Men’s Fashion Goes Far Out

While the 1960s have, until recently, been having a heyday in fashion – helped along by fictional ad man Don Draper’s nattily suited style – menswear is soon set to shift its focus to the fringed suede and heady floral prints of the 1970s.

Back with a psychedelic vengeance, seventies influences are making their presence felt in spring/summer 2015 collections, from high street brands to leading luxury players.

On The Runways

Although we might like to think that past trends and looks were neatly condensed into the space of ten years, the truth is the 1970s was a real melting pot of style references – from hippie counterculture and the last legs of the swinging 1960s, to the new sounds of disco and roar of punk rock. This season, designers were wise to that fact, making references to all of these cultural touchstones within their SS15 lines.

Topman Design was at the forefront of the seventies movement from the outset, showing flared corduroy trousers, wide-collared shirts and a kaleidoscope of floral and psychedelic prints. The notion of ‘tight on top, flared on bottom’ that dominated 1970s fashion was extremely prevalent, with fitted, open neck shirts and waistcoats teamed with generously flared legwear.

Even the tailored pieces were distinctively seventies, with the brand teaming double- and single-breasted suits featuring longer length jackets and bell-bottom trousers with vividly printed, wide collar shirts for a vintage, dressed-down feel.

Colours and patterns carried the theme, with mustard, orange, earthy browns and floral sunflower prints applied to shirts, jackets and trousers, while accessories included a velvet trunk case and Perspex, oversized geeky glasses worn by models with tousled John Lennon-style locks:

Topman Design Menswear Runway - SS15 Collection

Katie Eary

Katie Eary’s upbeat line took a more colourful step into the era with ombré shades of pink, purple and orange in patterns that weren’t unlike optical illusions.

While Eary opted to keep her stonewash jeans skinny rather than go flared, they came covered in patches of peace signs, cacti and fish bones to add to the show’s trippy vibe.

Accessories also channelled the 1970s, with wide mirrored aviators, tasselled silk scarves and neckerchiefs harking back to fashion’s period of all things far out:

Katie Eary Menswear Runway - SS15 Collection

Prada

From emerging designers to established luxury brands, fashion’s love for the 1970s didn’t discriminate.

Prada’s collection of topstitched suiting and denim in a palette of indigo, beige and brown was yet another example of the label’s signature quirky take on the classics – as Miuccia said herself: “You pick something that is old-fashioned. It’s the only new thing.”

Prada Menswear Runway - SS15 Collection

Costume National

Elsewhere, a handful of brands teased out the 1970s nascent punk aesthetic. Inspired by legends of rock, from David Bowie to Jimi Hendrix, Costume National showed a suiting-heavy collection with flared fits, oversized lapels and wide-collared shirts echoing the style of some of rock’s most ostentatious icons.

Colours ranged from azure blue to burnt orange, managing to be bold but not garish, while last year’s all-white trend made a reappearance in the form of white wide-legged suits – think Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever:

Costume National Menswear Runway - SS15 Collection

Saint Laurent

At Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane referenced the style of one of the decades closest to his heart, producing a range of psychedelic rock-inspired pieces that included everything from slim jeans and shearling jackets to snakeskin boots and fringed suede:

Saint Laurent Menswear Runway - SS15 Collection

On The High Street

So, it’s clear designers have been inspired by the seventies this season – but why should we care? Is the 1970s trend really destined to cement itself in the cultural consciousness and trickle down to high street shop windows? Or will it shine like a disco ball for a split second before splintering into a thousand insignificant pieces?

Our first clue is in next season’s (autumn/winter 2015) collections – shown earlier this year, many continued the 1970s theme debuted at last year’s spring/summer 2015 shows. To put things into perspective: AW15 lines from Raf Simons, Valentino, Gucci and Topman Design included shearling outerwear, bell-bottom flares and lurex-flecked knits, which suggests that the flower power decade’s influence isn’t just flash in the pan.

In case you need proof, high street stores are already offering 1970s-inspired items. Take a look, for example, at New Look’s SS15 lookbook, which features a psychedelic tie-dye lightweight sweatshirt and jackets in unmistakably 1970s colours like bottle green and red-brown ochre.

