession. So what does that give us?
Well, given that this is Erdem, the focus is on after dark and pattern figures prominently (florals and exotic birds as well as some refreshingly mundane stripes and checks). The pattern exuberant combos are where Erdem really come into its own and mean I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the floral hosiery and floral leather jacket actually make it into production.
Sequins also take on a starring role, as does shimmering embellishment on a slightly less shimmering brocade ground. Again, fingers firmly crossed.
But it’s that 40s silhouette that really stands out. And no, that doesn’t mean giant shoulders (thank you Erdem). Instead, shoulders are defined (draped or gently padded) to form a part of the look rather than the dominant feature.
1940s favourites like shirt dresses, high neck blouses, skinny statement knits, ribbon-tied chubbier and and wedge or heeled platform evening shoes all have their place.
Yet this is no slavish recreation of a past decade and the are other influences in there with hints of the 30s and 50s too. And of course, the colour clashes mark this out as 100% 2017. That wine, black and pale blue lace with pink ribbon ties would never have got through 70 years ago.
It might seem a bit odd to say this is my favourite pre-collection so far as there have only been a few. But if the rest of the pre-season come sup to this standard, then there’s lots to look forward to.