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Fashion in the 70s. Magnificent or…….?

In 1973 ‘The News’ Adelaide’s afternoon newspaper, took a look back at Adelaide in 1923 and compared the fashion and shopping in the city fifty years on. After another 40 years it makes fascinating reading to see how things changed and how much they have changed again;

Photo from Pinterest. We might have thought it looked very 'cool' back then but now it's "ouch"!

Photo from Pinterest. We might have thought it looked very ‘cool’ back then but now it’s “ouch”!

“In 1923 the scene was in and around mainly Rundle Street…..as it is today. There was Birks, Cravens, Marshalls, John Martins, Donaldsons, Fitch’s, Sneyd’s and Miller Andersons. At the other end, there was Foy and Gibsons and James Smith in Hindley Street.

Over in Grote Street there was W H Bruce and Moores were in Victoria Square, as they are today. James Blacks shoe store advertised men’s boots and patent and white buckskin for men at 24/6. After 50 years, the scene is still in Rundle Street.

Some of the old names vanished as Myers and David Jones moved in and Foy and Gibsons became Cox Foys but after half a century, the fashion seekers still head for the same locations. But if the scene hasn’t shifted, the goods have certainly altered and shopping patterns have changed.

Photo from Pinterest. Unisex fashion. Thank God it never really took off!

Photo from Pinterest. Unisex fashion. Thank God it never really took off!

What’s the difference in 50 years?

The department stores for one thing. The Girls and Maid’s section and Misses and Matrons departments are gone. Somewhere along the way the Teenager appeared to add a new dimension to fashion. The first juvenile fashion parade was started in John Martins in 1965 to head a new era of teenage fashions for teenage taste, and for teens with money to spend on clothes.

For women, corsets have undergone a drastic change. The bone four suspender rust proof constrictors became corselettes (lightly boned), the featherweight girdles of the fifties, the foam contoured foundations of the sixties to pull-on girdles of the power net nylon-stretch with nylon cups. Brassieres went the same way, through foam contouring attached cups to the strapless and finally to the natural look all ready to burn.

Bloomers stayed bloomers right up to the forties. From bloomers they became Milanese knickers and by the sixties they were panties, gussies and pantettes in every colour imaginable. Now they come in neat Cellophane packets, disposable paper briefs.

Trousers for women were big news in 1933 as the columnist reported, “women are ordering them in linen, flannel and even men’s suiting.” Boudoir went out…..and zip fasteners came in. Men’s wide bottomed trousers became the ‘zoot’ suit of 1943 with trousers only 16″ wide at the ankle.

Skirts ranged through dirndls (in the forties) and peg-tops, through the big letdown with Dior’s new ‘new look’ in 1948 to the shorter look a couple of years later. But from that moment it seemed like only a flash through to the full skirted, petticoated vogue to the mini-skirt, and who needs to say anything about Australian mini-skirts

Photo from Pinterest. Ahhh yes, the 70s in the office. You had to be there!!

Photo from Pinterest. Ahhh yes, the 70s, fashion in the office. You just had to be there!!

In 1963 the stores were advertising “revolutionary new ironless cotton shirts for men”, but that was small talk; the sixties saw the men blossom into peacocks with such a devestatingly flamboyant array of fashion that would send the shopper of 50 years ago into a tizzy. The men have the edge on this unisex business; they’ve acqired a taste for the flamboyant and the women are only trotting behind.

The seventies are magnificent for men”. Well that might have been the view in the early 70s. When I look back now on some of the fashion (especially men’s fashion) of the 1970s I cringe…..How about you?

 

20 Responses to Fashion in the 70s. Magnificent or…….?

  1. Max Jaeger December 19, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

    It was so much fun at the time just trying to find the coolest clothes that you could.

  2. meg January 5, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

    Does anyone remember the boutique Fata Morgana down a side street in the city I think, sold magnificent velvet and lace creations…. in the ’70’s.

    • Helen January 10, 2015 at 5:12 am #

      loved that shop, bought my wedding dress there. Am looking for vintage pieces to buy

    • Bev April 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

      Yes, I remember Fata Morgana boutique. I bought my wedding dress from there in 1975.. It was exactly what I wanted and many people said how lovely it was.

      • Chris June 21, 2019 at 5:36 pm #

        Hi Bev
        I bought my wedding dress there too.
        They just opened their shop and was unpacking my wedding dress.
        Amazing dress, I must try to sell it

    • Barbara P August 22, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

      I remember Fata Morgana. It was downstairs on Rundle Mall, near the Silver Dragon Chinese Restaurant. I used to yearn for one of the beautiful velvet coats but my wallet was never full enough to afford it.

    • Susan Wright February 25, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      I won a 100 dollars worth of clothes from Alice,s In Gear from a fashion drawing, great memories!

    • phillip shegog January 25, 2019 at 8:43 am #

      Wasnt its owner a lady by the name of Evelyn Neiss or something like that,I used to share a unit in Launceston with a friend of her`s called Sandy,who ran the Fatamorgana boutique in Launceston!

  3. Helen January 10, 2015 at 5:06 am #

    i adored Fata Morgana shop, bought my wedding dress there. I am looking for her vintage clothing

    • gayle April 17, 2018 at 5:52 pm #

      yes meg I still have my wedding dress I purchased at Fata Morgana adelaide, was on Rundle street east end, Its got the big bell sleeves

      • Chris June 21, 2019 at 5:43 pm #

        Gayle
        I bought my dress there too.
        The shop was just opened and was unpacking my wedding dress and bought straight away it had Edwardian sleeves and square neckline, Probably same as yours. They gave me a long piece of the same fabric which I used as a headband tied at the side and ends flowed to ground. Amazing dress I should try to sell it.

  4. Judi Hirst January 12, 2015 at 7:10 am #

    Oh yes I had mustard coloured corduroy bib and brace hot pants! I also remember thinking I was very trendy in a nautical themed mini skirt outfit….and a family friend suggested I have a party and invite my hem down to my ankles!!!

  5. Deidre May October 27, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    I remember Fata Morgana with love – love for a special top which was made especially for me from the owners’ mothers’ curtains believe it or not – heavy brocade with so many special touches – cost me $175.00 back in 1975 …. which was an absolute fortune! I wore that top until its eventual death, because it was absolutely threadbare!! I always think of Fata Morgana whenever I see Stevie Nicks, because I could imagine her shopping there!

    • Alex April 26, 2016 at 10:34 am #

      I loved Fata Morgana. I bought a lace dress from there and still have it – haven’t worn it for 35 years.

  6. Alex July 15, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

    Alice’s In Gear was a great shop too! I bought some beautiful clothes from there. That was my introduction to trendy Carnaby Street clothing, and after that, I had to go to London.

  7. Larna birch . nee burtt August 12, 2017 at 10:44 pm #

    Fatamorgana. Basement under richmond hotel/arcade rundle mall. Bought my wedding dress there in 1978 , still have it . GREAT STUFF?

  8. DeeDee October 26, 2017 at 3:19 am #

    I loved that shop, so sad when it closed, wish I knew where you could buy the clothing from then.

  9. gayle April 17, 2018 at 5:54 pm #

    Im selling my original Fata Morgana dress I bought in the 70s, if anyones interested, Its white with huge bell sleeves, I can show pics if interested

    • Susan February 23, 2019 at 11:54 am #

      Is this still for sale? What size? Photos? I can’t see date on your comment. Probably well past. Sue

      • Holly June 10, 2019 at 2:34 pm #

        Hi Susan – I have a Fata Morgana long burgundy velvet coat, its double breasted and stunning. If you are interested I can send you more information.

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