Then there’s Reiss, whose SS15 lookbook includes a wide-collared windowpane check button-up T-shirt, and The Kooples with its 1970s rock-inspired lookbook, which incorporates a healthy dose of slashed jeans, denim jackets and neck scarves.

Spanish chain Zara’s latest advertising campaign also alludes to the trend with its Cuban collared jackets, and there’s likely much more to come from Topman’s mainline, given that the retailer’s designer arm was at the forefront of the 1970s wave.

Lookbook Inspiration

Although many people will instantly dismiss the seventies as one of the least stylish decades in recent memory, this isn’t supposed to be cosplay.

The idea is to integrate elements – a wide/Cuban-collared shirt, tie-dye print, neckerchief or shearling jacket, for example – into your own wardrobe and looks, nodding to the influence without straying into fancy dress territory. Likewise, just because flares and bootcuts were popular back then, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your slim-fits in order to channel the vibe of the 1970s within your own outfits.

Take a look at the inspiration below to see how key items, patterns, cuts and even detailing from the era can be brought bang up to date by combining with modern, of the moment pieces, producing the ideal blend of old and new:

Men's 1970s-Inspired Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

new look ss15the kooples aw12Braun Büffel SS15zara ss15Canali ss14austin reed ss14toast ss15reiss ss15ovadia & sons ss13Louis Vuitton pre ss15reiss ss14el burgues ss15new look ss15mango man ss15sandro ss15new look ss15topman ss15brioni ss15
Key Pieces
  • Asos Suede Western Jacket With BorgAsos Suede Western Jacket With Borg
  • Asos Longline T-shirt With Dip DyeAsos Longline T-shirt With Dip Dye
  • Levis Vintage 1970s Trucker JacketLevis Vintage 1970s Trucker Jacket
  • Topman Ltd Laurel Canyon Burgundy Sueded Bomber JacketTopman Ltd Laurel Canyon Burgundy Sueded Bomber Jacket
  • Topman Tmd Dark Wash FlaresTopman Tmd Dark Wash Flares
  • Topman Ltd Laurel Canyon Indigo BandanaTopman Ltd Laurel Canyon Indigo Bandana
  • Topman Tmd Yellow Woodstock Print Jersey Long Sleeve T-shirtTopman Tmd Yellow Woodstock Print Jersey Long Sleeve T-shirt
  • He By Mango Cotton Canvas JacketHe By Mango Cotton Canvas Jacket
  • Topman Tmd Gold Navigator SunglassesTopman Tmd Gold Navigator Sunglasses
  • Reiss Fort Stand Collar Jumper NavyReiss Fort Stand Collar Jumper Navy
  • Wooyoungmi Grey Contrast Hem Short Sleeve ShirtWooyoungmi Grey Contrast Hem Short Sleeve Shirt
  • 7 For All Mankind Brett American Blues Bootcut Jeans7 For All Mankind Brett American Blues Bootcut Jeans
  • River Island Grey Friend Or Faux Tie Dye T-shirtRiver Island Grey Friend Or Faux Tie Dye T-shirt
  • Ron Herman Dip-dyed Cashmere SweaterRon Herman Dip-dyed Cashmere Sweater
  • Folk Printed Cotton ShirtFolk Printed Cotton Shirt
  • Sandro Printed Short-sleeve ShirtSandro Printed Short-sleeve Shirt
  • Orlebar Brown Felix Melange Cotton Polo ShirtOrlebar Brown Felix Melange Cotton Polo Shirt
  • Saint Laurent Fringed Suede JacketSaint Laurent Fringed Suede Jacket
Final Word

While a lot of this may seem like a stretch, it’s worth reminding yourself that wider-legged trousers (such as those popular in the 1970s) have been making their presence felt in more and more collections over the past few seasons; isn’t it refreshing to see some variation amongst the skinny- and ultra-slim fits which have dominated menswear for several years?

Perhaps it’s time for the skinny jean and slim-fit buttoned-up shirt to make room for some looser, more louche alternatives which are not only on-trend, but also practical once temperatures rise.

But what do you think? Do you see room for 1970s influences in your wardrobe? If some of our best-loved music legends could get away with these pieces, then there must be something in it, right? Or do you think flares, exaggerated collared shirts and psychedelic florals should remain well in the past?

Let us know in the comments section below.