Retro revival

The Indian cinema proved to be the strongest influence on the fashion in the decade. Due to the Western influence, the use of angarkhas, choghas and jamas diminished considerably by this time, although the ceremonial pagri, safa and topi were widespread as ever. “They had been replaced by the chapkan,  achkan and sherwani, which are still standard items of formal dress for Indian men today.

A spate of movies, from Om Shanti Om to the more recent Once upon a time in Mumbai and the soon to be released Action Replayy plays homage to the Sixties and Seventies. Jump on the Seventies fashion bandwagon. From bouffant and sequins to polyester and platforms, the styles and trends have been recreated in great detail.

Fashion seems to travel a full circle. What was “in” decades ago suddenly makes an appearance on the catwalk, naturally after being tweaked and recycled to fit contemporary sensibilities. The trend then peters down from the runway to the closets of the masses and becomes ‘in’ all over again.
But, sometimes trends are picked up from  the silver screen. In Bollywood films, costume and makeup are as important as the storyline and stars are worshiped zealously, so it comes as no surprise that these films are the basis of many trends. “When Jodhaa Akbar came out everyone was in awe of the jewelry worn by Aishwarya Rai in the film,” says NIFT graduate Smriti Krishnan. “A major brand came out with a line inspired by the movie which allowed people to wear the jewelry.” Similarly, In Love Aaj Kal the kurtas worn by Deepika Padukone became all the rage among youngsters, with department stores selling similar designs as featured in the film. Life certainly imitates art.

So it wouldn’t be a complete shock to expect a sudden fashion craze associated with all things retro.

“The Seventies are such a crazy period with regard to fashion,” says fashion aficionado and college student Akshara S. “Think bell-bottoms, long straight hair, minis and flower prints; everything was loud and bold.”

But how do these fashions translate to everyday looks? “Unless you want to be the cynosure of all eyes, it is not advisable to exactly replicate the looks showcased in the films,” says Smriti.

A watered down, more present-day take is the way to go. “I love the winged eyeliner look,” says Vidhya Reddy a student of Villa Marie. “It makes one look instantly glamorous.” For ad executive Neeti Talluri, dressing professionally to work is a must, though she does try to incorporate some Seventies styles in her outfits; from carrying a retro inspired, floral patterned tote bag or just ironing her hair straight.

“The perfect chance to experiment with Seventies style is weekend nights when my friends and I go partying,” says Neeti. “Dresses embellished with sequins, bright colors and bold eye make-up anything goes.”

Akshara brings the Seventies into her college wardrobe with churidars in bright pinks and blues paired with fitted kurtas. Akshara says laughing, “My mom says it reminds her of the outfits worn by Sharmila Tagore or Parveen Babi in the movies she used to watch when she was young.”

Sometimes it is the small things such as a scarf stylishly knotted or a funky hair accessory to show your allegiance to the latest trend without standing out too much.

So get inspired by the Seventies and make it your own.

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