Looking at recent fashion collections, the fascination for the 70s is palpable in the clubbing allure, music references and genderless garments.
Starting from disco-inspired elements taken from the recent Fendi show at Milano Fashion Week and the latest menswear collection displayed at Pitti Uomo by Martine Rose, this article covers a series of style references under the aegis of the disco decade that was one of the highlights of this fashion season.
By Giulia Piceni. Cover image by Alessandro Corradini for I’M Firenze Digest.
Tony Manero might have had an arguable wardrobe, but if there’s one thing he taught us, it is that preparation for nightlife is a serious thing: at the end of the day, shining brighter on the dancefloor is what truly counts.
Considering the latest runway shows from Fendi and Martine Rose, the 70s allure of these two runways will unfold in all its mesmerising attractiveness.
SWITCH OFF THE SUN AND GET READY TO CONQUER THE NIGHT
Sunset. The city is going to sleep, but the FENDI man is getting ready to turn heads with his style and dance moves. In dark blue, black, mauve, moka brown and oat tones, the FW 23/24 collection featured at Milano Fashion Week elevated garments from daily to partywear, sophistically quoting the 70s disco allure. Referencing this period, fringes and shearlings dominated the show, with apparently sprayed leathers for the outwear.
Trembling in the day’s fading lights and reflecting clubs’ neon lights, sparkles were present on Fendi’s runway in the jewellery designed by Delfina Delettrez and in luminous details applied to an asymmetrical wool vest and a jacket’s lapels.
Likewise, reflective surfaces and long-haired green carpets invaded Piazza del Mercato Nuovo: the setting of the latest FW 2023/2024 collection by Martine Rose, the London-based designer who partook as a guest designer in the 103rd edition of Pitti Uomo.
Rose paid tribute to Florence With her creations, eclectic and familiar at the same time, that combine sportswear with tailored boxy shapes while staying consistent with her British aesthetic.
Models included locals and Londoners, “calcio fiorentino” soccer players and look-alike hooligans wearing the latest collaboration with Nike. Like a novelist, she proved her powerful visual storytelling skills by giving life to a selection of characters we’ve all encountered during a Saturday night nocturnal odissey.
MUSIC: THE COOL KIDS PARAMETER
Having always manifested a genuine interest in Italian electronic music, FENDI has asked the triple Oscar-winner DJ and music composer Giorgio Moroder to create the soundtrack for their latest menswear show. After Dark is a catchy synthesised melody that culminates with I Feel Love by Donna Summer; it carried the runway participants into the extravaganza of Studio 54 or the excess of its Roman counterpart: the Piper.
In the same spirit, for her Pitti Uomo fashion show, Martine Rose carefully selected the soundtrack, integrating Italian house pieces from the ‘70s, which invaded clubs across the Channel back then.
A South Londer by birth, Rose has breathed nightlife since a young age because of the proximity to numerous gay clubs and discos in her area.
Around nine, her sister got her inside some record studios, but she started going to raves at thirteen. Her relationship with music is so strong that even one of her brand’s first shows was held inside Blanks, a private Club in London, Soho.
GENDERLESS WARDROBE REVOLUTION
Characterised by the achievements of the feminist movements in terms of emancipation, the 1970s were when women started appropriating typically masculine items: an attitude that developed in the following decade with the establishment of the so-called power dressing. Today, we are witnessing a countermovement: men leaning towards a feminine aesthetic as a sort of 21st-century dandy, blurring the lines between the two distinct attires.
The Fendi collection confirmed this aspect with sensually transparent wool knitwork, colour choices and even asymmetrical one-shoulder cuts in knitwear and cotton shirts. Models were also non-binary and not strictly cisgender: a strong statement in favour of the current genderless attitude in fashion.
Since establishing her brand in 2013, Martine Rose has integrated an antipodal androgynous aesthetic into sportswear under the aegis of genderless fashion.
As a matter of fact, during her latest collection showcased at Pitti Uomo, she brought on the runway a draped pant version of the bumster: a silhouette that lowers the waistline front and back to the groin. The bumster is the most democratic silhouette because it isn’t designed for a specific gender and can attract all genders and sexual orientations.
In addition, Rose employed a series of 1970s feminist protest slogans and added them to the fashion show’s jewellery thanks to the craftsmanship of Lia Lowenthal’s New Yorker brand LL, LCC.
THE 2020s ARE THE NEW 1970s
A time when social contact was an integral part of the nightclub experience, the 1970s are the decade the post-pandemic world looks up to, idolising its positivity and bringing it into the catwalk. In this context, both Fendi and Martine Rose created a wardrobe appealing to a vast clientele, celebrating the craved clubbing nightlife of that colourful decade while staying true to their houses’ codes.
Giulia Piceni is an Arts Curating undergraduate student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
Alessandro Corradini is Master Digital Arts postgraduate student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.