As much as fashion craves new-ness, now-ness and the next big thing – be that due to trends or an industry flooded with short attention spans is debatable, but nevertheless – there’s arguably always an element of nostalgia floating in the air season after season. Be it down to the shape of a collar, a colour, a particular silhouette; a scent of the familiar is often on the breeze. Muses come and go on the merry-go-round of memories resurrected by designers that stretch way further back than a #throwbackthursday – think Audrey, Brigitte and Jackie O, for starters – but it’s a fine line between paying homage and being mistaken for an impersonator. Whether you were there in spirit or are revisiting trends for the second time around, the key is to modernise. I’ve decoded all of fashion’s greatest hits for you to stage a stylish revival – read on for my guide on turning back the clock.
Style Icons: Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall
The ‘40s welcomed the birth of Dior’s ‘New Look’ – a la the tightly cinched waist/full skirt combo we know and love today (you can thank him for all your ‘fit and flare’ silhouettes, FYI). Perfect for highlighting a womanly curve, a silk blouse or short-sleeved knit tucked into a high-waisted pencil skirt was the uniform – it was about a broad, padded shoulder with a trim waist, so the hourglass or pear shaped among us take to this silhouette like a duck to water. Necklines were traditionally high – think Peter Pan collars and the like – but loosen it up for now with a soft scoop or v-neck to play down the bust line. Should your natural instincts sit more in a tomboy camp, make like Katherine Hepburn and employ a slouchy man-style pair of trousers as your key separate over a skirt.
The final touch? Make like the kate spade new york mug below and add a slick of red lipstick – vamp never dates, you see – along with a chic ribbon in the hair for good measure.
1. Zara Blouse, $49.95, (02) 9216 7000; 2. Sportmax Chantal Skirt, $408 matchesfashion.com; 3.Emilia Wickstead Dress, approx. $1,482, theoutnet.com; 4.&5. kate spade new york ‘Lips’ and ‘Bow’ Snap Happy Mugs, $49.95 each; 6. Country Road Wide Leg Pants, $179, countryroad.com.au;
Style Icons: Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly
The Atomic age was where things started loosening up a little bit. The mood was a little more flirtatious, hemlines crept up ever-so-slightly, the Bardot neckline hit with a bang (off-the-shoulder with a sweetheart neckline, in case you were wondering – all to nail the coquettish backward glance, of course) – and to this day still a strong on-point silhouette for a narrow or rectangle body shape to insinuate a bit of a curve. These days, tone down the va-va-voom by breaking them up – try a full skirt with a cleaner, structured top for a slightly athletic take. On the other side of the spectrum, Audrey Hepburn championed the gamine essentials – cropped trousers, the LBD, anything strapless – all of which still ring true in any petite’s wardrobe.
Jewellery hit big in the ‘50s – the era in which we discovered diamonds really are our best friends, particularly if you’re dripping in them a la Marilyn. Give the gals a little respect in a retro jewellery box to be proud of – like this kate spade new york vibrant red number.
1. kate spade new york – ‘Garden Drive’ Square Jewellery Box in Red, $89.95; 2. Witchery – Sateen Crop Trousers, $99.95, witchery.com.au; 3. Witchery -Funnel Neck Knit, $99.95, witchery.com.au; 4. Vanessa Bruno Dasa – Full A-line Skirt, $701, matchesfashion.com; 5. Mango Belted Pleated Dress, $139.95, shop.mango.com;
Style Icons: Jane Birkin, Edie Sedgwick, Twiggy, Marianne Faithfull
Depending on what side of the continent you sat on, ‘60s fashion sat in two distinct different camps – the Twiggy et al mod crew of Swinging London, or the freewheeling hippie vibe of Janis Joplin lounging in California. Whatever your origins liberation was the mood, so we’re talking the miniskirt, the shift – or if you’re Edie Sedgwick a simple leotard did the trick to get those pins on show. Much like stealing from Mum’s wardrobe, make it relevant for now with an edit of the best remnants – a printed shift dress for work or play (perfect for an apple body type), denim miniskirts a la Jane Birkin, swing coats (a petite girl’s best outerwear partner in crime), or a bright graphic print made modern with clean neutrals.
If you’re really feeling it, bring a little upbeat sixties feel home with this kate spade new york picture frame – the perfect pop-art splash of colour (Warhol would approve).
1. kate spade new york – Portland Place Pink and Red Frame, $99.95; 2. Country Road – Tie Neck Shift Dress, $149, countryroad.com.au; 3. Marni – Printed Mini Dress, $1,497, net-a-porter.com; 4. Seed – Off The Shoulder Swing Top, $79.95, seedheritage.com; 5. Zara – Denim Skirt, $69.95, (02) 9216 7000;
Given that we’re knee-high boot deep in the midst of a ‘70s throwback as we speak, you’ve most likely already spotted a sea of flares, bell sleeves and paisley on your doorstep (or in your wardrobe already). Add a little urban spin to your bohemian flair to bring it to the 21st century – just a touch of Talitha Getty or Anita Pallenburg is enough to encapsulate the spirit of the seventies without getting too ‘tune in drop out’ on everyone. Thankfully, it’s a melting pot of references that suit essentially all body types – flares (hourglass and pear shapes to play up curves), tunics and caftans (read: everyone), gypsy-like prints in all manner of shapes.
Extend the free love vibrations into the kitchen with kate spade new york’s fun platter – or reminiscing of NYC in its golden era.
1. kate spade new york – About Town Oblong Platter, $199; 2. Witchery -Printed Gathered Blouse, $119.95, witchery.com.au; 3.Country Road -Gathered Vintage Print Dress, $149, countryroad.com.au; 4. Zara – Flares, $69.95 (02) 9216 7000; 5. 4. Jeans West – Paloma Silk Beach Dress, $159, jeanswest.com.au;